Obituary: Julio Faustino Martínez, the Alma Mater of Grupo Faustino, passes away.Friday, October 30th 2020
Julio Faustino Martínez, passed away in Pamplona (Spain) at the age of 87, after a long illness.
Julio Faustino, Don Julio, as he was known, was born in Oyón on October 1st, 1933 to the winemaker Faustino Martínez, being his only child. He learned from him about vineyards, grapes and wines, secrets, passions and hopes that he turned into his way of life.
In 1957, already married to Maria Pilar Zabala, whom he called “his great talisman together with his father”, took the reins of the family business BODEGAS FAUSTINO MARTINEZ and in 1960 he began his export career under the currently world-renowned FAUSTINO brand.
Fifty years later, Faustino I is present in more than 140 countries and is the best-selling Rioja Gran Reserva in the world.
With his dedication and effort, BODEGAS FAUSTINO consolidated as a leading company in the wine sector in our country, being today an outstanding Rioja winery.
A courageous and enterprising man, “not very thrifty” -in his own words-, had no qualms about setting up modern wineries and, above all, he dedicated a significant capital to the purchase of vineyards, a guarantee of the quality of the wines as his father Don Faustino taught him. GRUPO FAUSTINO is today one of the largest owners of vineyards in Rioja.
At the same time, Don Julio adopted a dynamic institutional profile and promoted the Rioja agreement to suppress the export of bulk wine, a triumph in terms of quality and prestige for the Rioja Designation of Origin, and defended the role of the Board as a quality control body.
In 1990, together with his children in the management of the company, he concluded his great dream: Bodegas Campillo, in Laguardia, an architectural landmark of the moment and a forerunner of wine tourism in Rioja.
Convinced that the future of his company, given the international accent of his clients, was to form a diversified Group, GRUPO FAUSTINO, after BODEGAS MARQUÉS DE VITORIA in Rioja, he decided to enter other Appelations of Origin always in the same order, purchasing vineyards and constructing the winery.
Thus arrived Bodegas Leganza and Finca Los Trenzones, in the DO La Mancha, Bodegas Valcarlos in Navarra in 2001, and finally Bodegas Portia, in Ribera de Duero, designed by Foster&Partners; expressing his gratitude to all that the wine industry had given him.
He was curious, not very talkative, he used to say “I waste a lot of time thinking”, he surrounded himself with the best team, traveler and tireless worker; all this, together with his global vision of the business, were the ingredients of a formula that led him to create one of the largest winery groups in Spain and one of the most recognized brands worldwide.
An innovative and brave man, with a great capacity for work, whose result was success and general recognition both in the world of oenology and in business. The wine sector will always remember him.
And let's not forget, he was a great taster, he did not forget so easily the characteristics of the wines he pointed out as chosen.
He liked “gentlemen wines”, elegant, fine and with aroma, wines without edges. That was his premise to define a great wine.
In his entrepreneurial facet, he was an advisor to several companies and banks such as Bankoa.
A few years ago, in an interview he gave to an industry publication, he reflected on his life and declared:
“I think the balance is positive. I have done everything I have thought about, little by little, with a lot of work and overcoming risks day by day; preserving above all the family character of the winery. Since I was 14, my life has been wine, and now it’s time to pass the baton to my children, now it is their turn and I will dedicate myself to live a little more”.
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