Bodegas Bilbainas, the Rioja bodega owned by the leading cava producer Codorniu, will celebrate its centenary this month as a public limited company with a special gala dinner and the launch of limited edition wine specially bottled for the occasion, " Viña Pomal Reserva Seleccion Centenario".

The company was founded by the French winemakers Savignon Freres et Cie in 1859, specialising in reserve red wines. In 1901, a group of businessmen from the northern industrial city of Bilbao took control, established a limited company and the company adopted its current name.

The company's reputation grew - the Ederra crianza wines were in daily use at the court of King Alfonso XIII and the company received the Spanish equivalent of the Royal Warrant in 1925.The crianza and reserva wines produced by Bodegas Bilbainas have always been a reference point for the extremely competitive Rioja wine market.

In 1997, the Barcelona based Codorniu group acquired 79 % of the share capital with the intention to improve the distribution and sales of these famous red wines. The new majority shareholders have now increased their shareholding to 87.82 % and have just completed a €10m investment in improving the vineyards and other production installations

Bodegas Bilbainas produce the Ederra, Viña Zaco and the Viña Pomal brands from grapes grown on 245 hectares of the company's own vineyards in the heartland of Rioja Alta, the most prestigious zone in the D.O.