SAVE THE DATE! UPCOMING EVENTS

SPANISH WINE CELLAR

April 20, New York
April 22, San Francisco

RIOJA RESTAURANT WEEK
April 26 – May 2, New York

GREAT MATCH
May 7, Chicago
October 6, New York
October 26, Houston

RIOJA TRADE TASTING
May 19, New York

ASPEN FOOD & WINE CLASSIC
June 18-21, Aspen

WINES FROM SPAIN PRESS
TRIP

July 7-14, Txacolí and Aragón

STAR CHEFS
September 20-22, New York

RIOJA IN THE NEWS!

Palm Beach Post, Five lessons
(culinary and celebrity) from South Beach Festival, February 25, 2009


Miami Herald, Exploring the wines of Spain, February 19, 2009

The Wine Blokes, Rioja – It's still hot, November 18, 2008

30 Second Wine Advisor, Wine
Focus – Rioja, Red and White,
January 9, 2009


Links below download a .pdf file
PGATour.com, Spain & Portugal
– Golf and the good-life,
January 7, 2009


Travel & Leisure, Spanish Crush, January 2009

DC Examiner, Food trends of 2008: New concepts, fresh faces, January 2009

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:
newsletter@vibrantrioja.com

WELCOME TO RIOJA BUILDS RESTAURANTS, A NEWSLETTER FOR THE ON-PREMISE TRADE BROUGHT TO YOU BY VIBRANT RIOJA. We will be presenting news, trends and ideas to help you build your on-premise business. We will cover anything in relation to the wine industry and the food-service business as a whole. Then, we’ll bring it straight to you in short, concise bites that are aimed to help.

DESPITE A DOWNTURN IN THE ON-PREMISE SEGMENT, KEY SPIRITS AND WINE DISTRIBUTORS REMAIN HOPEFUL
For Ray Herrmann, chairman of The Charmer Sunbelt Group; Wayne Chaplin, president and COO of Southern Wine & Spirits of America; Tom Cole, president of Republic National Distributing Co.; and Todd Epsten, CEO of Major Brands Inc., there is no reason to be overly pessimistic despite the downturn in the on-premise business. Wayne Chaplin states, “So much of the industry’s profit is made in the on-premise. It’s where value is created and brands are built.” (Outlook From The Second Tier, Market Watch Special Issue 2009)
So, what can we do?
As a result of consumers being more price-conscious and trading down, it’s clear that high-end consumption is
low. So, why not change the wine menu? A $40-$60 wine list can drive wine consumption while sending out the
message that restaurants are aware and conscious of the consumers’ mindset.

ECONOMIC DOWNTURN CLEARLY VISIBLE IN WINE CONSUMPTION IN THE ON-PREMISE SEGMENT
Since the mortgage and banking crisis quickly became a full-on recession, food-service operators are feeling the shift in consumer behavior. Consumers have been dining out less often and spending even less when they do. Bottom line? Less and less revenue. But not everything is lost. Though consumer behavior has changed, wine consumption is still on the rise. In these economic tough times, consumers will be looking for trusted brands they know. Consumers are also trading down into more value-oriented products and spending less on higher-end wines. (A Changing Landscape, Market Watch Special Issue 2009)
So, what can we do?
Keep building trust with consumers. A knowledgeable sommelier and helpful service staff can go a long way in ensuring customers will come back. If consumers find that Italian or French reds are becoming too expensive, try recommending a Rioja red – with great selections ranging from $8-$15 wholesale, allowing markups to $40-$60 on your wine list.

U.S. WINE CONSUMPTION UP DESPITE SLOW GROWTH
Though consumption has slowed, for nearly 60 years and running, wine has, on average, outperformed beer and spirits – measured by the growth of servings per person. (Impact, November 15 2008)
So, what can we do?
Wine consumption in the U.S. in 2008 rose by 1.6%. Rioja wine consumption in the U.S. rose by nearly 3%. More and more consumers are discovering Rioja wines and demanding them on site. Rioja has a great and extensive selection of $8 and up wholesale wines. Adding a Rioja wine section can have a positive impact in consumption for your business. In addition, you can train your servers to become sellers. Wine pairing is a fantastic way to upsell to your customers. An experienced server will be able to increase customer satisfaction and your margins. It’s a fact: young wine consumers want a good story from their wine server. If you need stories about Rioja wines, we can help train your servers.

