Axial Vinos | A Dream Realized
In 1999, Eugenie van Ekeris, a lawyer, and her husband Louis Geirnaerdt, geologist and experienced wine export manager, founded Axial Vinos in Spain. They wanted to fulfill their dream of making wine themselves.
Eugenie had no formal wine training nor spoke a word of Spanish. Yet she felt that she had to take on this new venture. The couple started by helping out wineries with sales and getting involved in the entire process, from the distribution and sales to the marketing and elaboration of the wines.
After years of collaboration, Eugenie and Louis took over the winery Pagos del Moncayo in 2011, expanded their business with La Casa de Lúculo in 2013 and in 2016, their dream finally came true: they became the proud owners of their own bodega, Bodem Bodegas in Almonacid de la Sierra, DOP Cariñena. Today, Axial Vinos is composed of a team of 22 professionals led by Eugenie and Louis.
Each of their wineries is located in a different region – they are all independent from each other, with their own winemaker and team, and own style and character. “Garnacha is the grape with which we started with in 1999 in the area of Aragon. It is a very versatile grape. It shows different styles and aromas when the soils, the altitude, the climate are distinct or particular winemaking techniques are used. “We have over 20 years of experience in making Garnacha grape-based wines in different regions of Spain” says Eugenie. All the wineries craft their wines with respect for the terroir, local grape growing methods and vinification.
Throughout their journey, Eugenie and her husband faced different challenges both in the vineyards and in the wineries. Even though they possess extensive experience in wine export, they didn’t know much about operations or vinification so gaining trust among their customers was essential.
Today, they are focusing on premium wines and moving towards digital marketing while aiming to be more sustainable and to have less impact on the environment. They are even in the process of transforming all their vineyards into organic ones. What inspires Eugenie to persevere is Virginia Arranz, the winemaker from La Casa de Lúculo. She is always happy to explain and educate young professionals and she never gives up.
Just like Opimian Members, Eugenie likes preparing food and entertaining at home with family and friends. Her favourite pairings are crisp, fresh and fruity medium bodied white wines with no oak aging or a Cava combined with a black rice and squid dish in the summer. For reds, she likes full-bodied wines with aromas of herbs, dark red fruit flavours and tobacco with “Ternasco” and oven roasted potatoes (“Ternasco” is a famous local lamb shoulder recipe from Aragon).
“I am an absolute wine lover and I appreciate the most when my wines are enjoyed together with other people. Wine is not abo ut attracting attention but about being remembered,” concludes Eugenie.
Zarzuela de Mariscos – Shellfish Stew, Barcelona Style
Catalans are known for their love of music, as are most Spaniards. There is a Catalan saying, “Pinch a man on the streets of Barcelona—-if he doesn’t cry out in pitch, he’s not a Catalan.” The love of music and food combine in this dish, a classic recipe from the area around Barcelona: zarzuela is the Spanish term for light opera or operetta. This recipe serves six.
1/4 cup olive oil
2 large onions, minced
2 large red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded and cut in thin strips lengthwise
60 g lean prosciutto, cut in strips
1.2 kg tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
4 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup whole almonds, ground
1/2 tsp. saffron threads
3 bay leaves
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. fresh rosemary leaves (or 1/3 tsp. dried)
2 tsp. salt, or to taste
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
1/2 tsp. hot red pepper flakes
1 cup dry white wine
3 cups fish fumet (fish stock)
1 tbsp. lemon juice
12 small fresh clams, shells scrubbed
6 large prawns, in their shells
500 g scallops
700 g squid, cleaned and cut into rings
6 lemon wedges as garnish
1 – In large flameproof casserole, heat oil and sauté onions and peppers for 5 minutes or until soft.
2 – Stir in prosciutto and cook for 3 to 4 minutes.
3 – Add tomatoes and cook rapidly until dry.
4 – Stir in garlic, almonds, saffron, bay leaves, thyme, rosemary, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, wine, fish fumet and lemon juice. Bring to a boil.
5 – Add the clams and mussels; cover, reduce heat to moderate and cook for 10 minutes.
6 – Add prawns, scallops and squid and cook 5 more minutes.
7 – Taste for seasoning.
8 – Serve from casserole and garnish with lemon wedges.