For the first time in PaceDoc’s history, the documentary will be released in two versions: one in Spanish, and one in English! Having students fluent in Spanish has allowed us to create this incredible documentary in two languages. We are so happy that we were able to do something special so that the coopers who let us walk in their world for a while can experience this in their voice. More exciting information in store regarding Spain so stay tuned, but this first announcement is an exciting new adventure for PaceDocs.

For two versions to enter the world, we needed the perfect individual to do our voice-over who was native to Spain and fluent in the language. That is where Andres Villagra, Professor of Modern Languages and Cultures at Pace’s New York City Campus comes in.

Villagra has lived in NYC for 40 years, but his homeland lies in the Northern region of Spain. “Where I come from, my area is kind of a more mountainous and more rural [area],” he explained. The professor spoke with PaceDocs crew member Aryeh Williams about his connection to Spain with its rich wine culture, as well as how he became this year’s selected voiceover actor.

In terms of the cask, Villagra is well aware of the influence that the Toneleria has in Spain and how they have been around forever, being innovated for different uses. “It’s a big deal now actually,” he said, “There is a whole industry in buying casks, old casks that they’ve been fermenting wine for centuries with maybe cognac or with bourbon…then they put the wine out in kind of different barrels with, you know, different origins that they’ve been using for different liquors, infusing the ones with new tonalities and new flavors.”

He discussed the huge investment opportunity in cask production that has been growing in Spain over the years. “There are companies that you can just buy casks empty. And they cost a fortune right now, like a fortune… the new investors, they’re all in the cask industry. Really, it’s amazing.” Villagra said.

Spain has an extremely rich culture, as we have learned from both our research and our visit to the Andalusia region. Villagra emphasized the importance of wine in the culture of Spain and that it spans through not only the Montilla-Moreles wine route, but across the entire country as well.

“Almost… any region in Spain will have their own local wine,” he explained. “The grapes are different, the flavors are completely different of the wine.”

 All of this relates directly back to the importance of the cask. “The wine industry is kind of very important for the country. Certainly, barrels they have more importance…. creating new combinations…. these barrels are very very much in demand.”

Villagra also discussed further the culture of wine in Spain. While wine is labeled an alcoholic beverage here in the United States, Villagra and the Spanish region see it as much more. “Wine is integral [to] conversation…. everybody will have a glass of wine.” He noted that children will be introduced to wine at a very young age, as it is something you grow up around being in the culture.

“[People say] oh wine no it’s alcohol it’s [a] drug you know you’re going to become an alcoholic…That conversation doesn’t exist… Wine is part of the culture.”

For Villagra’s future, he plans to retire and move to Madrid in the coming weeks. This meant that time was of the essence to get Villagra booked in our Podcast studio on campus to record both the English and the Spanish voiceover for the documentary. Luckily, when his old friend and colleague, our Professor, Dr. Maria Luskay reached out, he could not say no. In regards to Luskay, he said “I started teaching in Pleasantville, and so we’ve always had a good rapport even though we were not in the same department.

“So I agreed to it because it’s Maria, because I know that you have been doing a great, great job with the documentaries, I’ve seen most of them over the years. I think it’s great what she’s doing with you.”

The PaceDocs crew is thankful for Villagra’s participation in the documentary and we wish him the best on his big move back to his homeland of Spain.

Tickets are now live for the premiere of The Cooper: Crafting the Soul of the Cask. You can purchase your tickets online through The Jacob Burns Film Center or with Eventbrite. Use the promo code PACEDOCS24 now for your free tickets.

Come for the wine at Jacob Burns NEW Take 3 Wine Bar and Cafe at 6 p.m. and stay for the premiere to hear Villagra’s impressive voiceover. Don’t forget to join us afterward for a Q&A session with the crew. We look forward to showing you all that we’ve been working on this semester!

Be sure to follow our socials for more exciting announcements to come!