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APRIL 2010

Save the date!

Vibrant Rioja upcoming events:

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

May 13-27Rioja Restaurant Week in New York City and Chicago

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.

2nd Annual U.S. Rioja Grand Tasting
Following the success of last year’s inaugural events in NYC, the Vibrant Rioja campaign is proud to introduce the 2nd annual U.S. Rioja Grand Tasting events to New York and Chicago in 2010. Due to the challenging economic climate and the campaign’s increased focus on the wine trade, this tasting holds particular importance for elevating the profile of the region and facilitating sales opportunities. Top importers, exporters, buyers, press and trade influentials will be in attendance with the goal of showcasing the very best Rioja has to offer.

In an effort to create another unique and memorable tasting experience for attendees, the theme of this year’s events will concentrate on the timely and important concept of value at all price points.

Chicago Walk-Around Tasting
Tuesday, May 4, 1-4 pm
The Ivy Room at Tree Studios
12 East Ohio Street

NYC Grand Tasting
Thursday, May 6, 1-5 pm
The Puck Building
295 Lafayette Street (at Houston)
New York

Rioja & The New York Times
This week, The New York Times published an article on its Dining & Wine section detailing the great taste and value Rioja crianzas have to offer. Eric Asimov, accompanied with the wine panel, tasted twenty different Rioja crianzas to find out why they’re one of the world’s great wine values. What they found were usually two major styles with crianzas: lighter, silkier and elegant or denser, darker, heavier and more powerful. Regardless of their preference, everyone agreed that “what’s important is to understand that no other category of Spanish red wine is as consistently satisfying and as good a value as Rioja crianza.”
You can read the full article here.

Rioja Restaurant Week Coming Back to New York and Chicago

Rioja Restaurant Week is coming back to New York and Chicago! From May 13 – 27, you can experience some of these cities best restaurants featuring some of the best wines in the world. Promotions include prix-fixe lunches and dinners with a glass of Rioja.

If you’re an interested restaurant, please contact for more information. You’ll receive advertising support, staff training, marketing support, and much, much more. This is a great way to increase awareness and drive traffic but you must contact us before Friday, April 9. Be advised that this year we have limited availability.

Rioja – Committed To Its Key Markets
A note from Victor Pascual, President of the Rioja Wine region:

The decision to maintain the current level of investments in promoting the Rioja brand in its key markets in 2010 is backed by the majority of the wine sector’s associations. This is clearly an example of the degree of maturity attained by our Wine Region and the future vision of our growers and winemakers, which has taken us to the leading position we occupy today in international viniculture. Although maintaining the current level of promotional investment will require a major sacrifice under the current financial crisis and drop in consumption, it is precisely during difficult times when we have to make even greater efforts to maintain our position and be in the best possible situation once the crisis has been overcome. As president of the Wine Region, I have to thank you all for your contribution to the development and strengthening of our Rioja brand, that will surely result in the mid- and long-term consolidation of the vitivinicultural wealth of our region.

You can see more information and specifics of the individual programs in key markets here.

@RiojaWine Twitter Surpasses 1000!
This is an exciting and proud moment for us Rioja wine lovers; we finally surpassed our goal of 1000 twitter followers, and it’s all because of you! Your wonderful support has made the Rioja word spread at high speed, and soon enough we will surpass yet another goal. We are all about using social media tools in order to create interaction and involvement and so far, we have gotten some great feedback from everyone, this keeps us working hard. Your following allows us to update you with the latest news and information on Rioja and every time the word spreads it encourages us to work even harder, so keep up the great work and stay tuned for more Rioja coming your way!

Beverage Service Tips
When it comes to saving some extra cash, there are plenty of ways to do so with just your beverage service. Here are some highlights of some great money saving ideas from

1) Shop for closeouts- Check your distributors listings weekly for wine closeouts and end-of-vintage opportunities, this is a great time to score discounts, so frequently check and keep up to date with your distributors offerings.

2) Sell half glasses- By selling half glasses you will increase the check by $4, $5, or $6, and also give your customers a better dining experience. By offering half glasses you are helping customers who cant make up their mind for the bottom part.

3) Weigh your cases- Monitor your back bottles for theft on a weekly basis. Instead of looking at liquor levels, weigh the bottles and their contents instead, it’s more accurate. Also, test to see that your liquor hasn’t been watered down.

4) Chill your reds- if your wine storage isn’t temperature controlled, chill down the reds before service and you’ll sell more and provide a better customer experience.

( March 18, 2010)

So, what else can we do?
Restaurants can really make a difference in the bottom line and in customer satisfaction through their beverage service. Having a knowledgeable staff and a variety of wines can do wonders for your clients – so why not expand your list to include more Riojas? Rioja offers tremendous variety at all price-points, including perfect by-the-glass wines. If you need help building your wine list or educating your staff, contact us at

The New Approach to Seafood and Wine Pairings
There is no right or wrong anymore when it comes to pairing seafood and wine, those days are long gone. Some of the best seafood restaurants in America all agree that there are no new rules and these days what really matters is the preparation of the fish and the accoutrements served with it. The way the fish is prepared determines the wine that matches it best, according to David LeFevre, executive chef at Water Grill in Los Angeles; “Fish is versatile. In the past, back in the day, it was mostly poached, steamed, broiled or sautéed. Now there’s a lot of grilling, confiting, braising, glazing with soy. A wine is often best chosen based on the technique used to cook the fish.” For many, this can be a challenge, “take the fish by itself, and a lot of people will say white. But consider the whole package, the accoutrements, the vegetables, and it could pull toward red.”
(Food Arts Magazine, March 2010)

So, what else can we do?
As customers continue to explore new food and wine pairings, it’s important to be responsive and attentive to your customers. There are a myriad of Rioja reds and whites that pair perfectly with any kind of food. We can help you with your food and wine pairings by emailing us at or by visiting our Food & Wine Pairings section on


Yerba Buena presents an innovative take on Latin Cuisine by the hands of executive chef Juan Media and owner Giovanny Campos with two locations New York City – one in the Lower East Side and one Perry Street. On Sundays, the Perry Street location offers the most amazing brunch we have heard:

Those who eschew sweet offerings for savory dishes and booze will be pleased with this supper special: $50 for three savory courses, each paired with half a glass of Rioja.

For starters, choose from a ceviche of flounder and yellow tuna paired with a garnacha-viura-tempranillo blend, or hamachi taquitos paired with a viura-malvasia blend.

The second course is an option of empanadas with corn and manchego, paired with a Tempranillo, or arepas filled with coffee-glazed pork belly and cabbage, complemented by a different Tempranillo.

And mains include the signature lechón with another blend, boozy shrimp with hearts of palm paired with a Tempranillo, or duck ropa vieja accompanied by a vintage Tempranillo peludo.

And why Riojas? Manager and sommelier Fabian Huerfano says, "Wines from Rioja, in my opinion, are some of the best wines for pairing with food from South America. Latin food has so much flavor, and the diverse styles of wines from Rioja are a perfect match."

For more information or for reservations, please visit or call them at 212.529.2919

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.