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In This Issue:

Industry News

Rioja in the News

Rioja Information

Trade Events

Trade Special Events

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  Industry News


About Vibrant Rioja:

Vibrant Rioja is a partnership between the governing body for wines from Rioja, Spain – called the Consejo Regulador de la Denominación de Origen Calificada Rioja – and Wines from Spain, under the auspices of the Spanish Institute for Foreign Trade (ICEX). Our goal is to raise awareness and educate consumers and trade professionals on wines from the Rioja region. Email us your questions or comments at:


Importance of Technology in Wine World
Social media and mobile technology are steadily infiltrating the wine industry's traditional marketing mix. Chief strategy officer Paul Mabray of VinTank explains, "As an industry, we can no longer ignore digital. We now live in a Google economy." Mabray's statement about the significance of the digital revolution in relation to the wine industry is supported by facts and figures. There are now over 450 wine-related applications available on several different mobile devices, which is 6 times as many as existed just 18 months ago. Mabray also reports that people had around 14 million online conversations about wine last year on Facebook, Twitter and other social media. The numbers speak for themselves: digital technology is a complicated but rapidly expanding force in today's wine industry.
The Press Democrat, June 19, 2011

Our Thoughts
Digital tools like social media, data management, and operations software allow the wine industry to remain consumer-centric in the midst of global expansion. The fast-paced online landscape is fickle but extremely important for all trade professionals to appreciate and become comfortable with.

Off-Premise Wine Sales up 3.1% Through May
The Nielsen Company recently reported a 3.1% increase in off-premise wine sales during the 4 weeks ending May 28, 2011 and a 3.7% increase in the 13 weeks ending during the same period. Domestic wine sales were up 4.8% while imports were down 1.1% during the 4 week period. While wines priced from $0-$2.99 and $6-$8.99 saw continued declines in sales, the price segments from $9-$11.99, $15-$19.99 and $20+ enjoyed healthy growth that hovered around 8 percent., June 14, 2011

Our Thoughts
The over-$20 price segment remains a strong player in the market. In the 13 weeks ending May 28, this segment grew a full 12.5 percent. While general wine sales were not as high as they were in April, the market continued to make gains from where it was last year.

U.S. Retail Sales Drop for First Time in 11 Months
A number of reports have been released recently with data showing depressed economic activity as we move further into the second quarter. Economists attribute the recent lull to high gasoline prices and to supply chain complications following the natural disasters in Japan. A fresh government report revealed an unpleasant image of consumer spending. Sales at food and beverage retailers fell 0.5% while sporting goods, hobby, book and music store receipts decreased by 0.4 percent in May.
Financial Post, June 14, 2011

Our Thoughts
Although these figure are by no means uplifting, economists allow that the report does not mean a new recession is close at hand. If anything, these sloping numbers are a good reminder that the effects of the conservative consumer mindset that arose during the economic recession still linger.

Rioja in the News

Laurie Daniel from the San Jose Mercury News wrote an article last month on summer rosés with special mention of Riojas. She writes, “I've traveled to Spain a few times in recent years, and pink wines — called rosados — are proliferating there …. Rosados from the Rioja region can be tremendous bargains. The 2010 CVNE Rioja Rosado ($9), made from tempranillo, is persistent and refreshing, with racy cherry and cranberry flavors.”

She goes on to say, “In general, rosé should be drunk young. Look for wines from 2009 or 2010. Exceptions to this are few -- I've tasted plenty of 3- or 4-year-old rosés that are very tired -- but there is one noteworthy agreeable pink wine. Lopez de Heredia in Rioja releases its rosados after some years of aging -- the currently available vintage is 2000 -- and the wines can be extraordinary. The 2000 Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Gran Reserva Rosado ($31) is quite floral and complex, with delicate fruit and a touch of vanilla. Even at 11 years, the wine -- mostly garnacha, with a little viura -- is lively and fresh, although it's less overtly fruity than most pink wines.”

Read the entire article.

Rioja Information

Rioja: Best-Known Spanish Wine Region Among U.S. Wine Drinkers
A new study by Wine Intelligence presented at the 2011 London International Wine Fair reveals that Rioja is the number one Spanish wine region in terms of awareness among regular wine drinkers in the U.S. The same study ranks Rioja among the three best-known international regions, right behind Burgundy and Bordeaux. The study, conducted among regular wine drinkers in the U.S., focused on the importance that region and country of origin have on consumers’ wine buying decisions.

In the U.S., 48% of regular wine drinkers rate the country of origin as very important when making a purchase decision, and 46% consider the region of origin a significant buying factor. Overall, Rioja ranked 6th in the U.S. awareness chart of domestic and international wine regions, following Napa Valley, Sonoma, Burgundy, Bordeaux and Washington State.

“The study proves that consumers notice and become fans of wine regions offering consistent quality at any given price point,” says Pablo Olay, the U.S. Vibrant Rioja campaign director. “Rioja has been delivering top quality at a great value for years, and U.S. consumers are aware of this.”

Among both mainstream (8 to $9.99) and high price points ($15 and more), Rioja was featured in the top five regions from which consumers said they were likely to buy wine.

