Rioja sales grow in 2015 setting new record with 388M bottles.

Spain’s leading wine region reaps rewards from its strategy to advance white wines and focus on aged wines.

Spain’s leading wine Designation of Origin broke records with sales of 388M bottles, while growing sales value by 5.33 percent. According to Control Board president José María Daroca, this is “an achievement confirming the success of our priority strategy better position our wines on the market while maintaining the balance achieved by the Region over the past decade thanks to the guidelines set out in the Rioja Strategic Plan 2005-2020.”


The Control Board expressed its satisfaction at the presentation of the 2015 Rioja sales figures, which have grown for the third consecutive year, totalling 284 million litres (up 1.13% from 2014). The director general of the Control Board, José Luis Lapuente, highlighted how Rioja has managed to consolidate growth in the Spanish market, which has matched exports growth for the first time since the economic downturn. 2015 Rioja sales in Spain were 177.4 million litres (up 1.10%), maintaining an undisputed leadership among quality wines.“Achieving this milestone in the current circumstances,” said Lapuente, “is due to the great strength of the Rioja brand and to the Rioja wine industry’s ability to adapt to market demands with a dynamic and innovative model which offers both confidence and security to consumers.”

The president also expressed the Control Board’s satisfaction at “continuing to fulfil the strategic goal of increasing exports,” which currently stand at 106.6 million litres (38% of total sales). “Rioja has managed to increase sales in both volume and value,” said Lapuente, “which is quite different from the Spanish wine industry as a whole, according to Spanish Wine Market Observatory reports.”Observatory figures show that Rioja exports amount to 41.3% of the total value of Spanish D.O. wine exports, while in volume they stand at 31.4%. In terms of price, the average for Rioja is 30% higher than the average for D.O. wines and four times as much as the average price of exported Spanish wines.

Good position in international markets

The D.O.Ca. is also performing better in value than in volume in its top twelve export markets, where Rioja accounts for 3% of total value of bottled wine imports and 2.5% of volume. Rioja prices are also 19.8% higher than the average. Among these countries, the United Kingdom performed excellently (up 2%), strengthening its position as the leading importer of Rioja with a total of 36.8 million litres in 2015 (34.5% of total exports).

Other countries with significant growth in Rioja imports include Ireland (up 42%), China (up 34.5%), which has climbed to sixth position, and Canada (up 23%). In view of promising sales forecasts, the Control Board has included both Ireland and Canada among the countries targeted for promotional campaigns. Germany, the United States and Switzerland continue to hold top positions among importers after the United Kingdom, although with a slight drop in Rioja sales in 2015, which was also the case in some traditional markets such as Sweden and Mexico.

The director general also highlighted “the good results of the D.O.Ca. Rioja white wine strategy, which brought new grape varieties on board in 2007.” In 2015, white wine sales (16.89M litres) enjoyed double-digit growth 2015 (+14%) for the second year in a row, ahead of other white wine exporting areas. Rioja rosés include some very innovative offerings, allowing them to join this positive trend, with sales growing by 17% (30% in domestic sales) to 14.52M litres. Although red wines still account for 89% of Rioja sales, whites and rosés gained one percentage point in market share in 2015.

Another significant result according to José Luis Lapuente is “the progress achieved in the strategic objective of focusing sales on higher added value wines —the Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva categories— whose sales grew in both volume and value.” The 160 million litres sold in these three categories amount to 64% of all red wines. Crianzas accounted for the largest sales volume (106.5 million litres). The distance between this category and the next best-seller, generic red, has increased, particularly in the Spanish market. Rioja Reserva sales experienced the highest growth (up 3.56%) with 62% of the wines in this category being sold in foreign markets.