哈佛价值1亿美元的加州葡萄园遭受民众反对

22nd November, 2018

常春藤联盟大学哈佛在2012年开始以1亿美元的总价在加州购买葡萄园,并打算储存地下水以便灌溉;然而这项计划需要进行环境审查并遭到当地人的反对。

据彭博社(Bloomberg)报道,位于马萨诸塞州(Massachusetts)的哈佛大学在2012年开始抢购主要位于加州中央海岸的葡萄园,并打算出售葡萄以便混酿。

作为学术界最大的捐赠基金,由Harvard Management Company管理的哈佛捐赠基金以1亿美元(折合约6.9亿人民币)在该地区购买了超过12处葡萄园。

其中一个备受争议的地点位于马德雷山脉(Sierra Madre Mountains)的山脚,前身是一个牧场,并由哈佛在2014年购买所得。

根据彭博社(Bloomberg)的报道,当地人反对它在干旱地区储存地下水,并且声称学校自从购买了这个地区以来所开展的工程已经耗尽了水源。

哈佛最初获得郡政府批准建立地下水储存池作为其灌溉系统的一部分。然而,当地人在葡萄和橄榄种植者Jaffe和Stephen Gliessman的带领下十分反对这个项目,圣塔巴巴拉(Santa Barbara)的郡委员会以3比2的投票比数否决哈佛这项计划的环境审查。哈佛已经上诉,而听证会将于明年初举行。

使用旱作农业技术的Gliessmans告诉彭博社(Bloomberg),哈佛的计划将减少该地区本来就有限的水资源储备,而且井水位自从哈佛开始在该地区耕作以来不断下降。

哈佛正在争取可以在该地地下水条例得到豁免。

撰文:Phoebe French

翻译:Vicky Leung

中国葡萄酒感官评价体系正式发布

22nd November, 2018

中国最近作出了作为葡萄酒消费大国最重大的举措 – 推出了一个新的葡萄酒评级体系,旨在建立一个根据中国人的口味评估进口和国产葡萄酒的体系,同时避开一系列建立已久的国际葡萄酒评级体系,如受到国际葡萄酒评论家的青睐的百分体系(100-point system)。

该系统于11月18日在上海由中国酒业协会(CADA),中国食品工业协会和中国园艺协会联合推出。中国酒业协会是国内所有酒类(包括啤酒,葡萄酒和烈酒)的官方监管和贸易机构。

据CADA称,葡萄酒评级系统的推出表现了中国葡萄酒产业的“文化自信,产业自信和市场自信“的表现。

这似乎符合中国在全球舞台上更加自信和自信的基调,因为该国在全球政治,经济和文化领域的影响力日益增强。在葡萄酒行业,它反映了其生产“世界级”中国葡萄酒的动力,包括国家支持的葡萄酒厂或支持项目,现在正在推出“中国特色的葡萄酒评级系统”,针对在中国销售的所有葡萄酒。

负责制定葡萄酒评级的CADA葡萄酒部秘书长王祖明向dbHK解释,中国葡萄酒评级体系根据色,香,味和体以评估葡萄酒,类似于普遍标准。但该体系亦将使用10分的评分等级,不同于Robert Parker和James Suckling等酒评论家使用的100分制度。

在这个阶段,该评级系统对于在中国境内销售的所有葡萄酒尚未强制执行。但王补充说,在未来,“未来有可能以这个为基础,制定国家(葡萄酒)推荐标准。”

“那时候大多数在中国市场销售的酒要采纳这个标准,”他并没有表示时间表。现阶段还不清楚谁将负责评级,但在发布会上,它宣布了一个由CADA和中国葡萄酒技术协会成员组成的评审团。随着CADA计划发布更多解释资料,将对评级系统进行更多详细说明。

CADA在其文章中解释发布新体系的意图,“世界上有许多国际葡萄酒评级系统,我们多年来一直在使用这些系统。随着时间和社会的发展,这些不再适应当前的需求。“

据该协会称,该系统据说是为了满足中国葡萄酒爱好者的口味和口味而设计的,并考虑到了饮食传统。当被问及它如何反映中国饮酒和饮食传统时,王引用了中英之间饮茶文化的一个例子。

“红茶在中国,就单纯喝茶,在英国,为适应英国人的口味特点,需要加别的东西,”他说。

在中国,口味和美食的偏好确实不同。在上周的Prowine China,中国最重要的葡萄酒专家李德美根据不同类型的中国食品概述了葡萄酒偏好的区域差异,Ruby Red的Simon Zhou进一步声称在中国“不存在”葡萄酒和食品配对的概念。

