The journalist and writer Álvaro Ruibal toured La Rioja, then the province of Logroño, in October 1970. The newspaper 'La Vanguardia' in which he worked had commissioned him to write
The journalist and writer Álvaro Ruibal toured La Rioja, then the province of Logroño, in October 1970. The newspaper ‘La Vanguardia’ in which he worked had commissioned him to write a series of articles about this region. There were nine articles published in La Vanguardia in a period of two months. The first appeared on October 20, 1970; the last, on January 2, 1971. Both, those who opened and finished the series, dedicated them to the capital, to Logroño. The second report had as protagonist Cenicero; the third one was centered in Briones and San Vicente; the fourth one was a homage to Haro; the fifth one went to Elciego, Laguardia and Ábalos; the sixth one traveled to San Adrián, Calahorra and Arnedo; the seventh one went on pilgrimage through the Jacobean villages of Navarrete, Nájera and Santo Domingo; and the eighth one changed into a tourist miscellany. The complete series was entitled «The liberal vineyards» as a recognition of the political affiliation of the first Riojan winemakers, those ambitious liberals of the nineteenth century, who, with their cacique spirit on their shoulders and their desire for power and economic growth, first set up a Society of Harvesters and then, as who does not want the thing, a whole lady province. Now, almost fifty years later, we want to pay tribute to the excellent work of Álvaro Ruibal. We are going to rescue him from the newspaper libraries to give him new life. Our purpose is to go back to the same places that the journalist visited in that year 1970 and compare it before with now. And to do so with his Borrow-like foreign spirit, capable of unraveling both virtues and defects. In this way we will get a comparative photograph that will help us to see how our region has evolved. We have thought the title of the book: «De los viñedos liberales a los viñedos neoliberales» (From liberal vineyards to neoliberal vineyards). If Ruibal knew how to link the historical, artistic and customs story with the economic explanation, we want to try something similar. This will be an essay on how the Rioja appellation in recent decades. But a literary essay: where there will be room for more than numbers. There will be room for ideas, descriptions, even adjectives of admiration. Because Álvaro Ruibal was a visionary. Before anyone else he saw the future of wine tourism, the success of the Jacobean road, the development of the wine industry, and the seed from which the Autonomous Community would be born. We will give an account of it and of what comes out. That’s why we intend to make a travel book. In the Aula Pedro Vivanco we believe that today, fifty years later, this trip is best made by the journalist José Mª Lander and we have commissioned him with the intention of publishing his work, along with the texts by Alvaro Rubial next year.
In collaboration with the magazine Cultura Popular Piedra de Rayo
Date: June to November 2019