Bulla Gastro Bar’s Michael Bailey in Spain

November 5th, 2019

Trade Trip Q&A with Bulla Gastro Bar’s Michael Bailey

Earlier this year, the regions of Ribera del Duero and Rueda hosted a trip for U.S. wine buyers and on-premise professionals, for a deep dive into Spain’s top red and white wines. During the 5-day tour, the group enjoyed countless winery visits and tasted the best of Spain’s cuisine.

From UNESCO World Heritage sites to backyard homecooked BBQ’s, they also learned about the region’s rich culture, culinary heritage and winemaking history. Join us as we spend five minutes with Michael Bailey, Manager Partner at Bulla Gastro Bar in Tampa, FL, to learn about his favorite memories, key wine takeaways and how this trip might have changed his outlook on Ribera & Rueda wines.


Where do you work?

Bulla Gastro Bar

What do you do there?

Managing Partner

In one word, how would you describe Ribera y Rueda?


From Mercado San Miguel to the historic Cava Baja street, the aqueducts to the Valladolid, which cultural activity did you enjoy the most?

I loved walking around Segovia, visiting the UNESCO world heritage sites, the sand soils of Rueda with old pre phyloxera vines and the beautiful city of Valladolid.

What are the “must do” activities you would recommend to someone visiting the wineries of Ribera and Rueda?

Walking around the vineyard and exploring all the different soils types, you can see the large river stone, clay and chalk in each different area and experience their impact on the final wines that come out of them. Seeing the terrain and growing conditions and experiencing the terroir is an incredible education.

What was your most memorable food pairing during the trip?

Los Zagales, for their modern and unique take on tapas and unexpected dishes la edible cellophane. We also had an unforgettable bbq with traditional butchery from the area cooked over vines that was at Neo.

What was your most surprising wine learning from your time spent tasting in Ribera del Duero and Rueda?

The amount of versatility there is in the wines. Riberas, although all Tempranillo, can vary depending on the soil type and where they are located in the region. Anything from modern, easy drinking wines with fresh and vibrant fruit to bold and powerful wines that stand up to big meals. Rueda Verdejo can take many forms whether they are made in stainless or oak, aged on the lees or even fermented in concrete. I also learned they are very true to their soil type (sand vs stony), this was pretty educational.

Has your outlook on the regions changed?

Yes, I was unaware of how good the wines are from these regions, it has changed my whole outlook on Ribera del Duero and Rueda, their heritage but also how they remain modern and evolved with the times.

What are your top takeaways that you will bring home with you to Bulla?

I can speak intelligently about the region and pair the wines with the food that we prepare at my Spanish restaurant. The biggest thing I brought back was how passionate all the people we came in contact with are with the farming and the winemaking process. It was truly a pleasure to see they have so much passion in what they do.