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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 RETAIL, A NEWSLETTER FOR THE OFF-PREMISE TRADE BROUGHT TO YOU BY VIBRANT RIOJA. We will be presenting news, trends and ideas to help you build your business. We will cover anything in relation to the wine industry and the beverage retail 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.

The World of Wine is Shrinking
The world of wine is shrinking – at least in Europe. Some 73,000 hectares of vineyards are estimated to have been wiped out of the map in 2009. This is due to a new EU compensation scheme to encourage growers to give up uneconomical vineyards. In 2009, there was stagnant production and an overall decrease in demand. In 2010, this compensation scheme will double with a further 55,000 hectares decrease. (Decanter.com, November 27, 2009)

So, what can we do?
The compensation scheme is done to keep the high quality of the wine produced in the Old World. Europe will keep focusing on producing quality wine over volume. Expect the next vintages to produce some fantastic wines. Remember that Rioja is known as The Land of a Thousand Wines. It has more variety than almost any great wine region in the world. You can read more about Rioja and our wines at www.vibrantrioja.com.

Tapping Into the Latin Market

During WineFuture 2009 in Rioja, Mel Dick, of Southern Wines and Spirits, chose to shed light into the Latin market. For him, the Latin population in the US is drinking wine more often and it’s important to adhere to this market. “The key is to advertise and promote to these groups with merchandising material, Spanish-language advertising, POS, signs that speak to them about the various products.” (WineBusiness.com, November 17, 2009)

So, what can we do?
Tailor your POS and advertising material in your store to meet your customers’ needs. Is a good portion of your customers Hispanic? Tailoring some advertising messages and POS materials for them is a great incentive to attract repeat purchases, sell more wine, or attract new customers. Remember that Rioja is the leading Spanish wine-producing region. If you need POS materials, please let us know at newsletter@vibrantrioja.com.

Is There Hope For Premium Wines?
According to Constellation Wines COO, Jay Wright, there has been an upturn in premium wine growth in the past 6-8 weeks. One of the reasons could be the start of the holiday season, when consumers may be more willing to buy more expensive wines. However, as Constellation chief Rob Sands states, we shouldn’t be over-optimistic. Even though this season is a great one for wine and spirits, it may still not be what is typically expected as unemployment still remains high and the economy still remains weak. (Wine & Spirits Daily, November 11, 2009)

So, what else can we do?

Consumers are increasingly looking for high quality wines at a lower price, especially this holiday season. In fact, Rioja wines often beat the best of France and Italy at lower prices. Rioja has more variety than almost any great wine region in the world: seven varietals for reds, six for whites; three climates; four types of terroir; and four aging standards.

Keep in mind that leading U.S. wine players – E&J Gallo, DFV wines and W.J. Deutsch & Sons – decided to include Spanish wines in their portfolio this year because they know that consumers are increasingly discovering and buying Rioja wines.


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.