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The Illinois Beverage Guide highlights Rioja

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 BUSINESS, A NEWSLETTER FOR THE 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 business as a whole. Then, we'll bring it straight to you in short, concise bites that are easy to digest and go nicely with a bottle of Rioja, we might add.

Restaurant Industry's Hiring Helping to Revive Economy

Restaurant jobs are traditionally viewed as bellwethers of the state of the economy, and experts note that hiring rates in the food service industry are on the rise. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics documented the addition of 143,000 jobs in U.S. bars and restaurants since the start of 2010. This figure represents a growth rate that is four times the rate of the rest of the economy.
, November 27, 2010

So what can we do?
Be prepared for a the moderate but steady growth in business as consumers begin to eat out more. Make sure your staff encourages repeat customers by offering the highest level of service and by ensuring that your wine list is full of great quality values (we can think of a few) to wow guests during the meal."

Suppliers Expect Normal Holiday Selling Season

Suppliers anticipate a more normal holiday selling season in the alcoholic beverage industry this year, which will likely translate to fewer price-based promotions compared to those utilized in 2009. Consumers are gradually showing renewed interest in pricier, premium wines and spirits.
Dow Jones Newswires, November 2010

So what can we do?
Consumers are still focused on value for the most part. Continue to introduce consumers to the premium segment by offering a variety of quality products at a competitive prices. Since Riojas are already a great value, they are ideal for easing the budget-conscious consumer with a refined palate back into the premium wine sector.

Global Wine Surplus to be Aided by Low Production Levels

In a recent report, from the International Organization for Vine & Wine, the organization projected a 2.5% - 6% decrease in the world's wine output this year. This drop -- which represents the lowest production levels since 2002 -- could have a positive effect on the industry as it is expected to help resolve the recent global wine surplus.
Organization for Vine & Wine, November 2010

So what can we do?
It is uncertain whether or not the decline in production will affect wine prices or stabilize the wine industry. It is certain, however, that you can continue to expect more great value, quality wines from Rioja--one of the few EU regions with a steady production rate.


Rioja made the news in Pennsylvania last month as Vibrant Rioja’s pre-holiday season, in-store promotions and tastings rippled through the state. The Pittsburgh Tribune, Pennsylvania’s second largest daily paper, featured all of the Rioja wine tastings in the region in both their print and online editions.

The Morning Call, a newspaper serving the Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton Metropolitan areas in the state also mentioned Rioja wine tastings in their weekly “Side Dish” food and drinks news.

In the windy city, Restaurant Radio Chicago aired an interview with Sam McDaniel of Whole Foods Market. Sam praised Rioja wines during the interview, remarking that Riojas "have a level of quality at a price point that has never been seen before,” adding that Riojas “go better with food than any other wine region.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves, Sam!


The Illinois Beverage Guide highlighted Rioja last month in the article, “Rioja Grows Export to U.S. Market by 30%,”, noting the specific category growth percentages for Crianzas (32%), Reservas (27%) and Gran Reservas (13%). The article also mentioned sited Vibrant Rioja’s trade program, stating “400 programs are being executed in 2010 including a point of purchase program, virtual retail program and independent account support.”

Vibrant Rioja hosted a special “21st Century Rioja” educational seminar for the trade last month in Boston at top chef Ken Oringer’s restaurant Clio. Attendees tasted a diverse array of six Riojas and enjoyed a delicious selection of cheeses and cured meats provided by Clio.


Ryan Opaz of Catavino (one of our favorite wine blogs) and founder of and of the annual European Wine Bloggers Conference, graciously answered some of our burning questions about social media, working in the wine biz, and of course - blogging. Here are a few excerpts from our interview…

Question: What do you predict the social media and the wine industry landscape will look like in the near future?
Catavino: We see social media becoming more and more accepted as we go forward. In the end, wine has always used social media to sell itself, whether it be a conversation in a bar or a familiar bantering at home. The difference being that now the conversation is online.

Question: Who do you recommend as influential industry leaders in blogs and on Twitter?
Catavino: In a small way, we hope that the European Wine Bloggers Conference has been a positive influence on the industry, but we owe a considerable amount to people like: Rick Bakas, Gary Vee, and in truth, people who have nothing to do with wine... As for bloggers, this is more complicated on an international level. Bloggers tend to be more influential on a local level, which is also true with influencers on Twitter. Though if we had to pick we think some of the most interesting people on twitter come from the British wine writing scene, led by Jancis Robinson and Tim Atkin; while winemakers like Randall Graham are showing the power of the electronic written word.

Question: What do you consider to be the most satisfying part of working in wine biz?
Catavino: Educating people and sharing experiences... I suppose the key attraction for us is how wine helps to lubricate conversations and build relationships.

Question: What advice do you have for wine store and restaurant owners who are just starting up?
Catavino: Talk to your customers…If you have a store or restaurant, and are not using social tools to connect and inform your customer base, you're losing out on an invaluable set of free tools to increase sales.

Thank you to Ryan and Gabriella Opaz! Hear more from our friends at Catavino online at

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.