A Celtic Connection: Beronia and John Hemingway

John stood at the big picture window in his living room.  The olive green carpet where he stood had been worn bare by his long and wistful starings out the window.  He looked up and down the street, not a soul in sight.  Shrouded in silence he stood between the orange and pink floral curtains that he always left undrawn to let the daylight in.

He peered across the street, but Vivien wasn’t at her window today.  He always looked forward to her daily posters which she taped to the window with kind and loving messages painted on in colours as vivid as she was. Today there was no message as the house across the street seemed very still.

Here he was, locked in, while the pandemic raged around him.  Unable to see or touch those he loved, he waited patiently as his mind wandered to more difficult times.

He looked up at the clear blue sky. A plane moved silently across it leaving a contrail. That sky was his.  He heard the sound of air fire, the sound of bombs, the sound of the enemy squadron flying towards him. The acrid smell of war filled his senses. He closed his eyes and remembered the fear.  He also remembered the joy of hearing his own squadron flying beside him in unison, taking down the enemy, pushing forward against the darkness.

They think this is a war, he thought to himself smiling.  They don’t know what war is.

John turned around to put on his television that sat at a diagonal in the corner beside the big picture window.  This wooden carved cabinet helped him dispel the loneliness a few hours at a time.  As he turned the knob, something caught his eye and he looked sideways to see Vivien’s poster in her window.  Bright and colourful it said, WE GOT OUR SHOTS!

And there she was running across the street, red hair flying behind her.  He opened the door just in time as Vivien flew into his arms squealing with excitement, “I can hug you now grandpa!”

I don’t write wine reviews. I write winemotions.

This is how Beronia Reserva 2016 made me feel.

The Wine

The Story of John Hemingway and Beronia. What's the connection in this wine review and short winemotion story.

Varietal: Mostly Tempranillo blended with Graciano and Mazuelo.

Region: Rioja

Notes: A medium to full-bodied wine with aromas of dark fruit and liquorice. This is a smooth wine with a velvety texture that offers a deep warmth and intense flavours surrounded by warm oaky tones.

Alcohol: 14%

Price: $21.95 at the LCBO in Ontario and worth every penny. Also available elsewhere.

Special Notes: This DOC wine was made by the Gonzalez Byass family for Bodegas Beronia in Rioja, Spain. The grapes are grown in Ollauri in the Rioja Alta sub-region. This wine being a Reserva means it has aged a minimum of 3 years, with at least one year in mature French and American Oak barrels.

I am sure you will feel the warm hug when you drink it.


I was inspired to write this story of John Hemingway and The Few by that feeling of warm hugs thanks to Beronia Reserva 2016. A warm hug is what we all need during this difficult time in all our lives.

Though my story may be fiction. The wine is very real. As is John Hemingway. Mr. Hemingway was a pilot in the Royal Air Force (RAF).  He worked his way up the ranks to Squadron Leader and was shot down four times during the various battles of World War ll.  He is the last surviving member of The Few, a group of courageous men who flew in the Battle of Britain during the war against the Nazi’s.  The Few got their name from Winston Churchill’s famous quote, “Never in the field of human conflict, was so much owed by so many, to so few.”  That quote rings true today in our current modern battle, doesn’t it?

Interestingly, both John Hemingway and Bodegas Beronia share a celtic connection. John Hemingway is Irish, while the Beronia brand took its name from the third century celtic tribe, The Berones.

You may choose to read more about John Hemingway and The Few here.

You may choose to read more about Gonzalez Byass and the Beronia brand here.