EDITION: December 2009 - February 2010


Helen Howard

Jeroen came to Ibiza in 2001 after escaping a hectic lifestyle running various cafés and bars in Holland. Like many he moved to Ibiza for a better quality of life and like many, he found it. The next few years were devoted to renovating an old house in San José and spending time, at last, with his family. During this tranquil period, Jeroen was also able to explore his epicurean passions for cooking and good wine...


His love for wine was kindled many years ago by his brother, now one of the leading experts in Holland. It is therefore not surprising that when Jeroen decided it was time to return to the world of business, he hit upon the idea of opening a wine shop. Though there are already a few such shops on the island, this is one with a difference. Most notably, he aims to stock as many wines as possible from companies who are committed to sustainable methods of production. This may mean, for example, using grapes which are not sprayed with pesticides, or grown on soil which is naturally enriched, rather than full of industrially produced nitrates. It may also mean that wider environmental issues, such as the need to restrict water usage, are taken into account.

Some of the wines are labelled 'organic', and some companies are still working towards achieving this status, which involves very strict criteria, can be costly, but ultimately ensures very high purity of the product. Those who have tried organic wine in the past may have been very disappointed – as Jeroen points out 'it is one thing to have the right ingredients, it is quite another to know how to turn them into something special'. But fortunately he has a 'hotline'. His brother tastes over 7,000 wines a year, and keeps Jeroen informed about the very best. It is interesting that an increasing number of them happen to be organic.

Jeroen believes that the wine industry is going through some big changes, and that 'the future of the industry lies in organic production'. He also says that 'many big producers now believe they can make a better product ecologically, and are investing in organic research'. There is lots of pride in the industry and many prizes to be won 'and producers see that awards are increasingly going to organic products'. They also seem to be aware that 'people are getting more health conscious, and do not want to consume unnecessary pesticides'.

In many other ways too, the industry is being forced to reinvent itself: for example, due to climate change, the harvest of many wines can be 2 weeks earlier than it was 10 years ago, which can affect quality and taste dramatically – therefore many producers are investing in higher grounds, modern techniques, different grape varieties and new wine areas. Despite the fact that in many countries, the industry has undergone a struggle to survive, through not making these changes quickly enough, many young people are now being attracted to come on board, and are embracing the potential of these new approaches.

It certainly feels exciting to have here in Ibiza, a shop selling wines which are on the cutting edge of the story: environmentally, taste wise, health wise, and even price wise. Jeroen is aware that 'it's easy

to buy an excellent wine for 30 euros but it is much more difficult to buy a good bottle for between 5 and 10 euros'. So he has prioritised tracking them down, and 75% of his wines fall within this range. He stocks wines from all over the world and presents them in user friendly categories, such as: 'Stimulating and Refreshing', 'Juicy and Fruity', 'Sultry and Seductive'...

Despite having expertise and experience at his disposal, Jeroen shuns wine snobbery. His philosophy is that either you like the wine, or you don't', and he positively welcomes people to come in and taste. He understands that people may not want to waste money on wines they don't know, and therefore wants to make it easy on every front.

Next door to the shop is a little house, where he holds regular wine tasting evenings – but be warned: his last event was due to end at 9pm and in fact finished at 2.30am!

A warm and relaxed welcome is always assured – and now with Christmas coming, it would certainly be an excellent time to stop by and share a tipple. •

Vino & Co.
Text: Helen Howard