Spain Report 2007

Published November 2007

Spain Report

SHADES OF OPINION: Whites and Rosés


REGIONS: Spreading the word
CAVA: Promoting Premium
CANARIES: Moving Malvasia
RIOJA: Evolving for the better

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The majority of UK restaurant goers are familiar with the concept of tapas but how many of them would forego their traditional glass of Rioja for a glass of Verdejo or even cava?
   For some time now, the drinks trade has been aware of the diversity and quality of wines produced in regions such as Rueda and Ribera del Duero, but this message doesn’t appear to have filtered down to consumers, many of whom still associate the country with Rioja.
   Although Spain’s regional wines have yet to generate significant sales in the multiple grocers, this will hopefully change now that the likes of Tesco are giving the category more shelf space.
In fact, the supermarket landscape is looking positive for Spain. Although discounting activity continues to drive volume growth, it is less prevalent than it once was with UK consumers showing signs of wanting to climb the quality hierarchy. Encouragingly for both Spain (and the wine industry in general), customers are putting their hands in their pockets and spending more than ever on Spanish wine, with own-label finally making way for branded wines.
   This is particularly true of Rioja, which continues to dominate the category thanks to modern wines that have stripped much of their traditional oakey flavours while retaining all the character of the region.
But Spain cannot rely on Rioja alone to drive growth and should look to promote its other regions as well as its white and rosé wines if it wants to compete effectively in the overcrowded UK market.
   Spain has quality and variety on its side as well as some strong champions in the trade. If it applies the lessons learned in Rioja to its regional wines there is nothing to stop Spain from seducing wine lovers from other countries, even fast-growing categories such as Chile.
Fionnuala Synnott
Report editor

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