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ISSUE #10, DECEMBER 2009

BRAND PROFILE: Bodegas Marqués de Tomares

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 AND FOOD SERVICE 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.

WineFuture Rioja 2009
Robert Parker, along with some of the world’s most influential wine writers and educators, selected Rioja as the location for the internationally renowned WineFuture conference on November 12th and 13th – discussing the global financial crisis, the environment, sales, trends and challenges.

The conference started with David Cunningham of Constellation Wines addressing the global economic crisis and its effects on wine sales. Though restaurants are hurting, consumers are still buying wines. And instead of obsessing about price, the industry needs to pay attention to consumers and stress quality over price.

Technology also became an important theme throughout the conference, especially since the internet and social media have allowed all consumers to have a say – potentially diluting content in print publications. Gary Vaynerchuck maintains that now “that content is king, the cream will rise to the top” – in other words, good storytellers and writers will rise above the rest of the content.

Want to read more about WineFuture Rioja 2009? Visit www.winefuture.es.

Alcohol Sales Falling Further in 2010
According to Technomic – food service consultancy – alcohol sales in all away-from-home venues are expected to drop 2.5 percent in 2010. The biggest declines will be in casual full-service restaurants (expected -6.8%) and fine-dining restaurants (expected -10.4%). This is mainly due to the weakness in restaurant traffic and consumer frugality. However, David Henkes, Vice President at Technomic, believes that next year won’t be as bad as 2009. (Businesswire.com, November 2, 2009)

So, what can we do?
There are different promotions that you can do to attract more traffic and repeat customers. Prix-fixe menus, wine-by-the-glass programs, and revamping your wine list are some of the ways you can help your on-premise business grow. Ever think of adding a food-pairing chart? As you know, Rioja wines are some of the best food-pairing wines in the world. We can help you develop a food-pairing chart that fits perfectly with your Riojas or help you build your wine list. Check out www.vibrantrioja.com for more information or email us at newsletter@vibrantrioja.com.

Educating Staff

How can you make sure your staff provides the best experience to your diners? It all starts and ends with your staff! Quality food and quality wine will only get you so far in today’s economy. Ensuring a great dining experience is a great, and relatively easy, way to make sure your customers come back. Do you have a sommelier? Make sure he takes some time to educate the rest of the staff on the wines your offer. Don’t have a sommelier? Remember to train your staff to answer questions using simple words that are food-related. For example, instead of using words such as “light” and “crisp,” try describing them as “light” and “lemony crisp.” This way, consumers will get a “delicious” idea of what to expect from the wine. (Santé, Volume 13.5, December 2009).

So, what can we do?
Provide your customers with an unforgettable experience – from the moment they come into the restaurant to the moment they leave. A quick and easy piece of information all staff needs to know about the wines your offer is: the name of the producer, grape variety or varieties, where the wine is from, and quick and simple tasting notes. Recommending a wine based on the food patrons order is also key in providing a great customer experience. And no wines pair better with all types of food than Rioja wines – with a incredibly variety at all price points. When constructing your wine list, think of Rioja. You can also contact us at newsletter@vibrantrioja.com if you’d like some educational material or would like us to train your staff.

Use Your Wine List As An Advantage
Your wine list can be a great way to entice new customers and keep regulars coming back. Changing your wine list every 6 months to a year and introducing new wines will give your customers more reasons to come back. These are a few tips on adding new wines to your list:
1. Take a thoughtful approach – in other words, consider how each new wine works with your overall wine program. Does it make sense to add a white wine from Greece if your entire list is California wines?
2. Do the wines compliment your food menu? Does the price fit with the rest of the wine list? Is it a wine you would drink yourself? If the answer to any of the above questions is no, then you probably should not add that wine.
3. Market your new wines. Provide short and simple written descriptions of the new wines along with some tasting notes. That way, diners will start getting familiarized with the new wines.
4. Involve your staff. Train your staff on the new wines so they can convey their knowledge to your patrons.

