Rioja celebrates Chinese New Year with an award for its campaign and strong sales growth. Rioja exports to China increased by 35% in 2015, placing the country in 6th place among importing countries. Also Rioja exhibits exporting capability at Prowein where The Control Board aims to complement individual wineries’ promotional strategies with activities for professionals that showcase this dynamic and innovative Region.

Chinese New Year celebrations were particularly significant for Rioja wine this year. Special point of sale promotions organised by the Control Board during the festive week were accompanied by an award for its campaign and a promising sales balance for 2015, which closed with a 35% rise. China is a strategic country for Rioja exports and this sharp rise in sales has placed it in 6th place among importers.

The D.O.Ca. Rioja earned recognition at the Vinehoo Annual Awards as one of the top five generic promotion campaigns conducted by a wine-growing region in China in 2015, ahead of Champagne and Bordeaux. The awards are given by Vinehoo, China’s leading digital wine site, with its own social network of half a million registered fans. Its goal is to award recognition to companies and organizations which have contributed most to developing the wine industry and wine knowledge in China. Winners are chosen by a professional jury panel and through online consumer voting.

The celebration of the Chinese New Year is the most important traditional festival in the Chinese calendar. It is linked to a major rise in consumption and a unique opportunity to boost sales. The D.O.Ca. Rioja has special holiday promotions in wine shops in more than 180 points of sale in 36 cities with the direct participation of 54 Rioja wineries. Retailers offer special sets consisting of a wood box, two wineglasses and a corkscrew with the Rioja logo, as well as written materials.

Strong sales growth in China in the past few years, from 256,400 litres in 2008 to 3.2 million litres in 2015, has placed this country in sixth place among Rioja importers. The Wine Region sees this as a reward for the major promotional effort carried out since 2011 in China. Rioja has a mid-term strategy based on educating professionals and opinion leaders about its wines so they can in turn serve as influentials among Chinese sommeliers, retailers and consumers. Rioja organises various activities for these professionals, such as the Rioja Wine Show, road shows with importers, seminars and wine pairing dinners, as well as special promotions in shops and restaurants aimed at consumers. 

Success in Prowein

Prowein in Germany, considered the most important wine trade fair in the world, provided the D.O.Ca. Rioja with the perfect setting to showcase its great exporting capability and convey how innovative and dynamic the Region is. The president of the Control Board, José María Daroca, viewed the Institution’s participation in the trade fair very positively, explaining that the main goal was to «complement the promotional strategies of the individual Rioja wineries with educational activities for attending professionals, taking on the role of a ‘Rioja Information Centre’ while providing a tapas wine bar and an area for business meetings, of which wineries made full use.». 

The Control Board participated in Prowein for the second consecutive year. The fair took place on 13-15 March in Düsseldorf. There were 6,200 exhibitors from 59 countries, 550 of which were Spanish. The Fair was attended by 55,000 professional visitors from 106 countries. The Control Board had a 200 m2 space divided into 3 areas: a Master Class Arena for seminars, a Rioja & Tapas Bar and a meeting place for wineries. The most visited space was the Rioja & Tapas Bar, where professionals showed particular interest in combining different wine styles with food. There was a wide range of wines from seventy wineries which were paired with the tapas prepared by Moritz Crone-Rawe (Rolling Taste), one of the most promising young chefs in Germany. 

An intense programme of twelve workshops on different themes was attended by 51 wineries and more than 650 professionals. The most popular seminars were those on White Wines, Gran Reservas and Pairing Rioja and Tapas. The seminars were led by Rioja winemakers in some cases and in others by experts the likes of David Schwarzwälder, Yvonne Heistermann and Jürgen Mathaes.

The D.O.Ca. Rioja institutional representatives were led by the president José María Daroca, who was accompanied by board members José Luis Benítez and Raúl Leza, the general director José Luis Lapuente and the marketing manager Ricardo Aguiriano.