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MARCH 2010

Save the date!

Vibrant Rioja upcoming events:

March 14 Midwest Wine Expo presented by Binny’s Beverage Depot, Chicago (Consumer Event)

March 23Rioja Kick-Off Tasting at MK Restaurant, Chicago (11:30 – 3:30 pm)

March 30Rioja Tasting at Restaurant Hearth in New York (10 pm – 12 am)

April 8Spa Week in New York at Prince George Ballroom (5:30 – 9 pm)

April 22-24CIA Flavor Summit

May 4-6Rioja Grand Tasting – The Vibrant Rioja Campaign is pleased to announce the Second Annual Rioja Grand Tasting events that will take place in Chicago and New York

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:

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.

Vibrant Rioja launches Integrated Retail Program
In a move that signifies a growing commitment to the U.S. marketplace, the Vibrant Rioja marketing campaign announced today the launch of a multi-million dollar trade program to support national sales at all levels.

“Twenty years ago, less than twenty bodegas imported Rioja wines to the U.S.,” said Ana Fabiano, Trade Director of the Vibrant Rioja campaign. “But today, Rioja is one of the most identifiable brands of Spain, with more than 100 distribution channels nationwide. We’re as synonymous with the country as flamenco dancing and bullfighting.” Fabiano continues, “As a category, Rioja delivers unparalleled quality the trade and consumer can trust. The diversity in today’s Rioja – in style and price – is astounding. "

Despite current economic trends, this program will enhance the region’s dedication to the U.S. domestic market and provide valuable support to existing and prospective importers and distributors of DOCa Rioja bodegas and their wines.

Over 400 integrated programs make up the 2010 trade strategy, including a point of purchase program, virtual retail program and independent account support. Additionally, momentum continues with successfully integrated retail programs piloted in 2009 that helped create over 20% increase in sales.

You can download the entire press release.

Rioja attains sales of 236 million litres in 2009, bettering expectations
According to Control Board statistics, Rioja sales in 2009 amounted to 236 million litres, of which 211M were red wine (90%), 14.5M white wine and 10.5M rosé. Sales on the domestic market reached 163.6 million litres (70%), while exports to international markets totalled sales of 72.4 million litres (30%). Rioja is the clear leader among Spanish wine regions in both markets, with a market share of over 40% of total sales of premium wines.

There is no doubt that the quality and sustained growth model encouraged by the Rioja Designation of Origin —whose prime goals are to strengthen its aged wines in the premium wine segment and increase its presence on international markets— is allowing the region to face the current situation from a better position than its competitors. To achieve this, one of the competitive advantages for the Region is its strong position in different market segments. The diversity of wines currently offered by Rioja and its superb ability to innovate have led the wineries to adapt their products to market demands, evolving in tune with consumer trends. This has allowed the D.O. Ca. Rioja to successfully cater to drinking trends towards better quality wines within a context of receding demand.

Don’t forget about the drinks

In order to compensate during tough economic times, many restaurants have taken their focus off of beverage and shifted their attention elsewhere. According to David Henkes, V.P and director of on-premise practice at Technomics, this would be a huge mistake, as “Beverage still [carries] a huge and in some ways disproportionate share of a restaurant’s profitability.” Instead, try refocusing your beverage strategy, which can help you generate more profit. Restaurant Business magazine gives us a few – but remember, as with everything else, you have to make sure that the strategy fits your business model:
1. Sell half bottles for half of the full bottle price. You can then sell the remainder to other customers by the glass and charge for a quarter of the bottle price.
2. Explore new territories for variety and value. By adding more esoteric labels to your list, you can still mark up the value profitably and also add an intriguing factor to your diners.
3. Have a unique beverage program in order to give customers a source of differentiation and satisfaction during their dining experience. Since many customers aren’t going to restaurant’s for the beverage program, having a unique selection can change their minds and keep them coming back. (Restaurant Business Magazine, February 2010 issue)

So, what can we do?
As customers continue to realize that value comes at all price-points, restaurants should make note and be proactive. Offering more wines by the glass at different price-points will not only increase foot-traffic and volume, but also give your customers more choices. And try adding more Rioja wines to your by the glass and regular wine list. Rioja offers an incredible variety of wines that are sure to please all your customers.

The Value of Service Training
As we get through this recession, customers are increasingly looking for a dining experience. Value-added services in your locations can ensure a higher customer satisfaction and repeat visits. One way to provide a unique experience to your customer base is by training your servers on the wines offered. How to properly open a bottle, how to decant and pour wines, how to serve a second bottle, what are the grape varieties, and food pairing are just some of the training options that can add value to any visit. According to Wendy Caron, a Cornell-trained sommelier and former wine director for Gastronomy Inc., “Servers who’ve gone through [training] have told me they’re now more comfortable selling bottles of wine instead of just glasses because they’re not afraid to open and pour it at the table. Some have said they’re getting repeat customers who trust their wine suggestions.” (Restaurant Business Magazine, February 2010 issue)

So, what else can we do?

Train your servers on the wines you offer. Suggesting wines based on food-pairings is a great way to communicate with your customers and keep them engaged. It will also enhance the overall dining experience, resulting in repeat customers! For tips on Rioja and food-pairing, visit the Food & Wine Pairings section on

Restaurant Profits on the Rise
Despite the weak economy, high-end fast food, and casual sit-down chains have been performing strongly during these recent weeks. According to a new RBC Capital Markets survey, “restaurant consumer sentiment is the best since before the recession.” As consumer debt is decreasing and Americans appear far more willing to eat out as compared to a year ago, it can be assumed that the trend will continue especially with better finances. (Investors Business Daily, 2.11.2010)

So, what else can we do?
This is great news for restaurants, as more and more consumers are starting to gain a little more trust in this economy. Keep your customers coming back for more with Rioja! The blend of the old world with the new is sure to make your customers happy. Explain to them how the complex, balanced, fruity and acidic wines of Rioja match perfectly with dinners.

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 ( for more information and guidelines. We look forward to hearing from you!


• 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.