Ibiza is well known for many things, the most obvious being the clubbing community it attracts on an annual basis. More recently, it has become a popular destination for foodies from all over the world; the string of new operators and some famous brands has combined to raise the food and drink options to a while new level. One thing it has never been at the forefront of is the world’s wine growing labels, certainly many of the top vineyards are well represented on the shelves of the islands restaurants but as far as Ibiza as a place to produce top quality wine, that hasn’t been the case, until now.
Frenchman Laurent Fresard has been in the wine business for as long as he can remember. Sourcing and selling top quality wine has been his business with a dream of producing his own wine one day. Well, that day is now, the wine is called Ibizkus and he is producing it right here in Ibiza, with the help of the Payeses and the vines of Monastrell. Ibizkus is instantly recognizable through it’s distinctive bottle, with long neck and unique top. The rose and red are making quite a name for themselves, on and off the island. We caught up with Laurent in one of his vineyards to get an insight into what made him choose Ibiza as the home of his very own wine…
Ibizkus has made a huge impact since its launch, what made you decide Ibiza was the place to produce your wine?
I’m glad of the success of Ibizkus. It shows that it’s worth it to do your best and focus on the quality because people recognize it and accept the product, even if it is new and not coming from a famous wine production area. For me, the choice of Ibiza came naturally after I discovered the ungrafted old vines of Monastrell, which have been here since the Phoenicians brought them 2000 years ago. The climate and the richness of the soil offers the best conditions to produce high-quality wines. As a former wine buyer, and after having visited all the wine regions of the world, I was surprised to find a place in Europe which had all the conditions required to make top wines but where nothing had been done yet. It was the possibility to make something different and new in the old world.
What were you hopes for the label when launching and how close have you come to realising it?
The label and packaging is almost as important as the wine itself. It’s important to have a good image, which makes the people enjoy the entire product. When you eat or drink, you first do it and appreciate it with your eyes. I also wanted the bottle to be functional and adapted to the rosé wine. As each bottle spends time in an ice bucket with water, I chose to serigraphy the bottle to not damage the label and the image. I’m really happy when I arrive in someone’s house or in a restaurant and I see that Ibizkus bottles are re-used as water pots or olive oil bottles! This year, we’ll go a step further and with some partner restaurants we’ll get the bottles back to refill them. This is a little bio action but as organic producers, it is for us logical.
What is your biggest seller?
Ibizkus Rosado is our best seller in Ibiza. I made this wine for Ibiza anyway, trying to produce a gastronomic rosé wine, full bodied enough to match perfectly with the Ibiza specialities like Bullit de Peix or Paellas, but also well balanced and light enough to refresh and enjoy when you’re lying on the beach!
Do you rely mainly on the island sales or do you export?
I don’t sell only in Ibiza. I export in 10 different countries. My main export markets are France, Germany and Japan. In those markets I mainly sell the red wines produced by Totem Wines, which are Ibizkus Tinto and Totem. Those two wines are sold there in three star Michelin restaurants in Spain (Celler de Can Rocca), France (Troisgros) and the Netherlands (Od Sluis).
The bottle has an unusual design, with the longer neck and bottle top, how important is your design for you?
It’s important to be different and recognizable! Our glass-top is the best to keep a rosé or a white wine fresh without any risk of oxidation or cork taste from the wine. It’s important to me to offer the best to my clients. This glass top is also re-usable for most kind of the bottles, and suits to our ‘green’ philosophy. It is also easier to open the bottle as you don’t need any corkscrew.
What should we be considering when looking to buy white or red wine?
Do not forget rosé, which is for any winemaker the biggest challenge to produce. It’s a very difficult question to answer. It depends al lot on your own taste. Do you like young or older wines? This kind of variable or another one? From which region? Who made it? There are millions of different wines for a billion different tastes/ people. For me, the balance is the most important but it’s also the most difficult to get in the wine.
How does your wine set itself apart from the thousands of labels available?
I think it’s just different. The serigraphy is classy but simple, elegant and discrete.
You have an unusual partnership with local farmers with land and vines, how did that come about?
The local farmers, the ‘Payeses’, are the one who preserved the old vines of Monastrell. They own the vineyards and we rent them. We now take care of 13 ha of old vines all-around the island.
Do the locals that you are in business with get involved in the process?
Of course, in the fields, if they are working well (which means the way we want in order to produce the wines we want) they continue to help us by pruning the vines or cutting bad grass. But most of them prefer to let us take care of their land.
As Ibizkus becomes more successful, how can you expand?
Every year we try to find more old vines to expand but soon we’ll have to plant some new vines to develop. If I could, I’ll be glad to produce a nice Ibizkus white!
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