As a teenager in the early 60’s, Pedro Vivanco started delivering his family's wine by bicycle, then rose to become a major but anonymous producer for well-known Rioja brands. In the process, and as a result of 40 years of collecting, he and sons Rafael and Santiago have created what many consider the world's best wine museum, reflecting their passion for wine culture and philosophy of “giving back to wine what wine has given us.”

Canadian-British filmmaker Zev Robinson first visited the Dinastia Vivanco winery and museum in 2009 to film material for his series of documentaries on Spanish wine, and ended up creating an hour long film on the family saga that has played an essential, but little known role in the transformation of Rioja wine.

Founded in 1915 as a small, personal winery, the film traces the contributions of each of the four generations in building the winery. Now run by winemaker Rafael and Santiago Vivanco, the director of the Museum and Foundation, the documentary uses interviews with the family and others conducted during Zev Robinson's five filming trips to create a narrative interweaving the family’s history with that of the evolution of La Rioja

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Review of the June 10, 2011 event:

By Leslie Butler and Jonathan Barker.

As Robert McIntosh opines in his review of this film, “Every winery and wine family have a story to tell….” and Zev Robinson demonstrates his artistic skills in bringing to life the story of one of the more influential wineries and wine family’s of La Rioja wine region in Spain. groupa

Zev Robinson, born in Israel, educated in Canada and the UK, and currently living in the Valencia region of Spain believes that…. “Wine is often presented as a rarefied, even elitist drink, (but is usually) de-contextualized from its origins. There is a complex, interwoven fabric that goes into its production….” Zev does a masterful job of capturing that complex, interwoven fabric of Dinastia Vivanco by creatively intermingling the lives and passions of the Vivanco family, the majestic splendour of La Rioja, and the fervour and emotion of producing and consuming wine.

groupbDinastia Vivanco chronicles the development of a family winery, today run by winemaker Rafael Vivanco and his brother Santiago as the director of an associated wine museum and foundation. Founded in 1915 as a small, family operation, the film traces the contributions made by each of the four generations to its development, and how that has contributed to and reflects the evolution of La Rioja as an important wine region. Rafael and Santiago's father, Pedro Vivanco is the pivotal figure in the transformation of the business and who played an important role in Rioja wine itself. As a teenager in the early 60’s, he started delivering wine from his parents’ winery by bicycle, then decided to go away to study winemaking, returning to become a major producer. Today, the winery markets wine from their own vineyards on an international scale.

“It is that excavation of the layers of history and culture that have gone into making wine” says Robinson…”and the interweaving of the personal with the cultural (that) is part of the complexity of wine (and) sets it apart from manufactured products…..” crowd

About 80 people listened to Robinson and watched the film in the Sensory Theatre of the Robert Mondavi Institute at the University of California, Davis.  They later participated in tasting the wines of Dinastia Vivanco and chatted with the film director. We are hopeful that Zev will join us again in the future to screen and talk about more of his unique documentary style of storytelling about wine.