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Haro Wine Festival Celebration

We love Spain in June. And what wine lover wouldn't? It's time for the Haro Wine Festival, located in the La Rioja region of northern Spain. The celebration takes place on June 29, the day of the patron saint San Pedro. On festival day, a procession takes place in the streets of the town, led by the mayor of Haro on horseback. Following him are citizens of Haro and tourists alike, all dressed in white with red scarfs, carrying jugs, bottles and other types of containers filled with red wine. (Tens of thousands of liters of Rioja wine are used as ammunition!) The procession winds through the town to the cliffs of Bilibio, where a mass is celebrated at the Hermitage of San Felices de Bilibio. After the mass, a free-for-all begins, with everyone tossing wine on each other until all are soaked from head to foot, a true Batalla de Vino (Battle of Wine)! Then everyone returns to town to celebrate at the Plaza de la Paz, followed by bullfights in the town's bullring. (But the bullfights are only for the youth, and the "bulls" are actually just heifers.) The festival also features wine drinking competitions and contests. Soooo, we know you want to go now. Will we see you there next year?

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header Spotlight on Rioja

Rioja BottlesStyles of Rioja: Innovation in Tradition

One of the traits setting Rioja wines apart is that its bodegas age their wines for you. You can be sure when you buy a bottle of Rioja, the aromas and flavors are at their full potential. The wines are aged in oak barrels, and then slumber in the bottle for prescribed times according to their category, thus evolving into peak condition by the time they reach your table.

Depending on the ageing process, Rioja wine is placed in one of four categories, identified by different colored back labels assigned by a strict control board:

  • Cosecha: Young wines with little ageing to maintain a fresh fruitiness.
  • Crianza: Wines with a minimum of one year in cask and a few months in the bottle. For whites, the minimum cask ageing is 6 months.
  • Reserva: Wines from the best vintages with a minimum ageing of 3 years, with at least one year in cask. For whites, the minimum ageing is 2 years, with at least 6 months in cask.
  • Gran Reserva: Wines from exceptional vintages with at least 2 years in casks and 3 years in bottle. For whites, the minimum ageing is 4 years, with at least one in cask.

Made mostly of Tempranillo, Rioja reds are elegant and versatile with balanced, complementary elements. Some bodegas offer a rich variety of styles, including wines of high fruit concentration which aim to express the traits of specific vineyards. With a few exceptions, Rioja whites and rosados are crisp and refreshing, perfect to pair with almost any dish or style of cuisine. For more quick tips on food and wine pairings, visit our website.

header Rioja News

Rioja CorksRioja in The Chicago Tribune!
Bill St. John's "Uncorked" column featured Rioja in The Chicago Tribune! Titled, "Red wines of Rioja, Spain, are the world's best value in aged wine," Bill explains how Rioja wines are set apart from any other wine region of the world, using aging techniques and grape blends. Read the full article...

Chicago Tribune
header Rioja Tastings

Here is just a sampling of our tasting events across the country in June. To view all our upcoming events visit our online calendar.



In-Store Tasting at Potash Brother Market - Chicago

In-Store Tasting at Ray's Wine & Spirits - Milwaukee

In-Store Tasting at Sendiks Market - Franklin



Tapas and Rioja Tasting at Acker Merrall and Condit - New York

Cheese and Rioja Tasting at Schneider's of Capitol Hill - Washington DC

In-Store tasting at Whole Foods at P Street - Washington DC



Spanish Wine Festival featuring Wine from Rioja at B-21 Wine & Spirits - Tarpon Springs

Rioja Wine Tasting at ABC Fine Wine & Spirits - Jacksonville

Paella Cooking seminar and Rioja Wine Tasting at Tim's Wine Market - Sanford

West Coast


Pour and Pintxo at Bar Pintxo – Santa Monica

In-Store Tasting at K&L Wine Merchants - San Francisco

In-Store Tasting at K&L Wine Merchants - Hollywood

header Rioja Across the U.S.

Tyler Field Interview with Tylor Field, III of Morton's/Oceanaire
We recently spoke with Tylor Field, III, divisional VP/Wine and Spirits for Morton's The Steakhouse/ Oceanaire Seafood Room about Rioja wines, wine trends, and trips to Spain. Read the full interview!

Rosado Rosado Virtual Tasting
On June 20, join Snooth Chief Editor Gregory Dal Piaz and Rioja Brand Ambassador Ana Fabiano for a virtual tasting of Rioja Rosados. Tune into at 8:30 p.m. EST for this live event featuring Rioja tips, history, region information, tasting notes and more! Submit your questions via Twitter.

header Special Events

Monterey Wine Fest Rioja at the Monterey Wine Festival
On June 9 in Monterey, CA, stop by the Rioja Rosados table at Monterey Wine Festival to taste some of Rioja's freshest and most succulent Rosados. Sommelier and wine educator Bonnie Graves will be on hand to guide you through the selections including austere and crisp blends as well as juicy monovarietals. For more information visit

Colonial Williamsburg Colonial Williamsburg & Rioja
Visiting Colonial Williamsburg this summer? Enjoy some Rioja wines while you are there! Our "Sip & Savor Summer with Rioja" program runs June 30-July 30, with daily Rioja specials by the glass and bottle at the Williamsburg Inn and Lodge. For details, click here. There will be a kick-off event on June 30 at the Williamsburg Lodge Conference Center: "Sip & Savor at Wine, Wit & Wisdom" – a tasting and book discussion with Ana Fabiano, Rioja Brand Ambassador. Crisp whites, succulent Rosados and modern classic reds will be poured and paired alongside global tapas by Chef Rhys Lewis. (To RSVP for Wine, Wit & Wisdom call 757-229-1000. Seating is limited.) Click here for details.

header Recipe of the Month

Lemon Soup Lemon Soup
This is a classic Greek soup that is rich but refreshingly tart, perfect for summer! The sulpherous undertones in cooked eggs can prove challenging to pair with wines, but rosés are almost always a good bet — this recipe pairs beautifully with a Rioja Rosado. View the recipe!

header Last Sip

As part of our national Rioja advertising campaign, we often offer incentives though our online ads. Congratulations to the latest winner, Ericka J. of Philadelphia, PA, who won an iPad2 through our sweepstakes with SpaWeek. Enjoy!

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