British diners choose Rioja wines ahead of such renowned regions as Bordeaux and Burgundy, according to a recent Wine Intelligence survey on the positioning of the different wine regions in the world in the UK on-trade. The poll among habitual wine consumers shows that, in the last six months, more consumers have asked for Riojas at restaurants (23%) than wines from any other region, including Burgundy (7%) and Bordeaux (13%).


Rioja’s quality and food culture are the key drivers of on-trade demand for Rioja wines in the United Kingdom, with a larger number of consumers citing their food pairing suitability (48%) and flavour (53%) as decisive factors when choosing Rioja wines rather than those from other regions. The survey reveals that British diners shy away from formal traditions and, more than ever, are showing a penchant for the more informal spirit of Spanish food culture. When it comes to eating out, 66% of respondents prefer a relaxed atmosphere to an “haute cuisine” ambience (19%) or to “formal service” (12%).

For British consumers, Rioja wines are their number one choice in bars, taverns, gastropubs and casual restaurants, well ahead of Côtes du Rhône, Chianti and Bordeaux. «Our customers would rather open a bottle of Rioja and share plates among friends than feel intimidated by the menu or the atmosphere of a formal restaurant,» says Noelia Rojilla, from London’s famous ‘Bar Tozino’. Wine expert and broadcaster Jane Parkinson says that Rioja wines are very versatile when it comes to pairing, making it easy to choose a menu because they complement a wide range of meats, cheeses and seafood. She considers it is easy to prepare tapas and serve them with a good bottle of Rioja to everyone’s satisfaction.

UK consumers do not only seek a Spanish food experience when dining out. According to the survey, they are buying more Spanish products than ever, with rising sales of products the likes of Iberian ham, Manchego cheese, Bomba rice and chorizo.