About the Producer
Does the name Rafa Bernabe ring a bell? If so, then you may already be familiar with Finca Casa Balaguer as it was his estate before selling it to his right hand man, Andres Carull (pictured). Before anything, maybe we should start by introducing Andres and how he met Rafa. Both from the town of Villena in Alicante where his family owned vineyards and made wine, Andres had his first revelatory sip of natural wine in a bar in St. Emilion in Bordeaux. Not the first place you’d think of for natural wine, but that’s how the story goes. Taken back by that cloudy glass of wine he was served, he wondered if anyone back home was making wines like that and of course all roads led him to Rafa Bernabe. For those of you that don’t know who Rafa is, well we could say he’s the father of natural wine in Valencia.
When we started importing wine back in 2013, he was one of the hottest producers out there. They worked side by side for about 3 years when Rafa started to have some health issues and decided it was time for him to move on from winemaking. As an idolized international winemaker, he had offers from international buyers but preferred to keep it local and find a fellow native who would feel and understand his land the same way he did. With that in mind, it was pretty obvious who was first in line. With little to no financial resources, Andres’ first reaction was to reject the offer but after days of not sleeping, he became determined to find a way. He approached family, friends, and banks, of course, until finally gathering enough money to buy the estate from Rafa.
Taken back by that cloudy glass of wine he was served, he wondered if anyone back home was making wines like that and of course all roads led him to Rafa Bernabe.