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Vibrant Rioja Searches for the First “Pour Genius” Behind the Bar

03 August

Spain’s most famous wine region kicks off bartender competition to increase Rioja’s by-the-glass presence

New York (July 22, 2011): Vibrant Rioja announced today its first-ever nationwide competition for bartenders and bar staff. Owing to the trend in favor of small plates, bar menus and by-the-glass specials over lengthy sit-down dinners and expensive wine lists, Vibrant Rioja’s “Pour Genius Bartender Competition” acknowledges diners’ increasing dependence on bar staff for wine recommendations. With entries accepted until October 3, 2011, the grand prize is a five-day, all expenses paid visit to Rioja, Spain’s most famous wine region.

Created by Vibrant Rioja and co-authored by the beverage consulting team Tippling Brothers, “Pour Genius” is the first of its kind for an international wine-producing region in the U.S. The competition is open to any on-premise employee who works in a venue offering Rioja by the glass or bottle. Complete entry details are available at


“Over the past few years, we have monitored the growth of the bar business and the evolution of U.S. wine consumption. In today’s market, there is a great opportunity for Rioja at the bar,” said Ana Fabiano, Trade Director for Vibrant Rioja. “This program is designed to address the bartender community and provide them with the perfect wines to enjoy solo or paired with bar bites.”

Judged by a panel of acclaimed wine and mixology professionals, submissions will be evaluated based on innovation, balance and an effective integration of Rioja wine. Vibrant Rioja will ask twenty semi-finalists to partake in a timed exam via email that will test their Rioja knowledge. Final round participants must submit an essay detailing the inspiration for their submission.


In September, Vibrant Rioja will host a three-city seminar and tasting tour in Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. led by Paul Tanguay and Tad Carducci, co-proprietors of the Tippling Brothers. The Tippling Brothers produced the Rioja Bartender’s Guide (, to further demystify the world of wine to the bartending community.


"We are thrilled to work with the wines of this distinguished wine producing region,” said Paul Tanguay of Tippling Brothers. “We hope to "reintroduce" the wines of Rioja to mixologists and bartenders, making it their go-to when they want to recommend a food-friendly wine of incredible value"

The Rioja Pour Genius program is designed to showcase the versatility of Rioja as a by-the-glass option, and immerse the bartending community in the tradition and history of the DOCa Rioja wine region. The grand prize winner will receive a five-day visit to the Rioja region during spring of 2012. The second and third place winners will receive a restaurant gift certificate for $600 and a Rioja wine gift basket valued at $250, respectively.

About Rioja

Located in north central Spain, Rioja is considered one of the greatest red wine regions of the world. Rioja reds are blended predominantly with the indigenous Tempranillo grape from one of the region’s three subzones— Rioja Alta, Rioja Baja, and Rioja Alavesa. The DOCa of Rioja administers highly sophisticated and stringent quality control in the winemaking process, from viniculture to bottling. More than 200 brands from Rioja are available for purchase in the U.S. For more information, please visit