Adding new wines to your wine list will energize and excite your customers and staff. However, be careful and make sure you follow the simple guidelines stated above. (Santé, Volume 13.5, December 2009)

So, what else can we do?

Think about adding a Rioja section to your wine list. With incredible variety at every price point, your customers are sure to respond positively. If you need help building your wine list, educating your staff or for educational materials, you can email us at newsletter@vibrantrioja.com or visit www.vibrantrioja.com for information about Rioja, our wines, tasting notes, and much, much more.


Social Media and Rioja
Want to keep up with Rioja during the holidays? Need the latest news and tasting notes for your Christmas party? Remember to follow us on Facebook and Twitter and read our blog!

Check out www.BlameItOnRioja.com for Adrian’s latest blog posts on Rioja.

Become a fan of Rioja Wine on Facebook and follow us on twitter @RiojaWine!


BRAND PROFILE: Bodegas Marqués de Tomares

In each newsletter issue, we’ll profile a Rioja winery, importer or distributor of interest to the wine trade or a restaurant doing an outstanding job with Rioja wines (Please submit articles). In this profile, we take a look at Rioja’s Bodegas Marqués de Tomares.

Bodegas Marqués de Tomares was founded in 1910 by Don Román Montana in the city of Fuenmayor, located in the sub-region of Rioja Alta, just north of Logroño (please see www.vibrantrioja.com/regions.html for maps and more information about the sub-regions). The bodega is still family owned and operated, headed by president and chief oenologist Alejandro Montaña Pores, along with his brother and CEO Oscar Montaña Pores. In essence, the winery is has very modest features, but the wine that is put in those bottles captures the essence and history of Rioja.

Tasting the varietals from the various sub-regions, knowing when to pick, percentages to blend and what oak to use for each bottling is Alejandro’s strength as each vintage varies. The wines are very personal and are truly handcrafted. While using modern vinification techniques, Alejandro and Oscar respect tradition by taking what the vineyard has given them and producing distinct wines with style and integrity. Quality is at the forefront of the bodega. In fact, after aging in barrel for a year, the 2000 Crianza was not deemed good enough to have Crianza put on the label. So, it was declassified and sold on the local market so as not to tarnish the Marqués de Tomares brand. How many other Bodegas would have done the same?

Below, see four different wines and their tasting notes:

DON ROMAN 2006
Dedicated to Roman, the founder of Marqués de Tomares, this wine is aged three months in American oak and a minimum of nine months in bottle. 90% Tempranillo and 10% Graciano yield brilliant violet, black cherry, vanilla and spice coupled with sweet purity of fruit, a modern Rioja of elegance and supple tannins. Average production per year is 9,000 to 11,000 cases per vintage.

MARQUÉS DE TOMARES
Crianza 2005

This is a classic Rioja blend, 90% Tempranillo, 7% Mazuelo and 3% Graciano, which spent twelve months in American and a touch of French oak with a minimum fourteen months in bottle. Always well structured and wound up very tight, but packed with fruit and plenty of spice. The finish is very long and penetrating. Average production per year is 9,000 to 11,000 cases per vintage.

MARQUÉS DE TOMARES
Reserva 2001

This rocks. 85% Tempranillo, 10% Mazuelo and 5% Graciano aged two years in American oak. If you open this, you need to decant it, as there is no other way. The nose and palate are definitely in the middle of Crianza and Gran Reserva. Plenty of fruit, but gaining in maturity. You could smell this wine without taking a single sip and still be satisfied. Average production per year is 5,000 to 6,000 cases per vintage.

MARQUÉS DE TOMARES
GRAN RESERVA

Only produced in the best years. It comes from a field blend on a 2 hectare site with Tempranillo, Mazuelo and Graciano. A majority of the vines on the site are 80-90 years old. The most recent vintages have been: 2001(just being released), 1996, 1995, and 1994. Average production in these vintages has ranged from 500-700 cases.

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.