OUR STORY - RIOJA STORY It all began in 1895

In the late 19th century, Haro had a railway station, street lighting, vineyards in the surrounding countryside, wine in its homes and a building that housed the Bank of Spain. All of this made it a focal point for the French wine makers whose vines had been decimated by powdery mildew and phylloxera but who nonetheless had lost none of their commercial skills. Thus the history of Rioja wines as we know them to day began to be written. As these first words were being written, the Martínez Lacuesta family was right there.


Félix Martínez Lacuesta
Lawyer, journalist, entrepreneur and… winemaker.
Great names make Rioja wines great


1895 Winerys
Martinez Lacuesta

Martínez Lacuesta was officially founded on 1 February 1895. It represented the coming together of Eloy Martínez’s business and commercial expertise and the pioneering, inquisitive spirit of his son, Félix Martínez Lacuesta.

The short but intense life of Félix (Haro 1873 – Haro 1922) is the story of many. Lawyer, publicist, journalist and even Governor, his life was characterised by his burning desire to improve the quality of Rioja wines, principally through an ever-greater knowledge of the production process. Under his stewardship, Bodegas Martínez Lacuesta became the benchmark for the quality of Haro’s wines.

This saw techniques modernised in both the vineyard and the winery in order to satisfy palates which were becoming ever more refined. Quality wine became a product consumed by the general public and Martínez Lacuesta sought to transcend the commercial limits of Haro and La Rioja, with the opening of a branch in Madrid and later, with Emiliano’s travels, throughout the Americas.

The modern Rioja, just a few years after its birth, was beginning to look to new markets.

1904 Commercial expansion

The Martínez Lacuesta family have always had a markedly pioneering, innovative and commercial spirit. It was soon clear that wine production would need distribution and sales channels in line with the new world was opening its eyes to Rioja wines. This would initially be the case within Spain before soon expanding into international markets. The old dream, that Rioja wines would one day reach the four corners of the world, took its first steps to becoming a reality.


Emiliano Martínez Lacuesta
Three years crossing America.


La Sucursal
First store in Carmen 18 street in Madrid.

The Madrid branch and the American adventure

In 1904, the Madrid La Sucursal branch opened in Calle del Carmen. This retail and distribution centre was initially intended for the domestic market. Nevertheless, it wouldn’t be long before the first international distribution contracts were signed.

Our Madrid outlet represented a landmark in the marketing and sale of wine and numerous other products which the Martínez Lacuesta family supplied to customers that even included the Royal Household. From 1904 to the present day and without interruption, La Sucursal has always been a small bastion for Riojas in Madrid, a city that has always warmly welcomed our wines.

1907 saw another milestone in Bodegas Martínez Lacuesta’s international expansion. Emiliano set off on an adventure which would take him throughout practically all of North and South America, highlighting our wines alongside other products from La Rioja and Spain.


Pioneers in advertising
Carrying a luminous signboard through the streets of Barcelona.

1920 Félix’s inheritance

Félix Martínez Lacuesta (who died in 1922) had instilled in his brothers and heirs his obsession with perfecting and defending the quality of Rioja wines, the never ceasing improvements to the vineyard and winery practices and his commercial drive to open up new markets.

His desire to protect the quality of the wines (and prevent their counterfeiting) gave rise to the Rioja Designation of Origin in 1925 and the wine’s Regulatory Board, two initiatives that were widely called for by exporting wine producers, led by Martínez Lacuesta.

With the adaptation of the new techniques learnt from the French to the conditions of vineyards in the Rioja region and the perfecting of the coupage, Rioja wines began to write a new chapter in their history. Their authenticity and personality are today recognised the world over. We were there when the first words were written.

1944 The third generation

After the profound crisis caused by the Spanish Civil War, it was time to begin anew.


The third generation of the family had to oversee a reconstruction that took the whole of the second half of the 20th century. Increased sales necessitated a series of enlargements to the winery in order to improve aspects of the whole production process. New vats, more space for the casks, a new bottling line… Wine ageing in oak barrels and manual decanting form a part of the Martínez Lacuesta family’s DNA, with casks still traditionally stacked five-high today.

The 21st century was gradually approaching.

Casks room in Bodegas Martínez Lacuesta

Casks room
Production room with casks stacked five-high


New winery
Main facade of the current winery.

2007 From the 19th to the 21st century

The Martínez Lacuesta family’s fondness for its Calle Ventilla premises did not stop them from recognising that the viability of the project that had come into being a hundred years earlier needed new facilities.

Work began on 2 April 2007 and just over two years later, Martínez Lacuesta opened its new winery. This was the path toward innovation, sustainability and the modernisation of our wines to reflect current preferences. It is the path toward what is still transcendental for our history and essential to the need to advance toward new horizons. Toward what Martínez Lacuesta has always represented.

with tradition

The style and glamour that define Martínez Lacuesta represents a unique, recognisable heritage among the Rioja region’s hundred-year-old wineries. Labels, posters and advertising, designed throughout our history are testimony to a graphic arts tradition that is as personal as it is unmistakable.

The relationship between Bodegas Martínez Lacuesta and the advertising of and graphic imagery used in Rioja wines really deserves a whole chapter to itself. Félix Martínez Lacuesta was a great communicator and among his other jobs, worked as a publicist. Perhaps for this reason, perhaps because of the French tradition, from the outset, Martínez Lacuesta has always been known as a remarkable communicator of the excellent qualities of Rioja through its carefully crafted labels and, above all, its magnificent advertisements.

Both have allowed Bodegas Martínez Lacuesta to send its name and that of Rioja around the world without the need to step outside Haro.

Martínez Lacuesta travelled around the world through his emblematic advertising



The Butler
Advertising poster of the “La Sucursal de Madrid”.