Winemakers Hoping for High-End Turnaround

Wine Store

Optimism and economic uncertainty were the major themes among winemakers at the recent Wine Industry Financial Symposium held in Napa, according to The Press Democrat, Santa Rose, California. While many wine drinkers switched from luxury wines to lower-priced wines during the recession, wine industry executives are now hopeful that this trend is shifting with consumer preference moving towards higher-priced wines. Executives, however, are skeptical due to the still sluggish economy and a changing retail marketplace.

"While certain economic aspects have improved, we're still operating against a background of uncertainty," said Danny Brager, vice president of The Nielsen Company, which tracks consumer spending trends.

“Wineries and retailers are raising prices in the vast majority of wine categories, but at the same time, promotion levels remain high,” Brager said. According to Nielsen data, discounting continues in wines priced from $9 to $12 a bottle, and among those priced over $20 a bottle. Brager further explained that consumers are still dealing with slow housing and job markets, and inflating grocery prices, and while wine sales in restaurants and bars are growing, the pace of growth softened in the second quarter of 2012, in part because of rising gas prices.

Meanwhile, more retailers are entering the wine business, such as chain pharmacies and grocery stores. Today, wine is sold at 172,000 retail outlets in the U.S, according to Nielsen data. With varied purchasing options in the marketplace, vying for shelf space and holding the attention of consumers, we are likely to see increased competition among wines and retailers.

Love Rioja?
like on facebook
follow on twitter
join the conversation

header Rioja in the News

Wine Spectator Cover “Revolution in Rioja” Feature in Wine Spectator

Check out the Rioja cover story, “Revolution in Rioja,” in Wine Spectator’s October Spain issue! Tom Matthews and Mitch Frank honored the region with a 20+ page cover story dedicated to Rioja’s wines, winemakers and tourist attractions. Over 200 Riojas were tasted for the article and 33 wineries were featured! The beautiful opening statement says it all:

Rioja has a glorious past. Propelled by a wave of innovation and investment in the late 19th century, a wine style merged that is now called traditional, producing supple, elegant reds with delicate flavors of dried fruits, tobacco and spices…..Now a third wave rejects both schools, embracing an approach rooted even deeper in Rioja’s history, to make fresher wines with bright fruit and racy acidity. All of these philosophies can produce brilliant wines. Each vintner claims to be the true heir to the authentic spirit of Rioja, but only one thing is certain: Their efforts, and their struggles, are redefining the identity for Spain’s most prestigious red-wine region.

Stop by your local newsstand to pick up the issue, or read the four articles here:

Rioja's Revolutionary Moment
Leading Producers
Visiting Rioja
Spain's Allure

header Campaign News

Julian Mayor Interview with Sommelier Julian Mayor

Throughout the year, we will be featuring interviews with some of the wonderful sommeliers we have the opportunity to work with throughout the country. This month, we spoke with Julian Mayor, the sommelier at Bourbon Steak in Washington, D.C.:

What is an interesting fact about your wine program?

While we have everything you would expect from a Michael Mina Steakhouse in a Four Seasons Hotel (cult Cali cabs, first growth Bordeaux, etc.), be sure to check out the "Secrets of the Sommelier" section on our wine list, where you will find excellent wines from up and coming regions and smaller producers, all great values.

What was the inspiration for your wine career?

I was originally a foreign policy researcher, which is what brought me to D.C. Having to organize events around dinners got me started down the path of hospitality. Little by little, I read about food and wine in order to be better prepared for these events. After a while, I realized that's what I liked best about the job. Government and restaurants are both very diplomatic fields. The wine world is always changing, encompasses a vast portion of the globe and cuts across many cultures, so it is constantly exciting and interesting.

What is your most memorable wine moment and what did you drink?

That's a tough one. There are two wine moments I'll never forget. One is the first wine I ever tasted, which was Blue Nun. We never really drank wine at home, but I remember my mother bringing out the good china for a special meal and cracking a bottle of Blue Nun. I thought it was such a big deal and I'm sure I liked it. The second moment happened about 12 years ago, when I was first getting into wine (in my government life). I would pick up a bottle of wine almost every day on the way home from work, in order to try something new and get more used to it. One night I poured some very inexpensive California Sauvignon Blanc into a glass, stuck my nose in it and said ... "Grapefruit!!!" It was the first time that I could honestly say "now, I get it."

At an everyday restaurant with a very simple selection of wines, what is the best option?

I default to Languedoc and Spain for reds, Loire Valley for whites. All three regions provide a vast variety of wine styles/types at good prices.

Is it okay to order the least expensive wine on a list?

I am absolutely 100% sure that it is okay.

What makes a great wine list?

Variety, above all else. Variety of styles, while staying true to the vision of the restaurant. For example, you can certainly have a wine list that is all French, or all Italian or Spanish, but you can even go further than that. You could have a wine list that is all Rioja, or Tuscany, or California. What makes a list like that special is that these regions provide many different types of wines in all price points, that can pair and match with a varied menu.

Are there any new trends in the drinks industry that you are seeing?

Yes, cocktails are huge! Cocktail programs are taking restaurants by storm. And I think this is a good thing for wine. With customers willing to experiment with so many different cocktails, they're also willing to experiment with wines ... if those wines are made available for experimenting. In other words, extensive/varied by the glass programs, or smaller pours are appreciated and preferred by a growing number of customers who, while they are very turned on and drawn to restaurants for their cocktails, are also willing to experiment and try different wines and other drinks.

header Rioja Trade Events
Marnie Old

The Heart of Tempranillo Seminar with Marnie Old in PA

On October 9, please join the trade association of Vibrant Rioja, Spain, and its Trade Director Ana Fabiano for a private seminar and tasting of Tempranillo at its finest. Led by renowned sommelier and author Marnie Old, discover the queen of Rioja wine grapes and taste every facet of a varietal with endless possibilities. Explore Tempranillo’s boundless versatility with diverse foods in an eye-opening tutorial with one of the country’s leading pairing experts.

Monterey Bay Fish Grotto
1411 Grandview Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15211
Please RSVP by Thursday, October 4 via email to


Vic and Anthony's Steakhouse

Celebrate Wine, Tapas & Art with Vic & Anthony's Steakhouse & Vibrant Rioja in NYC!

On Thursday, October 11 and Friday October, 12, enjoy an evening of wine, tapas and art at Vic & Anthony's Steakhouse in NYC. Both nights feature a meet & greet with Riojan painter Luis Burgos and Wines of Rioja author Ana Fabiano. Taste through a spectrum of 20+ wines with winery representatives paired alongside tapas by Chef Carlos Rodriguez.

5-8 pm
233 Park Avenue South
$75 per evening plus tax & gratuity
$120 for both evenings, plus tax & gratuity
For tickets please call Eric at 212.220.9200 or email


To view all our upcoming events around the country, click here.

header Rioja Supports Retail
In Store

Interested in creating a rich Rioja program to offer the clientele at your store, restaurant or bar? Vibrant Rioja can generate a customized, results-driven package for your business.

Please contact for further information.

footer graphic
This email was sent to [email]. You can instantly unsubscribe from these emails or you can forward it to a friend. If you are having trouble reading this email, view it in your browser.