与Zhou的观点相似,他承认,在中国,葡萄酒和食品配对仍然是一个难以解决的问题。中国的餐饮传统就是他所谓的“圆桌文化”,意味着每个人都坐在圆形餐桌旁,共享一桌没有或与特定相关的菜肴,使得葡萄酒搭配成为一项艰巨的任务。

但随着中国有望在2021年成为世界第二大葡萄酒消费国,葡萄酒对生产商和进口商的成功将取决于他们对不同地区葡萄酒消费者及其饮食习惯的理解。

德国盖森海姆大学(Geisenheim University)研究人员的最新研究也进一步强化了中国利润丰厚的消费市场的诱惑力。根据对Dusseldorf的Prowein期间对2300多名葡萄酒贸易专家的调查,中国被评为世界上最具吸引力的葡萄酒出口市场,而作为传统的葡萄酒中心的英国排名最后,对生产商,进口商和商人的吸引力最小,皆因其货币波动和退欧的不确定性。

但是,在葡萄酒评论家的角色逐渐减少的气氛中,该体系评级的效果如何,以及市场和生产者如何对评级做出反应,还有待观察。

翻译:Terrence Chan

罗曼尼康帝联合董事 HENRI-FRÉDÉRIC ROCH去世

22nd November, 2018

Domaine Prieuré-Roch 拥有人,兼任罗曼尼康帝 (Domaine delaRomanée-Conti)联合董事Henri-Frederic Roch去世,享年56岁。

据法国媒体报道,Roch于上周末星期六(17日)晚上至星期日(18日)去世。但并没有提供死因详情。

当他的兄弟Charles在车祸中丧生后,Roch与Aubert de Villaine一起成为DRC这一着名勃艮第庄园的联合董事。他是庄园里Leroy家族的代表,母亲Pauline Roch-Leroy是1991年前的酒庄联合主任Lalou Boch-Leroy的胞妹。

尽管他在Vosne-Romanée中占据了一席之地,Roch一直远离聚光灯,de Villaine是该公司的主要公众人物。

Roch于1988年成立自己的庄园,以其独特的地位而闻名。现在庄园将有盒变化,以及谁将在世界上最受尊敬的庄园中占据一席之地,无疑将成为激烈猜测的主题。

当他的姨子Domaine Leroy否认有关出售其财产几天后,传出各种猜测。

撰文:Rupert Millar

翻译:Terrence Chan

Marston’s joins UK pub chains in World Cup profit boost

21st November, 2018

Like many UK pub owners, the World Cup boosted sales and profits at Marston’s, the company said, but it is planning to scale down its expansion next year as Brexit increases the UK’s economic uncertainty.

Marston’s, one of the UK’s biggest brewers, reported a 4% surge in pre-tax profits in its 2018 financial results on Wednesday 21 November, chiming with executives’ expectations.

The company saw record revenues of £1.1 billion this year, up 15% since 2017. Like-for-like sales also rose 0.6%, marking the company’s fifth consecutive year of growth.

Ralph Findlay, CEO said Marston’s has performed well in a “difficult market,” benefiting from last year’s acquisition of the Charles Wells Beer Business (CWBB), with total beer volumes up 47% this year.

Charles Wells sold its former brewery and the majority of its beer brands to Marston’s last year in a deal worth £55 million.

Like Ei Group, n unusually warm summer across the UK and increased footfall driven by the FIFA World Cup.

“Our balanced business model has stood us in good stead, delivering record sales and underlying profits with revenue exceeding £1.1 billion for the first time.”

However, the CEO warned that, given the current health of the UK’s casual dining sector, its food-led sites may struggle next year.

“Our Taverns, wet-led community pubs and market-leading brewing business had an outstanding year, more than offsetting the effects of weather volatility and the World Cup on our food-led pubs.”

Marston’s has said it plans to open a further 10 pubs this year, down from the 14 it opened over the past 12 months.

The company has also reinvested in its brewing arm, with a new canning line in Burton and new distribution centre in Thurrock.

“Macro-economic and political uncertainty is reflected in our capital plans this year,” Findlay said.

“However, the outlook for good pubs and brewing remains attractive and Marston’s is well placed to leverage the opportunity this presents with our high quality, well invested estate, leading brands and great people.

“We expect to make positive progress once again in the current financial year.”

Brewery held to ransom by travellers, court hears

21st November, 2018

A brewery was held to ransom by a group of travellers who invaded the site and demanded £20,000 to leave, a court was told this week.

