The American artist Eva Longoria said she was passionate about Spanish culture and that she now felt like an “ambassador of Rioja wine in the United States˝ after receiving the 18th Prestigio Rioja Prize from the president of the Control Board, José María Daroca. He said that “the humanitarian work carried out by Eva, as well as her career in the performing arts and her passion for wine˝ are the reasons why she has been chosen to receive this award.
The Jury Panel considers Eva Longoria exemplary in both her work and her philanthropic activities. In fact, the D.O.Ca. Rioja Control Board is participating in some activities of the Eva Longoria Foundation to raise funds for integrating people at a disadvantage into society. The award ceremony was held on 2 April as part of The Global Gift Madrid charity gala event. Eva poignantly described the work performed by her foundation in the area of women’s education and employment in the Latino community.
“I love Rioja wine!˝ said the actress, who added that she was not only and admirer of the wines but also of the people of the region, whom she described as “hard-working.” She said that she was “proud to share the prize with such important people as the previous recipients.” She concluded by saying that she hopes to visit Rioja this year “because I look forward to learning more about its vineyards and traditions.˝
The Control Board president thanked Eva Longoria on behalf of Rioja growers and winemakers for being “willing to join in the advocacy and dissemination of wine culture which we pursue with this award, fostering the perception of wine as a traditional, fun, cultural and, especially, healthy drink, which is a basic component of the Mediterranean Diet and very different from other alcoholic beverages.” “We are convinced that the acceptance and enjoyment of the intrinsic values of wine culture improves well-being, coexistence and friendship among peoples, so necessary today,˝ concluded José María Daroca, for whom “Eva’s international renown makes her a superb ambassador of our values in the world, just like Rioja is for Spanish wines as a whole.”
A Latino by birth, she considers herself “75% Spanish, as my family roots are in Asturias and I keep Spanish culture, its family lifestyle and its social life very close to my heart.˝ Eva Longoria conquered Hollywood with her cheerful, seductive and festive personality —three traits that fit in perfectly with Rioja wine. In addition, her life is devoted to philanthropic activities, and she has her own charity organisation, the Eva Longoria Foundation, which seeks to help the social integration of disadvantaged people. The D.O.Ca. Rioja has participated in several of the Foundation’s activities. Her time away from the cameras is devoted to issues such as immigrant social integration and the inclusion of women in working life. Among many other endeavours, she produced the documentary The Harvest, which reflects the situation of 500,000 immigrant child farmworkers in the United States.
The Prestigio Rioja Prize
The Prestigio Rioja Prize is an initiative of the Control Board of the D.O.Ca. Rioja, a pioneer in identifying wine with culture. Its purpose is to reward individuals or institutions with outstanding activities in sporting, scientific, or business fields who, by accepting the prize, have contributed to disseminate and enhance the culture and ways of life of peoples, such as ours, for whom vines and wine are part of their idiosyncrasy, culture and history. Since it was created in 1994, the prize has gone to artists including Antonio Banderas, Alejandro Sanz and Sara Baras, and noted personalities including Ferrán Adrià, Pau Gasol, Ana Patricia Botín, Theresa Zabell, Carlos Sáinz, Pedro Duque, Cristobal Halffter, Isidoro Álvarez, Valentín Fuster, Plácido Domingo, Eduardo Chillida, Mario Vargas Llosa, Francisco J. Ayala and Federico Mayor Zaragoza. The Prize has the unselfish collaboration of a jury panel comprised of major personalities in the fields of Culture, Science, Economics, and Communication: Agatha Ruiz de la Prada, fashion designer; Carmen Iglesias, History and Language scholar; José Luis Garci, filmmaker; Maria Teresa Álvarez, journalist and writer; Rafael Ansón, president of the International Academy of Gastronomy; and Luis Cabanas, financier and professional rider.