Sometimes all the details line up just right and a rare and special relationship is forged. Rogers Collection (RC) and the folks behind Vinagres de Yema is one of those times. Que estaba en las estrellas! It was in the stars.
Written by Leska Tomash – Nearly two decades ago, Dick Rogers, the founder of RC, asked Spanish olive oil producer Nunez de Prado (another top-shelf product in RC) to suggest a high-quality vinegar to compliment their extraordinary extra virgin olive oil. Paco Nunez and his late brother Andres did not hesitate in recommending their favorite producer of sherry vinegar, Vinagres de Yema. After all, the two companies coincidentally bottled their equally amazing products in identical square bottles. It seemed the match was indeed destined. Introductions were made and the rest is history.
And what a rich history Vinagres de Yema has! We’re talking some pretty enchanting stuff here: an ancient bodeguera (“cellar master”) family, a collection of century-old sherry vinegar barrels, and bodegas called the “Cathedrals of Sherry Wine.” Biodegrade, barrels, and bodegas–Oh my! This glorious trifecta translates into one celebrated sherry vinegar. Well, really three, if you count the discrete vintages: Cepa Vieja (25-year), Bota Vieja (15-year) and Tierra Vieja (Organic 5-year).
Renowned wine maker Fernando T. De Terry y Galarza founded Vinagres de Yema in 1991 after he was fortunate enough to procure that collection of ancient sherry vinegar barrels mentioned earlier. With a stroke of luck like that—after retiring from family wine making that dates back to 1750—what could Terry do but get back in the sherry business? But instead of crafting sherry, this time he found himself in the business of making vinegar.
So that’s what he did and now Vinegras de Yema remains a small operation located in the warmest region of Jerez, El Puerto de Santa Maria. The heat and Atlantic breeze are ideal for both wine and vinegar maturation. A staff of 20 works in the bodegas which have thick walls and large windows. This architectural design allows the constant flow of salty breezes that are such an important element of the terroir that make Vinagres de Yema so special.
Rogers Collection and Vinagres de Yema are extended family. Fernando Jr. –the grandson of the founders of Vinagres de Yema—spent one summer of his youth in Maine with RC founders Dick and Joan Rogers. And later, when Dick traveled to Spain, Fernando took him on a cheese tour of Spain. Dick learned of the many incredible artisanal cheeses that remain in our collection to this day.
The ties that bind the two companies are more familial than business in so many ways. The connections just don’t stop! The beautiful watercolor of the town of Jerez de la Frontera (the source of the sherry wine) on the Tierra Vieja label was painted by Molly Blakeman, stepmother of Carrie Blakeman. Carrie has been governing the helm at RC for nearly 15 years.
The birth of Vinagres de Yema seemed fated and the coming together of its amazing people and products with Rogers Collection, well, it appears that was meant to be, too. Indeed, Que estaba en las estrellas!