FC Barcelona unveils Rioja tie-in

Rioja producer Bodegas Altanza has launched an official wine collaboration with FC Barcelona, which aims to tap into the football club’s strong following in Asia.

Unveiled at last week’s HKTDC International Wine & Spirits Fair in Hong Kong, the first release features a Tempranillo 2009 with an RRP of HK$220 (£18) per bottle, and the Reserva 2008, called “The Players’ Collection”, which carries an RRP of HK$6,000 (£487) per six bottle case.

Also 100% Tempranillo, the Reserva 2008 is made from 100 year-old vines in a single vineyard. Aimed at collectors, production is restricted to 1,999 six-bottle cases, with each bottle featuring the shirt number and name of some of the club’s biggest stars, including Fabregas, Messi and Xavi.

According to William Chan, managing director of Wine Hut Company, which distributes the wines, the licensing agreement emerged as a result of an annual visit to Bodegas Altanza by the Barcelona team to select barrels for the club reserve.

The wines are set for distribution across Hong Kong, Macao, China and Singapore, with China expected to be their biggest market. Chan highlighted strong interest from consumers at a Hong Kong wine festival two weeks ago, reporting: “We sold 100 bottles in four days”.

FC Barcelona has cultivated a strong fan base in China, launching a Chinese website and connecting directly with supporters via Chinese social media channels. Within the first 12 hours of setting up an account on Twitter equivalent Tencent Weibo earlier this year, the club had attracted 50,000 followers.

The connection between sports stars and wine runs deep; indeed, Lionel Messi already produces his own wine from Bodega Valentin in Argentina.



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