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LOVE        STORY: 

Juantxu ("Mendi") was living in Rioja Alavesa, helping his father take care of their family vineyards and learning how to make wine.  Carmen was all the way across the Atlantic, finishing law school at UCLA Law School in California.  One summer, Carmen visited some family in Lanciego, Spain, where she was introduced to her cousin Tomas' childhood friend, Juantxu (pronounced "Juanchu").   They met and fell in love instantly but there was one big problem:  9227 km (5734 miles) separated Carmen and Juantxu between California and Lanciego!  Oh, and it was 1996 and they had no cell phones, no social media, not even wifi to help keep in touch.  Yikes!  All they had were old-fashioned love letters, public pay phones and lots of patience, not to mention lots of coins to make those calls, and of course, a whole lot of   



A 5-year long-distance courtship ensued, followed by a fairy-tale wedding in a 17th century church in Lanciego.  Two lovely daughters later, Juanchu & Carmen were ready to tackle the world!  After much hard work on the very special terroirs of their old vine family vineyards and lots of dedication in honing their winemaking techniques and practices, they are now proud to present to you their other labours of love: 


 Although the age of the vineyard is important to us and we are lucky to have 70-year vineyards in this highly prestigious region of Rioja Alavesa, our main focus is the soil.  We don't follow trends or chase the customer.  We make hiqh quality, vineyard-based wines that are 


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Nora & Maya

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Minnie & Daisy







Juantxu (Mendi) is one of the most exciting names among the new generation of young producers in Rioja.  He doesn't follow trends nor chases the customer, making wines that are true to him, true to the soil.  Mendi's goal is to create a portfolio of quality wines that have complexity and balance, and that at the same time, that truly represent this privileged Rioja Alavesa region.  

From the beginning, Mendi's focus has always been on the terroirs of his vineyards.  Mendi's love of wine is rooted in his Rioja Alavesa blood.  Growing up with his father, Mendi learned to love and take care of his family vineyards as if they were gold.  He learned almost everything about vineyard management from his father, working six days a week and sometimes even seven.  After completing a masters in viticulture and winemaking, Mendi toured countless vineyards and wineries of all sizes in Spain, France and California, learning firsthand from others what makes good wine.  Talking to other vineyard managers, trying to understand how each winemaker learned his/her craft, drinking other winemaker's wines, Mendi was in heaven, soaking up all he could learn, and at the same time, drinking good (and sometimes bad) wine.  Mendi's dream was to one day be able to make high quality, vineyard-based wines that were true to him, true to his beloved Rioja Alavesa soil.

In 2005, Mendi's dream came true.  He began crafting award-winning wines, welcoming a true representation of varietal character and a sense of place with every glass.  In 2016, over a decade later, Mendi decided to move to a single estate vineyard concept, making wines from carefully selected 55+ year old vines.  Athough the age of the vineyard is important to him, it's not what's most important to Mendi.  Instead, it's the soil.  Working just under 15 hectares (about 37 acres) of family vineyards located at the foothills at the eastern end of the Sierra Cantabria mountains, Mendi learned that the soil is key to making top quality wines.  One can have the right climate, the perfect techniques, the most flavorable varietals, very old vines, etc. but it's the proper soil and a sustainably managed and carefully balanced farming eco-system that gives these wines a distinctive sense of place, quality and authenticity. 

Located in a privileged region for quality grape growing, Rioja Alavesa, Mendi's vineyards are characterized by steeply sloped landscape and distinctive chalky, clay-limestone soil.  This type of soil retains precipitation and minerals, basically saving the vines in dry times.  It also helps the vines stay cooler during warmer times, imparting flavors intuitive to clay itself:  thick, round and generous.  The end result are muscular wines with high extract and color, a true delight! 






Carmen was born in Riverside, California.  After graduating from UC Berkeley with a B.A. in Political Science, Carmen decided to go to UCLA Law School. During a summer break from law school, Carmen went to Lanciego, Spain (population 650+) in the heart of Rioja Alavesa to visit family where she met her cousin Tomas' buddy, Juantxu.  Sparks ensued that summer but Carmen returned to California to finish law school.  After receiving her Juris Doctor, Carmen started working as an attorney, first in Los Angeles and then later in Riverside.  Meanwhile, Juantxu and Carmen could not resist visiting each other every chance they could!  As time passed by, the distance was just too much.  The huge dilemma was who of the two was going to give up their family, friends, country and career for the other!  After almost five years of courtship, and some dilemma, Carmen decided to give up everything to follow her heart (well, let's be honest, she liked Juantxu's wine a lot too)!   

In 2001, Carmen and Juantxu married in Spain.  Soon after a romantic, fairy-tale wedding in a 17th century church in Lanciego, Carmen began working at a winery in marketing, public relations and then later in the export department.  She also completed a Masters in Viticulture, Winemaking and Wine Marketing so that she could better understand the winemaking world.  However, Carmen learned most of her know-how from Juantxu, whose passion for wine and the vineyard is larger than life and just absolutely contagious.  Learning directly from the pro was priceless! 


Carmen hopes to share this passion for wine with you at Mendieta Osaba Wines, the most magical boutique winery in Rioja where one really gets a one on one experience in the vineyards and in the winery! 

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Nora and Maya are our official grape juice tasters.  Growing up on the farm, the girls have grown to absolutely love nature.  They even have their own projects like the replanting of vines.  It is quite lovely seeing how nurturing and respective they are of the vineyard.  Nora & Maya also love the tractors, and let's be honest, mostly cuz they're just plain cool!  Oh yeah, and there is nothing quite as important (and yummy) as their role as the official Mendieta Osaba grape juice tasters.  Being the first to taste the grape juices at the start of harvest is just the best perk ever!   




Minnie and Daisy are the vineyard pros.  Born right before the covid pandemic hit Spain, these two Maltese beauties love running through the vineyards in rain, snow or shine!  Minnie & Daisy lift our spirits, bring us smiles and encourage us to stay active and engaged.  A great comfort to the Mendieta Osaba family, these 2 little munchkins make this winery a bona fide PET FRIENDLY establishment.  Come visit us with your four-legged companion and we'll have a pet friendly party!     

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