Although she was born in Murcia, Laura Mateo defines herself as Navarrese by adoption. After finishing her studies in London , she came to the Autonomous Community to work hand in hand with her husband, Víctor Fernández de Manzanos , in her family winery: Bodegas Manzanos . “We took over management when her father died in 2010. Then we were eleven workers and now we are 150,” Mateo details.
The couple met in the United Kingdom , but returned home to assume leadership of the firm. It was a new beginning, in which they decided to reformulate the business. “His father made the wines, and we had a different training. “We decided to transform the company to sell added value and go into foreign markets,” they explain.
Currently, its products are sold in seventy countries, although some have a greater sales volume. “For example, we have clients in Bhutan , although they are not very numerous. My husband did an internship at one of the export companies we worked with. So, when I started working at the winery, we became export salespeople and traveled around the world,” Mateo recalls.
After seeing the scope they were achieving, in 2016 they decided to hire a person to carry out this work specifically. “We continued with this sales strategy until the pandemic, when the borders were closed. Europe and Asia had more restrictions, and the United States was a market in which there was a lot of potential to develop. So we decided to move with our two children to explore the continent,” says the couple.
Now, Mateo and Fernández reside in Miami. In fact, at the time this interview was conducted they were in the warehouse finalizing details before returning to North American territory: “These are days of packing suitcases and getting everything ready, the course begins there now.”
ARRIVAL AT THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
Once installed on American soil, they formed a larger sales team and visited all the States to show their genre. “We wanted to promote sales in the United States. And we chose Miami strategically. Now we are a team of ten people: three Spanish and seven North American. We have been growing,” they point out.
When they decided to undertake this adventure, they also joined the Spain-US Chamber of Commerce , an organization that recently communicated very exciting news to them. “They have elected me as a director of the corporation in Miami for the period 2023 / 2026. So I feel super happy. We have only been in Miami for three years and we are not yet such a recognized company. But I was the ninth person with the most votes among 42 candidates,” highlights the director.
Mateo leads the Marketing and Human Resources areas within the winery and is confident that, through his new position, he can also help other companies that want to enhance their internationalization: “We advise entrepreneurs, businessmen, managers… From the Chamber We represent Spanish companies that intend to grow here. My job will be to ensure proper functioning and management. In short, everything necessary to help firms grow within the American market.”
The advisors meet frequently and are elected by the companies associated with the Chamber and based in the American city. “There are directors of very large companies like Sabadell , Abanca , Telefónica … I think that being there gives a lot of value and visibility to our land. Many companies in Spain have contacted me to ask me questions,” analyzes Mateo.
THE EVOLUTION OF THE WINERY
All of the winery’s wines continue to be made in Navarra . At this time, the group’s headquarters are in Azagra , which has another winery in Campanas and a third headquarters in Haro . “All the teams are in Azagra. And from there we carry out training and management functions for the sales team in the United States and Spain,” the couple specifies.
The growth of the company has translated into an exponential increase in production, which has gone from 300,000 bottles per year in 2010 to ten million today: “And in turnover we will be close to 20 million euros.”
Now, Mateo and Fernández de Manzanos are more focused on growing in value. “We do not enter into price wars, since we are within the medium-high level Navarrese wines. In the United States, in fact, we sell the highest ranges. The quality-price relationship between our genre and our direct competitors, which are usually California wines, allows us to do many more promotional actions. And this also gives a positioning to the DO Navarra brand,” they both defend. Its best-selling reference in North America is Manzanos Reserva, while in Spain it is the Crianzas.
“Since we settled in Miami, many friends from Mexico and the United States have come to visit us in Navarra to get to know the region,” they point out. In the distance, inevitably, there are things that are missed. “I am more acclimatized to Navarra than to Murcia. In fact, my family comes here to visit us when we return from the United States. What we miss most is food. Although there are also good options there, we love Navarrese gastronomy,” they remark.