Stands out from the Argentine wine industry as an exceptional case since its creation in 1898 it is still managed by the third and fourth generation of the founding family, under the presidency of Mr. Carlos Alberto López.
The founder, José López Rivas, was born in Algarrobo (Málaga), Spain, where he devoted himself and his family to vine and olive growing. Fleeing from a destroying plague affecting European vineyards, the Phylloxera, he decided to migrate to Argentina in 1886. Twelve years later (1898), he settled down definitely in Mendoza, and the strength of the familiar wine-making tradition flourished immediately. There, he began the production of wines made from own grapevines grown in the best areas, a practice which has been maintained since then, as well as the criteria of controlling every step of the wine-making process, by supervising and taking care of every detail.
These first wines, commercialized in barrels, were very successful given their quality. Soon, market demands surpassed production, and in view of the need to increase it, José López Rivas acquired a property in the district of General Gutiérrez, department of Maipú, where the first winery was built. That year, not only the basis of the future familiar company was born, but also the person who would head the enterprise almost until it reached its 80 years: José Federico López, only son of the founder and eager follower of his father's spirit and ideas.
By the year 1907 Mendoza was considered the richest and most important province from the Andes group. Maipú department was the main viticulture district and the place where José López Rivas and his brothers had begun their activities since the beginning of the century. Regarding José López Rivas’ performance, he sostained that his thorough and permanent atention gave him the possibility to obtain wines qualified as “...the highest expression of the French kind”. In this path, complex yet genuine, a new style was being forged – the López style – full of dedication and conviction.
In the following years, the Winery’s objectives were directed to increasing wines availability, due to the great acceptance the first wines that were sold in barrels and caskets acquired given their great quality. In order to fulfil the growing demand of wines, it began a sustained expansion of vineyards growing and the acquisition of estates in regions with climate and soil composition that were ideal for the growing of grapes.
At the end of the 1910, José Federico López, son of the winery’s Founder, started to coolaborate in the company, by doing each and every activity of the Winery.
In 1922, he took over the management of the company, which resulted in a decisive growth the company underwent in the following years.
With this new position, the winery will accompany a sustained expansion of vineyards together with a constant growth in the wood aging capacity.
Some years later, Rafael, who was brother of José, decided to leave the company, so the original name was changed to “José López and son”. This change contributed to have a better dimension of the Founder’s figure. Now, strengthened by his son’s presence, there was an excellent opportunity to consolidate the basis for the creation of a style of wines that was beginning to be well-known.
A new brandname was launched to the market, “Prestigio de Cuyo”, that accompanied for some decades the only brandname of the winery at that time, “El Vasquito”. This new producto was released by José Federico López and was the starting point for the special attention the Winery would give to the elaboration and promotion of its fine wines.
In order to obtain varietal wines, besides the acquisition of quality vineyards, better lands were required. This was the reason for the expansion of vineyards to grow new grapes in areas where the weather condition were optimum for grape growing, areas such as Cruz de Piedra in Maipú and Agrelo in Lujan de Cuyo. During the 30’s, different kinds of olives were planted with the intention of reaching the highest quality in extra virgin olive oil.
At the end of the 1930, the winery started sending its wine abroad, and there was a registration of the fine brandnames of the company, “Prestigio de Cuyo”, “Huetel” and “Rincón Famoso”. In 1934, the Winery presented one of its clasics: “Chateau Vieux”, a blend with Cabernet Sauvignon base and a subtle mixture with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The delicate design of the typography, that identifies the brandname since then, was made by Don José Federico López himself.
In 1938 it appears “Rincón Famoso” red and white wines, blends made with grapes in a harmonious balance. Today they are considered clasics for the Argentine consumers. In October 1948, Don José López Rivas died but his spirit and ethical norms were still in force in his son’s actions who continued the path with identical passion and determination.
Progessively, his sons José Federico y Carlos Alberto were incorporated to the firm. Together, they will share more than forty years of hardwork running the company.
Between 1949 and 1959, the company changed its name “José López and Son” to “Bodegas y Viñedos López S.A.” By this time, a new product appears: Jerez FL (Sherry wine), as a tribute to old Andalucia’s wines.
The growth in sales proved the great acceptance of fine wines in the general demand and showed that the wine aging process, started in 1928, was very profitable. It is also evident a progressive growth in exports to bordering countries and Central America.
José Federico López, together with his sons, led an investment program to enlarge the capacity of the storing plant, the wine bottling plant and the olive oil factory. For this purpose, he renewed the instaled machinery by importing European technology and optimizing its use so as to satisfy the growing demand.
The Winery launches new brands of table and reserve wines: “Vasco Viejo” in 1950, “Montchenot” in 1966: the third classic of the Winery and “Selección López” in 1973, a wine that today is called “Malbec López”.
The same plucky spirit and dedication the Winery had with its wines, was the impulse to try out the production of sparkling wines in 1970: the brandnames “Montchenot” (Nature) and “Mont Reims” (Brut) were presented.
In the 70’s, the winery enlarged 200% its exports. As a result, there were new technological changes and an increase in fine wines storing capacity. But the key aspect of these hundred years was the reaffirmation of three interdependent yet basic elements in the commercial life of the company, and that show its constant craving for excellence: quality, brandname and image.
In the 80th anniversary of the Winery, the company was granted a recognition to the quality of its products, in the First National Wine Contest in the UVEXPO Mendoza in 1971. The international jury granted 16 awards to López wines in all its brands and categories.
By the end of 1980’s, the fourth generation of the family was incorporated to the company: Carlos Alberto and Eduardo López Laurenz.
On March 28th 1994, at the age 95, Don José Federico López dies in Buenos Aires. His beliefs can be found in each and every memoir of his company. These writings will be an example of love to the land that sheltered his parents and all his lineage.
“To work, is the useful labour, the effort made by from the most humble who uses his hands, to the scientist, who wastes his brain and nights looking for humankind progress. Without work, there is no wealth. With work and the impulse to save money, healthy and austerely, the wealth and happiness of a society are built. As Argentine and producers, we have a goal that is the steady purpose to create an image of Argentine quality. We will not skimp effort to obtain this because we consider that there are satisfactions more important than the money. That is why we will continue with unbeatable faith never to resign ourselves with the obtained quality. We will always struggle, given our capacity, to elaborate the best”. (J.F.L. 1975)
In 1994 with the death of Don Federico López at the age of 95 years, he was succeeded in the management by his son Carlos Alberto -in the Presidency- and by his sister Marta in the Vicepresidency Mr. Carlos Alberto López in addition to the presidency, has headed the functions of the General Management, being directly responsible for all areas of the winery, central administration and exports.
In the establishments located at the Province of Mendoza: Vineyards, Wineries, Processing Plants, Bottling Plant, Tourism, are in management of Carlos Alberto, winemaker and Eduardo, accountant, great-grandchildren of the founder and members of the fourth generation since Don Jose Lopez Rivas founded the Winery.
BODEGAS LOPEZ makes reknowned products like:
"The time and patience which are dedicated to aging are not asked for, we provide them"
Founded in 1898 - Mendoza - Argentina