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Rioja wines plan to boost premium sales as value soars 10% in UK

Published:  03 February, 2015

Rioja wines soared 10% by value in the UK in 2014, and the region now plans to boost its premium position with campaigns targeting the on-trade and independent sector.

Wines from Rioja will base its marketing around a consumer campaign the Summer of Tapas Fantasticas as well as a trade focus in the autumn when it runs Rioja month.

The past 12 months saw Rioja grow its value by 10% over 2014 (Nielsen MAT to December 6, 2014), and is now worth £220 million - around 4% of the total UK market.

Rioja Tapas Fantasticas Wines from Rioja's Tapas Fantasticas event will take to the road in 2015The event, which has taken place on London's South Bank for the past seven years, will tour UK food festivals this summer.

Tapas Fantasticas London event has welcomed 80,000 consumers over the last six years, and this year it will escape the capital to take the concept on a tour of the UK - visiting food festivals around the country. Wines from Rioja is also planning to bring back the Taste Tapas Fantasticas promotion to boost restaurant by the glass sales as well as hosting masterclasses and tastings with retailers. It will also launch a series of online cookery videos with celebrities over the summer months.

Rioja Month will be launched to the trade in the autumn, with the highlight of this year's activity Rioja Recognises, in which some of the region's top supporters will be recognised for their contributions to the category. The new event will tie in with the annual Wines from Rioja Trade Tasting which brings together around 100 Rioja wineries.

Focusing on independent merchants - last autumn more than 100 retailers took part in the regions autumn promotion and boosted Rioja sales to the tune of 247% in October - the body is planning yet more events for 2015. It is offering a trip to the region, series of in-store events and the return of the Shop Rioja promotion.

  • The UK is Rioja's largest export market, accounting for 34% of exports, with volumes up 5.9% versus the overall trade which saw volumes fall 3%, with Spain particularly hard hit, dropping 10.7%, according to Nielsen statistics.
  • Rioja makes up 34% of the UK's Spanish wine sales by volume (up 17.2% YOY) and 44% of Spanish value (up 17.4% YOY)
  • Rioja's average price is £6.10 per bottle, versus the market average £5.48, or £5 for a Spanish bottle

Ricardo Aguiriano, marketing director at the Consejo Regulador DOCa Rioja said: "As the largest importer of Rioja wines, the UK is extremely important to the Rioja region and the strong UK marketing campaign reflects this importance. Our challenge is to maintain Rioja's premium position, adding value to the Rioja brand with standout activity to engage consumers and continue the trend for growth, and we see the on-trade and independent retail sector as vital to achieving that goal."