The most famous Spanish wine is without doubt Rioja, but that does not mean that the delicious Rioja Brand Wines are all that the sunny Spanish wine yards has to offer.
The Spanish wine district Rioja consolidated its position of international leadership in 2007 with the Wine Star 2007 prize for the Wine Region of the year in the United States awarded by the renowned magazine Wine Enthusiast, one of the most influential wine publications in the United States.
This award is complemented by the results of the independent survey carried out by the UK consultants Wine Intelligence (Vinitrac Survey 2007, rating Rioja as the leading wine region in translating awareness into purchase with first place in the United Kingdom, Denmark, Finland, Ireland and Switzerland, second place in Germany and third place in Japan.
The Rioja wine sector has reinforced its image abroad as an innovative and vibrant region that is continuously evolving while maintaining its leadership among the best Spanish wines. A revolution that has placed the Rioja brand among the top five wine regions in the world in terms of awareness, according to a survey carried out by AC Nielsen in 2007.
In the future, the challenge for Rioja will be to continue with this process of innovation that it has begun with the goal of consolidating its leading position in the Spanish market while becoming a benchmark region in the quality wine segment at an international level.
A goal that includes sustainable growth based on continuous improvement and a commitment to quality from several generations dedicated passionately to winemaking, on the one hand, and on the other, the change to the new corporate identity that will embody the union of tradition, evolution and permanent innovation.
Heritage implies respecting tradition, the reflection of history: two thousand years’ tradition in grape growing, two centuries of oenological tradition and prestige, its official recognition as a Designation of Origin in 1925 and as the only Qualified D.O. in Spain since 1991.
Creativity represents an effort in innovation, associated with the logical evolution in consumer demand, as well as the capacity to know how to adapt to changes. All without ceasing to be an undisputed benchmark in terms of quality, both for the more classic style wines, appreciated for their unique personality in every market, and for the new generation of wines that display a dynamic, innovative style.
Therefore, the new identity includes that spirit of innovation, dynamism and creativity that make Rioja an emblematic brand in the international world of wine.
A universal wine that represents the essence and the spirit of the new image, that is born with the aim of bringing together in one symbol the voice of history and the common future of a region, its wineries, its wines and its people, who have a passion for wine.
With this change, the Designation of Origin aims to reflect its vision, its values, what makes it different and recognisable in the world, the way it is and the way it makes wine, in a symbol of unity, prestige and worldwide recognition.
This new concept will be the starting point to communicate the strength, variety and modernity of Rioja wines based on their culture, wisdom and experience, in addition to connecting with the new trends and the traits of new consumers who respond to more accessible, dynamic, easy-to-drink wines.
A starting point that has clear goals: to drive future plans, growth, development and consolidation in international markets, as well as reinforce the position of Rioja on the new world viticulture map, between the pedigree of the old world and the freshness of the new world.
Spain has a unique lifestyle, an attractive, relaxed, natural way of knowing how to enjoy life, etc. Intrinsically, Rioja offers and evokes each of these attributes in each of its wines. Its new identity aims to represent the most characteristic quality of the Spanish country and sociability.
The values of Rioja define the wines and makes the brand Rioja wines recognisable on the market. The qualities that confirm its personality and which are reflected in the new corporate identity, such as: Excellence. A respect for processes, a constant search for quality and a commitment to evolving based on the experience of tradition, together with its reputation for easy-to-drink wines, make Rioja a wine recommendable for any occasion.
The Rioja wine region’s interest in evolving and adapting to the needs of new consumers is well known. It is an enquiring, responsive region that is committed to new processes, styles and grape varieties.
Rioja is a creative brand because of its ability to combine, package, sell and develop each of its products with the goal of adapting them to the needs of current and potential consumers.
From its land, its growing practices, its winemaking and production processes and its drinking, Rioja a synonym of sharing and enjoying. It is a social, accessible wine.
The vine is the sign of identity of any wine and, more specifically, the Rioja vine is the universal symbol of its wine, its history and the passion of its winemakers.
Its own symbol that should endure and evolve
The Spanish Tempranillo vine is reflected in the new corporate identity, renewed and reinterpreted from the strength of creativity. The artistic stroke, the dynamism and the colour express the flowering, the vitality and thriving current reality of Rioja.
The colours of the land are part of the richness of its wines. They speak of tradition, experience and represent the prestige of the Old World. These, together with the lively colours that denote freshness, diversity, creativity and the New World, make the new image of the Rioja world a reality.
From this palette of colours that identify the brand, the aim has been to get consumers to distinguish the different categories of wine. With respect to its Premium category, internationally-accepted codes will prevail and thus the colour blue is being introduced for the Gran Reservas.
