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VOLUME 2, ISSUE 6
SEPTEMBER 2010


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Stories on Rioja: San Mateo Wine Festival

Can’t get enough Rioja? Not satisfied with just having a glass – or two, or three – a day? Want to keep the conversation going at all times? Then Facebook and Tweet us and help us keep the conversation going! Do you have any questions about the region? Want to know what the best vintages are? Just want to share your stories with the rest of Riojaphiles out there? Make sure you Like us on Facebook and talk to us on Twitter @RiojaWine.

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.

Rioja on Wine Spectator: High Quality, Versatility and Value
In today’s economic times, consumers are looking for the perfect mix of quality and value. And in Octobers’ issue of Wine Spectator, Thomas Matthews describes how few regions in the world offer high quality and value like Rioja. In fact, on the annual tasting report on Spanish wines, 33 of the 130 Riojas tasted rated an outstanding 90 points or higher. And in the value category – priced at $15 or less – 26 Riojas rated 85 points or higher. You can find the entire list here.

So, what can we do?
For a while now, we’ve been recommending establishing a connection with your customers through stories and facts. Recommending Rioja wines while telling a story or fact about them creates an emotional bond between the buyer and the wine. The article on Wine Spectator reinforces what we’ve been saying about Rioja – value and quality. Make sure you recommend the Riojas that appear on this Wine Spectators’ issue and know that your customers will be satisfied.

Wines by the Glass
More and more, restaurants are increasing their selection of wines by the glass for many reasons. Some customers just don’t want to spend the money on an entire bottle of wine. Others, according to Michelle Locke, are more interested in adventure – trying different wines without having to buy a bottle. That way, they are able to sample many wines without having to commit. (Associated Press, July 2010)

So, what can we do?
Expanding your selection of wines by the glass can have an immediate impact on your business. You can increase foot traffic for those customers that just want a glass of wine or two and don’t necessarily want an entire meal. In addition, you will attract the adventurous kind who wants to try new and exciting wines. And your margins will be much better too – especially if you use Rioja wines. As you can see from the Wine Spectator article we mention above, Rioja offers some of the best quality and value wines out there, a lot of them for $15 or less retail.

Gen Y Cutting Back on Dining Out
It’s no secret that Gen-Yers are extremely important to the restaurant business. Amid high unemployment, young adults are cutting back significantly on dining out. This is according to new research to the NPD Group in a two-year period between May 2008 and May 2010. More discouraging, Gen-Yers are having more trouble finding jobs than the rest of the country, with unemployment at 19.5% vs. 9.5% of the rest of the workforce. (www.nrn.com. August 2010)

So, what can we do?
In tough economic times, consumer loyalty becomes key in business. Keep talking to your customers and maintain the conversation going. Offering deals such as wines by the glass or other promotions is sure to keep them coming back. And offer them more bang for their buck! There’s no better way to do this than by offering a wider selection of Rioja wines.

A Healthy Dose of Alcohol
Is any amount of alcohol good for you? This issue is asked every five years in the United States dietary guidelines. Since the Dietary Guidelines for Americans in 1990 declared that alcohol has “no net health benefit… Their consumption is not recommended,” various studies have been done to determine the long-term effects of alcohol consumption. In 2010, according to experts charged with creating the alcohol section, “the lowest mortality risk for men and women [occurs] at the average level of one to two drinks per day” and that “moderate evidence suggests that compared to non drinkers, individuals who drink moderately have a slower cognitive decline with age.” (latimes.com, July 2010)

So, what can we do?
This is a great story to share with your customer base to keep building your relationship with them. These sort of stories are not only funny and interesting anecdotes, but also encourage people to purchase more. And while you’re telling them about the health benefits of moderate alcohol consumption, try recommending a Rioja or two. And don’t forget to explain the different classifications for Rioja! You can find them in the Wine Types section of the Vibrant Rioja website.


Stories on Rioja: San Mateo Wine Festival

If you are a lover of food and wine, the festival of San Mateo (Saint Matthew) held in Logroño, the capital of La Rioja, is an experience you will not want to miss. The week of festivities includes parades, food tastings, bullfighting, concerts, theatre, street music and fireworks. September 21st marks the official gastronomic celebration of San Mateo, and the city’s main fountain flows red as the wine harvest begins. Also on September 21st in the emblematic plaza of Logroño,“El Espolón”, two men in traditional dress tread the grapes, barefoot and linking arms, until the first juice of the harvest is collected in a jug. This is offered to the Virgin of Valvanera, the patron saint of La Rioja.




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.