WEATHERING THE RECESSION
Hudson Riehle, from the National Restaurant Association, recently stated, “The industry is recession resistant, not recession proof.” Though affected by the shift of consumer behavior due to the economy, the restaurant business is still faring better than other retail sectors. Dining out has become a way of life for most Americans. In fact, according to a Zagat survey, around 50% of all meals are eaten outside the home. (Hospitality, Hot and Cold, Market Watch Special Issue 2009)
So, what can we do?
As consumers are trading down and spending has lessened, restaurants can use different promotions to increase foot traffic. A lot of restaurants are offering gift cards and fixed price menus. But, why not offer a free bottle of Rioja wine instead of a gift certificate? It can cost you less than the gift certificate and improve the overall dining experience.

BUYING CO-OP: IMPROVING THE BOTTOM LINE?
Improving the bottom line can be very difficult in today’s economy. Ever thought about buying at a co-op? Susan Koehler at Sam’s Club says Sam’s Club Business Members can get anywhere from $5 to $25,000 in savings. Usually, small independents – 5 to 10 properties – are ideal for this, as buying groups can negotiate favorable contracts with beverage companies, meat, produce, diary, even paper, linens and tabletop. In addition, some can offer reduced rates on credit card percentages and property insurance. (Food Arts January/February 2009)
So, what can we do?
Before you begin buying at a co-op, take a look at the cost and benefits – it might just be the right move. Wine, of course, will still have to come from your distributor, but there are lots of ways to cut your costs without cutting value. Rioja wines can help.

Most wines are consumed within several days of purchase. According to Constellation Brands, the average American wine consumer only has three bottles of wine in their home. So why not sell more wine that's ready to drink when purchased? Rioja wines are not released until ready to drink. They're aged at the winery and by law, cannot be exported outside of the aging requirements. Here's a simple guide:
• Crianza – wines that been aged 12-18 months in oak barrels and another year in bottle
• Reserva – wines that have been aged in oak barrels 18-24 months and 12-24 months in bottle
• Gran Reserva – wines that have been aged in oak barrels 24-36 months, and 36 months in bottle
• Joven – the one exception to the rule. With Joven, anything goes: single estate, varietals, less oak, different blends, etc. They tend to offer more fruit extraction than traditional Rioja wines and often match well to tastes that prefer American wines, but offered at lower price points.

GET INVOLVED... HERE'S HOW
If there is anything that you'd like to see in the upcoming newsletters that you feel will help other businesses, write a column and submit it to us! We would like to share best practices with all of you, so if you're doing something different to grow your business or would simply like to share your knowledge, please let us know.

Those interested should email Vibrant Rioja (newsletter@vibrantrioja.com) for more information and guidelines. We look forward to hearing from you!

 

WHAT CAN VIBRANT RIOJA OFER?
• Wine Sourcing -- we can put you in touch with importers and distributors to help you develop a wine
program customized to your needs
• Education -- we partner with the Culinary Institute of America to offer seminars and tasting programs that
can teach your staff about the Rioja region, characteristics of the wine, and appropriate food pairings
• Food & Wine Pairing -- we can draw on our many relationships with leading chefs and food-and-wine
educators to develop an outstanding set of wine pairings for your menu
• Promotional Programs -- we can design and help execute different promotional programs to help you
introduce your staff and customers to the wines of Rioja. Some sample programs are: Vibrant Rioja VIP Club – special tastings, food pairings, seminars and guided trips to the region; Vibrant Rioja Winedays – Build traffic on off nights; Vibrant Match – Try a tasting and pairing event customized to your offerings.
That's great, but… what else?
Vibrant Rioja Materials – we can provide you with a wide range of educational and promotional tools – many customized to your needs. They include bottle-neckers, informational notebooks, maps, gift bags, tasting notes, food-pairing notes and much, much more. If you have an idea, we will try to work with you to produce it.