The logo expresses solidity, prestige and history. These principles are the foundations and the basis of the experience, know-how, creativity and credibility of new, emblematic wines.
“Rioja is a New World wine inside the Old World”. This is evident from a survey carried out by Nielsen in the United States on American consumers’ perception of the image of Rioja wines. This reinforces the recognition of a continuous effort at innovating and adapting at any given time to the logical evolution of consumer demands.
Cutting-edge and tradition are two apparently opposing concepts but the subtle balance between the two, which Riojan growers and winemakers have known how to maintain over time, have become the reasons behind the success of Rioja.
The solid, modern production structure that this wine region has created has become the basis for the quality model that is currently considered a “model of success” for the wine business, which brings together the best European model of designations of origin with the innovative strength of the New World.
Also, it is important to underscore that the D.O.Ca. Rioja currently occupies a leading position among historic European designations of origin in terms of both its philosophy and its creative energy and competitiveness.
This union of the two worlds, reflected in the new corporate identity, will allow Rioja to continue writing the history of wine at the beginning of the third millennium.
The Rioja grape growing and winemaking tradition acquired a profile that set it apart from other wine regions when it began to introduce new winemaking and ageing methods and the bodegas that today are more than a hundred years old were founded in the mid 19th century. Since then, Rioja has maintained its traditional references with a marked personality, allowing it to take its place among the elite of historic European designations.
The respect for tradition and the history of Rioja correlates with its efforts to always be at the cutting-edge of wine growing regions in Spain. This is reflected in the construction of new bodegas, with daring designs created by international architects, in the new generation of wines with their innovative style and, of course, in the change of corporate identity, which represents the union of these two concepts: tradition and cutting-edge.
Innovation, Technology and Experience
The first experiences in ageing wines in oak casks and the improvements in grape growing and winemaking techniques have constituted a process of permanent innovation during the last two centuries, seeking quality improvements and adapting to market trends.
This is complemented by constant technological research and an interest in perfecting oenological processes, the application of cutting-edge techniques, new products and sophisticated hi-tech machinery.
Rioja’s centuries of experience in ageing wines, an art that can only be found in wine regions with a long-standing tradition, together with the way this Designation of Origin has evolved, adapting to the latest consumer trends while knowing how to maintain the unique identity of its wines, constitutes one of the main reasons for it success.
Creativity and Assurance
Since 1991, Rioja wines have been protected by the first Designation of Origin to be given the category Qualified in Spain. This is awarded to quality wines produced in specified regions that have a higher level of protection. Among other requirements, all wine must be bottled within the production area and be subjected to laboratory tests and sensorial tastings. The process is certified with a seal with a serial number that must appear on each bottle.
The system guarantees the quality of each and every Rioja wine while contributing a high level of credibility, which helps to earn consumer confidence and loyalty. Both in their wines of a more classic style, whose unique aptitude for ageing is admired around the world, and with the new generation of wines with their innovative style, the bodegas in Rioja are an example of assurance (continuous quality improvement) and creativity (innovative zeal and creative energy).
The future: the brand of the 21st century The commitment to excellence which has become a tradition among Rioja’s growers and winemakers has allowed them to consolidate the reputation of its wines among consumers. This is backed by quality, assurance, tradition and experience (Old World values) and creativity, innovation, technology and modernity (New World values). These are the values that bring together in a universal wine, Rioja: the brand of the 21st Century.
Crossing the Pyrenees from France, the various pilgrimage routes ran through Navarre into a region renowned for its vegetables, and for the local ways of cooking them. Yet there is one crop for which La Rioja has become a household name throughout the world: wine. It is little wonder that visitors to the regional capital, Logroño, are tempted to skip the sights –which include a leafy main square and some impressive medieval churches– and head straight for the various wineries
to learn how Rioja wine is grown and produced and, of course, to sample the results. La Rioja is a relatively small region and can be explored in comfort from the capital. One particularly worthwhile visit is to Santo Domingo de la Calzada, the last stop in La Rioja for the medieval pilgrims. Many of them would have whispered a prayer of thanks to the man who gave his name to the town, one of those down-to-earth, practical-minded saints who occasionally crop up in Spanish history.
To help 11th-century pilgrims ford the river Oja, Saint Domingo singlehandedly built a bridge. Next, he supplied them with a proper paved road –the “calzada”– and converted an abandoned palace into a hospice for weary travelers. His spirit survives, for today’s travelers can still find solace and comfortable lodging in the hospice which the good saint established and which is now a Spanish Parador.