The D.O.Ca. Rioja Control Board presented the first class of the Rioja Educators Programme, an initiative which aims to find and train official Rioja Educators worldwide. Rioja Educators will help spread accurate, quality knowledge about Rioja wine. The 24 candidates from 8 countries who were selected to become the first Rioja Educators visited Rioja to complete their training and take their final exam. They received their certificates on 6 April at Control Board headquarters.
This first class of Rioja Educators is a select group and all 24 candidates have extensive professional experience and training. They participated in the programme at the direct invitation of the Control Board through the agencies that manage the Rioja communication campaigns in their respective countries. The students came from Germany (4), China (5), Mexico (3), Switzerland (3), the United Kingdom (2), the United States (3), Russia (2) and Sweden (2).
After the graduation of the first class, there will be a global programme launch. Candidates wishing to take the course will have a dedicated website where they can apply and explain why they would like to be Rioja Wine Educators. The most suitable candidates are individuals with knowledge and at least two years’ professional experience in the world of wine in one of the following areas: communication, education, sommelierie, wine retail sales and wine distribution.
Those who are admitted on the basis of their curriculum and experience must attend an educational programme approved by the D.O.Ca. Rioja, which requires passing different theoretical and practical tests, beginning with an online course with a specific syllabus which has been designed together with the Basque Culinary Center, whose Board of Trustees includes a representative of the Control Board. In addition to other tests, including a technical tasting, the programme concludes with a stay in Rioja where all future educators meet and complete their training and take the final exam. The goal pursued is for the future Rioja Educator to develop skills that are not only based on specific knowledge about Rioja wine and the Rioja region, but also on their ability to communicate their passion for Rioja wine. Educators will be able to organise training activities on their own or together with the Control Board or Rioja wineries and importers. The certificate is valid for 4 years. To renew it, the Educators have to meet certain requirements, including a minimum number of courses, for which they will be able to issue diplomas endorsed by the Control Board.