The city of Cologne put the finishing touch to the first Rioja Roadshow to be organised by the D.O.Ca. Rioja in Germany, it’s second largest importer. The event included a tasting of the 100 best Riojas sold in the country according to a tasting panel composed of experts and opinion leaders coordinated by the specialist publisher Meininger. The initiative, called ‘BEST OF RIOJA’, targeted influentials, sommeliers, buyers, representatives of haute cuisine and the trade press. It was also held in Frankfurt and Hamburg and raised considerable interest among this select group of professionals.
The 100 wines were selected from among more than 350 samples submitted by 130 wineries and were grouped into the following categories: Whites and Rosés in the €3.50-€10 range; Crianza reds costing €4.50-€20; Resreva, Gran Reserva and Generic wines priced at €6.50-€20 and Resreva, Gran Reserva and Generic wines over €20. This classification sought to show professionals the outstanding value of Rioja in each category. The external tasting panel was comprised of renowned wine professionals in Germany, including the recently appointed Rioja Wine Educators Yvonne Heistermann, Peer Holm and David Schwarzwälder.
For the latter, “the Roadshow was a great success because it has been a unique opportunity that has attracted a group of German professionals who normally do not attend such presentations.” According to journalist David Schwarzwälder, one of the most important Spanish wine experts in Germany, “what participants most talked about was the attractive contrasts among the wines presented, the wide and varied range of Rioja, which proved to be a top quality benchmark in very different styles of wine.”
Attendees included representatives of the most fashionable German cuisine, like the 485°C restaurant, awarded the Gault Millau 2016 prize for best wine list in Germany, as well as representatives of leading wine marketing companies, like Smart Wines, Middendurf and Deuna.
Germany has traditionally been Rioja’s second largest export market, where 180 Rioja wineries sell their wines. The goal for this market is to continue transmitting the message of Rioja quality and promote the wines with the most added value, such as the Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva categories. Despite the difficulties associated with growing in a mature, open market, where one has to compete with thousands of brands, German consumers are among those showing the greatest loyalty to Rioja wine.