Case Studies

Luis XIV Fondillón

An unusual wine, produced in tiny quantities, relatively unfamiliar to most UK consumers, that would sit in a high value, niche sector of the wine market.

It was essential to support launching Luis XIV Fondillón with clear communication of its heritage and unique winemaking.


The ‘Luis XIV’ Fondillón wines and Vermut are the product of an exciting partnership created by David Carbonell of Vins del Comtat and descendants from two, old winemaking families in the region of Alicante, Spain.




Fondillón is produced from the classic Spanish red variety, Monastrell and has the distinction of great longevity. It is capable of extended ageing in solera, protected by a naturally higher level of alcohol achieved through overripening the grapes on the vine. It is never fortified.

Alto Vinalopó is one of the last bastions of Fondillón, a hot dry, mountainous region.  It is inland from Alicante’s, Mediterranean coastline the ‘Costa Blanca’, for which this part of Spain is perhaps better known.

In 2015, Ferrero Valdés and David Carbonell of Vins del Comtat uncovered a cellar and old barrel room, which had remained undisturbed since the 1960s. It contained a wonderful collection of 25 very old, traditional Fondillón ‘toneles’, still with their contents and in surprisingly good condition. The Ballester family also contributed old wines, barrels and more recent vintages from their own cellar, to add to the discovery at Ferrero Valdés.

In 2018 they formed Colección de Toneles Centenarios (CTC), based on a mutual philosophy to preserve these ‘fondillones’ as an important part of their regional heritage. Equally, working with some of the original, old vineyards, to breathe new life into the historic tradition of Fondillón winemaking.



David Carbonell had been successful in finding an importer in the UK when he approached Dreyfus Ashby. Richard Kelley MW recognised the quality and uniqueness of the Luis XIV Fondillón wines, but also what might be required to sell them successfully.  High quality, old and rare wines, would by their nature generate some initial interest.  To maintain demand, they would need strategic support in the market.


It would require clear communication of all the distinctive benchmark details, plus providing context drawn from Fondillón’s heritage and history, to convey its intrinsic rarity and value. The aim was to establish interest and maintain demand, when sales reach would be inherently limited by low volumes and high values.

Launching a new wine with an unknown style is particularly difficult when there are limited opportunities for trade customers to taste in advance of purchase, due to the rarity of the wine.


It was equally important to be able to convey the Colección de Toneles Centenarios credentials.  The partnership was set up to preserve their regional heritage.  In addition to offering rare wines from their amazing discovery, they were equally dedicated to maintaining the ancient soleras and barrels by continuing to make new Fondillón wines for the future.

This presented a complex mix of old and new elements to their ‘story’ to communicate to the trade.  As a result, it would need an understanding of the context as well as the detail itself.



CTC had already approached everything professionally, providing plenty of information via their website in Spanish and English.

After undertaking our own research and looking at everything they provided, we were able to discuss and explore things in more detail, face to face (albeit on zoom). As in this case, it can be more difficult to ascertain and put into context everything that might be needed, when the producer and winery has not yet been visited, in person.

Our interactive process ensured we could gain a deeper understanding, but also uncover elements or details, which they may not have considered relevant or important in relation to their prospective market in the UK.


The aim was to convey the story of such unique, distinctive wines, their heritage and the origins of the project.  To create and encapsulate these in clearly defined and engaging profile.

The Producer Toolkit framework allowed us to consolidate everything within a coherent, logical structure. The final format for their Producer Profile and individual wine (tech) sheets were adapted to include the right benchmarks and elements to reflect aspects unique to Fondillón.


It was important to consider where it was more meaningful to retain traditional or regional words and terminology in Spanish.  This was to strike the right balance between providing clarity and still conveying Fondillón’s unique winemaking heritage.   A deeper understanding from the interactive sessions helped identify which significant Spanish terminology to retain (with an explanation) and which to replace with a benchmark term in English.



Working directly with the producer on behalf of the importer ensured that a well-structured and detailed information resource was available to support launching this new agency:

  • to provide immediate access to the full story via the importer’s website or on request
  • to edit down to a concise version for a pre-shipment offer to trade customers
  • to offer a fully downloadable profile and individual wine information sheets online or on request


The impact was effective an efficient communication for these rare, but unfamiliar wines.  As a result of which, one of the two wines offered sold out pre-shipment to the UK and the offer generated strong interest for further potential orders.


When Luis XIV Fondillón received some glowing press coverage from Sarah Jane Evans MW in top 10 Spanish wine picks in Decanter. The publication could easily link to the readily available, detailed information on the Dreyfus Ashby website which:

  • helped to highlight them as an importer
  • immediately gave full access to anyone intrigued to know more about this unfamiliar wine style



The deeper understanding we gained of the CTC project, allowed us to help fine tune their English subtitles for their short promotional video. This ensured they could communicate their message with the correct context and terminology in English.  You can watch the video here.

"It seems to me an excellent synthesis of our history. Surely such good work reaps good fruits. We are very happy with the work done, and we can only say: our sincere congratulations!"

David Carbonell, Founder, Colección de Toneles Centenarios, Alicante, Spain