Trade Events

Vibrant Rioja Celebrates the World’s Best Culinary Events
For the second time in a row, Vibrant Rioja co-sponsored the prestigious FOOD & WINE Classic in downtown Aspen, Colorado, June 17-19. Vibrant Rioja splashed onto the scene by sponsoring five consumer Grand Tastings and a VIP mansion party hosted by Spanish celebrity chef and James Beard Award Winner José Andrés. For the past 28 years, the FOOD & WINE Classic has been a premier culinary and wine event in the U.S. About 5,000 consumers, industry professionals and media participated in exciting cooking demonstrations and wine tastings over a three-day weekend. World-class seminars were led by wine and food celebrities including Mario Batali, José Andrés, Jacques Pépin and Gail Simmons, among many others.

“Our trade campaign has a very strong presence in Colorado, and we are fortunate to count our main partner in Aspen as Applejack Wine & Spirits, who caters to Colorado’s world class ski resorts,” said Pablo Olay, the U.S. Vibrant Rioja campaign director.

Earlier this season, Rioja co-sponsored the 2011 James Beard Foundation Awards, the most prestigious international culinary awards ceremony (commonly known as “The Oscars of the Food World”). Vibrant Rioja poured wines for over 2,000 guests during the reception at the Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City. This year’s event celebrated the rich, diverse cultures currently inspiring American cuisine.

Vibrant Rioja Tours the U.S. This Summer
Vibrant Rioja launched this season’s activities in Texas at the 18th Annual Great Match’s “Spain’s Vivacious Varietals.” Hosted by Wines from Spain, the Houston and Dallas events boasted a fantastic audience of nearly 400 guests in attendance. These guests were key retail and restaurant trade. Sommeliers from campaign partner Pappas Bros. Steakhouse, which won “The Best Steak in Texas,” poured Rioja wines and educated guests during the walk-around tastings. Master Sommelier Doug Frost, America’s eighth Master of Wine, wrapped up the events in hosting the Rioja seminar in Dallas.

Trade Special Events
Rioja Press Trip
Vibrant Rioja had the pleasure of hosting five California-based wine and food writers in Rioja in May, visiting a wide range of wineries, from historic to modern to boutique. A trip to Rioja would not have been complete, of course, without a lively visit to the famous tapas street on Calle Laurel, in the old section of Logrono. Somehow, the wines always taste best with a bite of delicious Iberico ham or Manchego cheese, enjoyed over good conversation!
Gary Vaynerchuk Likes “Real-World” Riojas
Gary Vaynerchuk, wine social media guru, recently opened as keynote speaker for New York’s Blog World Expo. At a book signing on opening night for his newest book release, “The Thank You Economy,” he toasted with a glass of Cortijo Blanco 2010, and gave the Spanish wine region a major shout-out. “Rioja is one of the few regions that have stayed true to their style and make real-world wines,” said Vaynerchuk. Watch what Vaynerchuk had to say about Rioja back in 2007 on one of his “Wine Library TV” episodes.

Gary Vaynerchuk and the Vibrant Rioja Team at The Blog World Expo’s Opening Night

Wine Bloggers’ Conference Rioja Crawl
Will you be at the Wine Bloggers Conference in Charlottesville, Virginia? If so, come join us for the Rioja Wine Crawl at restaurants Feast, Orzo, Zinc, Maya and Brookville. The event will be held Saturday, July 23 from 9:00 pm – 11:00 pm. More information.

Other Information

Vibrant Rioja Campaign Receives National Award
We are pleased to announce that the Vibrant Rioja U.S. trade marketing campaign received a 2011 Silver Anvil Award of Excellence in the Marketing Business to Business category from the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). The Award of Excellence, which recognizes outstanding strategic public relations planning and implementation, was presented to Vibrant Rioja during the Silver Anvil Awards Ceremony held on June 9 in New York City.

“The Award of Excellence recognizes top public relations programs in our industry,” said James J. Roop, APR, Fellow PRSA, 2011 Awards and Honors Committee chair and president of Roop & Co., Cleveland, Ohio. “To receive an Award of Excellence, programs must be of Silver Anvil caliber and represent some of the finest strategic and creative thinking in our profession.” This year, the Silver Anvils had more than 800 entries across 16 categories.

The Vibrant Rioja Trade Campaign is a comprehensive marketing campaign led by Ana Fabiano that targets the U.S. wine market. She conceptualized the program to increase sales by establishing and reinforcing alliances with key distributors and retailers, educating them about Rioja wines and developing as well as implementing retail promotions. As a result of the 2010 Vibrant Rioja Trade Program, DOCa Rioja wine exports increased 33% in 2010 from the previous year. Additional results of the 2010 Vibrant Rioja Trade Program include: the development and implementation of 1,002 Rioja wine promotions in 21 states and more than 110 cities; the completion of 200 trade events and 800 consumer events; and 90 new Rioja wine placements with over 150 Rioja wineries represented.

Rioja Supports Retail
Interested in creating a rich Rioja program to offer the clientele at your store, restaurant or bar? Vibrant Rioja resources are vast and attractive and can generate a dynamic and prosperous program for your establishment with a wine category on the rise. Please contact for further information.