Rioja toasts record sales

The UK played a major role in helping Rioja to achieve record sales of 281 million litres in 2014, according to new data from the region’s Consejo Regulador.

RiojaThe overall result marked a 5m bottle increase on 2013 sales, a rise driven largely by a 3.6% export uplift as the Spanish market remained stable.

Although red wine continued to account for the vast majority of Rioja sales at 90% of total volume, white wine saw the largest growth with its 14.9m litre sales representing a rise of 13.7%.

Within the red category, sales of barrel aged styles – which include crianza, reserva and gran reserva – accounted for over 4m litres of Rioja’s total sales and a 62% share of the region’s overall red wine sales.

While crianza widened the gap between itself and generic reds to remain the best-selling Rioja wine category, reserve styles showed strong growth, especially in export markets where 62% of this tier is sold. However it was gran reserva that saw the largest percentage increase in sales, this time driven by Rioja’s biggest customer, the Spanish market.

In terms of export sales, Rioja saw 10.3% growth in the UK, which with a 34.1% share of the region’s exports is its biggest market, followed by Germany, the US and Switzerland. However there was also a big rise in emerging markets such as Mexico, where sales increased by 27.6%, and Russia, which enjoyed 12.3% growth.

Earlier this month Wines from Rioja confirmed a number of activities designed to strengthen its UK position still further, including a “Summer of Tapas Fantasticas” aimed at consumers and “Rioja Month” for the trade.

For a more detailed assessment of Rioja’s performance and future strategy in the UK, see February’s issue of the drinks business. In addition, click here to see full results and analysis of the top performing styles to emerge from The Drinks Business Rioja Masters 2014.

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