Rioja names four new UK ambassadors

Four key members of the UK wine trade were recognised at an awards ceremony in London this week for their efforts in promoting and selling Rioja wines in Britain.

The winners at the Rioja Recognises awards, held at Eneko Basque Kitchen & Bar in Covent Garden

Held at Eneko Basque Kitchen & Bar in Covent Garden on Tuesday evening – the London outpost of Michelin-starred Basque chef Eneko Atxa – the Consejo Regulador of Rioja DOCa gave gongs to a quartet of enthusiastic Rioja ambassadors.

First to receive an award was restaurateur Richard Bigg, owner of Spanish tapas chain Camino, who was singled out as the Off-Trade Representative of the Year for having long championed Rioja on the wine lists across his five London restaurants.

Next to pick up a gong was Dawn Mannis, co-founder of Enomatic machine pioneer, The Sampler, who has been equally influential in getting Londoners sipping Rioja, particularly older vintages via Enomatic. She was named Off-Trade Representative of the Year.

Unable to attend as she was busy at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen in Cornwall, food and wine writer Fiona Beckett received the Communicator of the Year award for her efforts in spreading the word about the diversity and democracy of Rioja wines to her Guardian readers. She thanked organisers and attendees via video message.

Last but not least, the Consejo applauded Pierre Mansour, head of buying at The Wine Society, who won an Outstanding Contribution award for his ongoing championing of the reds, whites androsados from the region within TWS’s portfolio.

Now in its fifth year, Rioja Recognises awards members of the wine trade who have made a significant contribution to Rioja wines in the UK, which accounts for 3.2% of the volume and 3.9% of the value of the UK still wine market.

“Rioja is the UK’s favourite Spanish wine region, and Rioja Recognises is an opportunity for us to celebrate and thank key personalities who have played a part in keeping Rioja at the top,” said Iñigo Tapiador, director of global marketing for the Rioja DOCa

“This key date in our calendar is also a chance to build relationships with people from across the wine trade and show our gratitude,” he added.

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