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Wine Enthusiast's 2010 Wine Star Award Winners Announced

Can’t get enough Rioja? Not satisfied with just having a glass – or two, or three – a day? Want to keep the conversation going at all times? Then Facebook and Tweet us and help us keep the conversation going! Do you have any questions about the region? Want to know what the best vintages are? Just want to share your stories with the rest of Riojaphiles out there? Make sure you Like us on Facebook and talk to us on Twitter @RiojaWine.

ABOUT VIBRANT RIOJA 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 TRADE BROUGHT TO YOU BY VIBRANT RIOJA. We will be presenting news, trends and ideas to help you build your business. We will cover anything in relation to the wine industry and the beverage retail business as a whole. Then, we’ll bring it straight to you in short, concise bites that are aimed to help.

Wine Enthusiast's 2010 Wine Star Award Winners Announced

Congratulations to the Wine Star Award recipients of 2010!
• Lifetime Achievement Award: Baron Eric de Rothschild, Château Lafite-Rothschild
• Man of the Year: Bill Foley, Foley Family Wines
• Winemaker of the Year: Genevieve Janssens, Robert Mondavi Winery
• Retailer of the Year: Sherry-Lehmann Wine & Spirits, Chris Adams
• Restaurateur of the Year: Tyler Florence
• American Winery of the Year: J. Lohr Winery, Jerry Lohr
• European Winery of the Year: Sogrape Vinhos, Salvador Guedes
• New World Winery of the Year: Bodega Catena Zapata, Nicolas Catena
• Wine Region of the Year: Rhône, France
• Distiller of the Year: Cooper Spirits for St. Germain, Robert Cooper
• Innovator of the Year: Alain Juppé, Mayor of Bordeaux, France
• Importer of the Year: TGIC Importers, Alex Guarachi
Awards will be presented at a dinner hosted in the beautiful New York Public Library on January 24, 2011. We raise our glass to toast these notable figures in the wine and spirits industry!

Marketing Can Help Businesses Remain Strong in a Weak Economy

A recent study of U.S. recessions from McGraw-Hill Research's Laboratory of Advertising Performance reveals the value of having consistent or increased marketing expenditures during a recession. Researchers noticed considerably higher sales increases during and shortly after past recessions (such as 1981-1982) for businesses that maintained or increased their marketing budget., October 2010

So what can we do?
Keep the public aware of your business and remain a strong presence within your target group. Let the community know what your restaurant has to offer, such as the Rioja wines you serve or the specials you have. Utilize social networks to nurture your relationships and to create new ones. The return on investment may not be immediate or even obvious, but research shows that spending on marketing now, when consumers are watching their wallets, can pay off later.

Zagat Surveys Reveals Diners Still Cutting Back on Alcohol

Zagat's 2011 America's Top Restaurants guide shows that diners continues to eat out less during the week than they did before the recession, but only by a small margin (3.1 times per week compared with 3.3). 17% of surveyors say they are cutting back on alcohol. Yet, consumers average meal spending rose 2.2% in the past year to $35.37.

So what can we do?
Keep offering diners good food and quality drinks at a great price. You know you can count on a Rioja wine to match your business's commitment to taste and value.


As you're stocking up your restaurants with great wines that your customers will love for their holiday celebrations, it's a great time to think about the most food-friendly wines in the world from Rioja!

Jack Robertiello's feature article in Beverage Media entitled "Rioja Rising: with younger wines joining legendary aged reds, Rioja looks to cover all the bases" tells the tale of retailers and restauranteurs around the country turning to Rioja for value and food pairability. Wine stores like Orange County, California's Hi-Time Wine Cellars mega-store is up to 75 Rioja SKUs because, as explained by Wine Buyer Patty Quick "the consumer is realizing these days that there is great quality to price ratio in Rioja at every price point from $5 to $150."

Dominating about 20% of her Spanish wine list, Jill Zimorski, Beverage Director of Jose Andres' Think Food Group thinks the region has "done a really good job marketing and exporting their wines… and whether by chance of sheer likability, Rioja wines are certainly the most well-known." Check out the September issue of Beverage Media for more on "Rioja Rising."


As noted in the September Beverage Media, "from January to April this year, Crianzas were up an astonishing 75.9% with Reservas up 3.6% and Gran Reservas up 14%. Overall, Rioja grew 42.9% in the first part of the year."


Vibrant Rioja sponsored the 2010 Women Chefs & Restauranteurs Conference in Pasadena, California. The two-day culinary convention brought together top women of the culinary world to explore seeking balance in their professional and personal lives while excelling in the kitchen.

Led by wine educator and founder of Women & Wine, Julie Brosterman, the Vibrant Rioja campaign hosted a wine and cheese pairing seminar entitled 'Rioja Tempranillo: Finding Balance in Flavor,' showcased more than 70 of the world's most influential and innovative chefs, pastry chefs, food influential and journalists presenting the latest techniques and culinary concepts to their peers. The lucky guests got to sample a range of wines throughout the event, which highlighted the great value of Rioja wines at every price point.

Hosted by wine educator and founder of Women & Wine, Julie Brosterman, the Vibrant Rioja campaign hosted a wine and cheese pairing seminar entitled 'Rioja Tempranillo: Finding Balance in Flavor,' showcased more than 70 of the world's most influential and innovative chefs, pastry chefs, mixologists and sommeliers presenting the latest techniques and culinary concepts to their peers. The lucky guests got to sample 20 different Rioja wines throughout the event. These wines highlighted the great value of Rioja wines with their highly-desired price-points.

Rioja came out on top at the 6th annual 'Tempranillos al Mundo' competition held in La Rioja November 5-8. Four out of the top five wines to receive the coveted gold medal hailed from Rioja, including Marques de Caceres Gaudium 2004, Viñedos del Contino Viña del Olivo 2007, Bodegas Luis Cañas Hiru 3 Racimos 2007 and Bodegas Amaren Amaren Tempranillo 2004. Tempranillos al Mundo is an international competition created by the Spanish Federation of Oenologist Associations (FEAE) to promote the production of quality Tempranillo wines in Spain and around the world.

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!

How can Rioja help?
Whatever your area of food service, your wine program can be easier and more productive by working with Vibrant Rioja’s Food & Wine Partnering Program. Why?

  • Rioja wines are made with the Tempranillo varietal, which many chefs in the world believe is the best and most flexible food pairing varietal in the world.
  • Rioja wines are not released until ready to drink, so you won’t have to hold the bottle in your inventory for long. We help you turn your wine purchases into cash faster than the competition
  • The distinct price points and clear classification make them ideal for different positions on the wine list
  • When offered by the glass, Riojas can be priced to fit any budget or catering program
  • Rioja is a region equivalent with quality and prestige.  The name Rioja indicates quality your customer can “trust”.
  • Rioja CRIANZAS are one of the greatest wine values in the world.  They offer competitive pricing and complexity that other young wines just can’t compete with.

What can Vibrant Rioja offer?

  • 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.