The origin and soul of a dream

“Happiness is hiding in happiness’ waiting room…”

El viaje a la felicidad, Eduardo Punset


Pago de Carraovejas is origin. Starting with its first nine hectares, this project soon became a dream of becoming a benchmark wine cellar in the heart of the Ribera del Duero. It all began over three decades ago, when Pago de Carraovejas was founded in response to a dream by José María Ruiz to create a great wine in one of the areas that had the greatest potential at that time.

José María’s history in the world of wine had already begun several years before, in 1971, when he appeared as a representative of Spain at the ‘First Global Contest for Sommeliers’ held in Milan. That experience was the seed which was the beginning of his desire to open his own restaurant and make his own wines. While still fully engaged in the world of catering since the opening of the renowned Restaurante José María in Segovia in 1982, he remained determined to launch his project for a small wine cellar that would produce wines of the finest quality for his restaurant.

This is how the history of Pago de Carraovejas began when in 1987 he opened the wine cellar in Peñafiel, specifically in the Carraovejas hillsides. The location of these first nine hectares, chosen because they were a major historical centre for Ribera del Duero wines and in one of the areas with the greatest potential for Spanish wines because of their location, the soil and the climate. This was the start of a project that has already produced more than thirty vintages.

The first vintage, in 1991, from only about 70,000 kilos of grapes from the first 25 hectares under production, is the origin of Pago de Carraovejas.

José María y Pedro

“There are those who struggle for one day and they are good, those who struggle for one year and are very good, those who struggle for many years and are better, but there are those who struggle all their life and these are essential.”

Bertolt Brecht
Pedro barricas

Second generation

The scope of what started out as an ambitious dream has been hugely extended over the years since the company was founded and a new era began in 2007 when Pedro Ruiz joined the project. This new leadership brought a fresh business perspective that, faced with the exponential growth of Pago de Carraovejas, decided to accept new challenges in the field of sustainability and to use these as the criteria that would govern the company’s activities; innovation as the driving force behind progress and development; and enotourism as the means of opening up the project to all their customers with transparency and integrity.

Under the leadership of Pedro Ruiz, the wine cellar and its management received a number of prestigious awards from different public and private institutions. Acknowledgments for management performance include the 2016 Castile-León Family Business award presented by Family Business (EFCYL) and Businessperson of the Year in 2017, by the University of Valladolid Faculty of Commerce; more recent examples feature the Valladolid Chamber of Commerce 8th Leading Company award (2018) and recognition for the Best Contribution to Social-Economic Development for the area in the 13th Wine Market Business Prizes (2020).

To these we should add other acknowledgements for Good Human Resources (2015) and Quality (2018) management, by the Castile-León Economic Magazine. His involvement in Sustainability and Innovation has led to a number of awards in the field of CSR, like the prize for the best SME with Corporate Social Responsibility by the Entrepreneur Magazine (2018); and in R+D+i, with Innovation Award in the 6th edition of the Norte de Castilla Campo Awards (2019) and his appointment as a Most Innovative Partner by the Wine Technology Platform (2020).

The leadership of Pedro Ruiz also meant the start of a new era under the concept of Alma Carraovejas (Soul of Carraovejas) that will involve the search for unique landscapes that will help fulfil the dream of recovering and caring for unique legacies within the sphere of wine-making for future generations.

“The only way to do a great job is to love what you are doing. If you have not found it yet, just keep looking. Do not take the easy way out. As with all things concerning the heart, you will know what it is when you find it.”

Steve Jobs


The present and future philosophy of Pago de Carraovejas involves creating unforgettable experiences around wine, committed to unique projects in pursuit of a higher purpose, with a commitment to building a unique legacy.

This is the philosophy that has been a driving force throughout the history of Pago de Carraovejas with different projects in harmony with Alma Carraovejas.

The challenge is to be able to find the inspiration every day to develop authentic products and services, based on an organisation that is happy and sustainable within itself and its environment, seeking constant improvement, to achieve maximum quality through innovation, stubbornly preserving the culture of the organisation and the people who make it up as a heritage”.

Always with our head in the clouds and our feet firmly on the ground.

Pedro castillo