Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

Hallgarten Wines named UK on-trade distributor for Grupo La Rioja Alta

Published:  17 January, 2023

Specialist wine importer, Hallgarten & Novum Wines, has been appointed as the new UK on-trade distributor for iconic Spanish producer Grupo La Rioja Alta.

Hallgarten Wines, which this year celebrates its 90th birthday, will distribute all the group’s wineries, Torre de Oña (Rioja Alavesa), Lagar de Cervera (Rías Baixas) and Áster (Ribera del Duero), which cover 740 hectares of estate-owned vineyards. The 12 wines will be available to the UK hospitality sector through Hallgarten’s distribution network

Hallgarten head of buying, Steve Daniel, said: “I started my journey in the wine industry in 1985, working for a Spanish wine specialist. I was lucky enough to be introduced to Gran Reserva Riojas in the '70s. We had a cache of La Rioja Alta – I was taken aback by the quality. I have not tasted Riojas like that since those days. 

“I thought it might have been my naïve palate or that these kinds of wines no longer existed. This was a view I held until I visited La Rioja Alta a few months ago. I witnessed an incredible level of investment and attention to detail, cutting-edge wineries, and techniques, coupled with traditional oak ageing and practices and years of wines in their cellars waiting for their time. Something truly unique. We are delighted to now represent them to the UK on-trade.”

La Rioja Alta export director Stéphane Desmarquest said: “We are delighted and truly excited to begin this collaboration. It is essential for Grupo La Rioja Alta to regain a strong presence in the UK on-trade channel after the recent uncommon turmoil. We immediately found clear synergies between our companies and a real intention of furthering this journey together. To this end, I would like to thank Hallgarten & Novum Wines portfolio director, Jim Wilson, for embracing this project with the same conviction as ours. We have been really impressed by Hallgarten's commercial structure and we are certain it will help us achieve our ambitions for this key channel.”

La Rioja Alta was founded in 1890, in the old railway quarter of Haro, by five families including the Aranas, the Ardanzas and the Alberdis – their names are now celebrated on each of the Reserva wines. To commemorate the date, the Reserva 1890 was the first wine ever made and was the predecessor of today’s Gran Reserva 890.

The company has gradually expanded, and in 1996 a new purpose-built winery in Labastida (Álava) was completed, focussing on improving quality and enabling the purest expressions of fruit to be showcased in the wines. Oak is at the heart of the ageing process, and Grupo La Rioja Alta boasts its own in-house coopers who use artisanal methods to produce their own barrels from wood imported from the US and air-dried on-site in Labastida. 

Furthermore, traditional manual racking takes place by candlelight every six months, and the vines are sustainably farmed.