Thwaites Brewery bosses held to ransom by travellers, court hears

Around 100 travellers broke into the Thwaites Brewery in Blackburn on the Friday evening of the Spring Bank Holiday weekend (26 May) and set up camp, Preston Crown Court heard. Within hours the leader, Thomas Ward, had demanded a cash payment of £20k from brewery bosses for the group to leave the site within 24 hours.

He is alleged to have said: “£20,000 today or the place is ours”.

CEO Richard Bailey negotiated 24 hours to raise the money, but after the police and employees visited the site the following day the court heard that Ward decided he was not going to be paid and agreed with two other men to break into the building and cause criminal damage.

Police eventually got control of the site two days later and escorted the travellers out, but by then around £250,000 worth of damage had been inflicted, with 4.5 tonnes of cabling stripped out and the brewery’s office trashed, with memorabilia, computers, cash and personal effects stolen, the Lancashire Telegraph reported.

Around 1,700 pints of beer also had to be poured away for fear of contamination.

Ward admitted to blackmailing Bailey with menaces, and along with two other men, admitted to conspiracy to burgle and conspiracy to commit criminal damage at the Brewery.

The brewery has since relocated to a new purpose built brewery and 12-acre HQ in Mellor Brook.

China launches its own wine rating system

21st November, 2018

In China’s most affirmative move yet to demonstrate its clout as a leading wine consumer, the country has unveiled a new wine rating system designed to evaluate imported and domestically produced wines, based on Chinese tastes, shunning a set of established international wine rating systems such as the 100-point system favoured by international wine critics.

The system was officially introduced on 18 November in Shanghai by China Alcoholic Drinks Association (CADA) – the country’s official regulatory and trade body for all alcoholic beverages including beer, wine and spirits – China National Food Industry Association and the Chinese Society for Horticultural Science.

The launch of the wine rating system was hailed as “a show of confidence” in the country’s own wine production capacity, its wine industry and its consumer market, according to CADA.

This seems to be in line with China’s overall more confident and assertive tone in the global stage, as the country’s clout grows in the fields of global politics, economics and culture. In the wine sector, it’s mirrored in its drive to produce ‘world-class’ Chinese wines, with state-backed wineries or supported projects, and is now launching ‘a wine rating system with Chinese characteristics’ targeting all wines sold in China.

Evaluating wines mainly based on colour, aroma, palate and body (色香味体), similar to the universal criteria, the Chinese wine rating system will use a scoring scale of 10 points, different from the more popular 100 point system favoured by critics such as Robert Parker and James Suckling, Wang Zuming, secretary general of CADA’s wine division who’s in charge of formulating the wine rating, explained to dbHK.

At this stage, the rating system is not yet compulsory for all wines sold inside China. But Wang added that in the future, “the system may serve as a base for formulating a national (wine) recommendation system”.

“By then, majority of wines sold in China will adopt this system,” he stated without giving a time frame. It’s unclear at this stage who will be tasked with the rating, but at the launch event, it announced a panel of judges consisting mainly of members from CADA and China Wine & Viticulture Technology Association (中国葡萄酒技术协会). More details on the rating system will follow as the CADA plans to publish more explanatory materials.

Adding to the intention of launching the new system, CADA explains in its post, “there are many international wine rating systems in the world, and we have been using these systems for many years. With the development of our time and society, they no longer apply to current demands.” 

According to the association, the system is said to be created to cater for Chinese wine drinkers’ tastes and palates, with consideration of culinary traditions. Asked about how it reflected Chinese drinking and dining traditions, Wang cited an example of tea drinking culture between China and the UK.

“In China, when you drink black tea, you drink it without addition of anything, while in the UK, to cater for their flavours and tastes, they often add other things,” he said.

Preferences in tastes and cuisine are indeed different in China. At Prowine China last week, China’s foremost wine expert Li Demei outlined regional differences in wine preferences based on different types of Chinese food, and Simon Zhou of Ruby Red went further to claim that the concept of wine and food pairing is “non-existent” in China.

Echoing Zhou, he admits that in China wine and food pairing is still a tough subject to tackle. The dining tradition in China is what he calls “round table culture” meaning everyone sits around a round dining table and shares a tableful of dishes without or pertaining to a particular order, making wine pairing a difficult task.

But with China tipped to become the world’s second biggest wine consumer by 2021, the success of wines for producers and importers will be tied up to their understanding of different regional wine consumers and their dining habits.

The lure of China’s lucrative consumer market is also reinforced in the latest research by researchers at Geisenheim University in Germany. China is ranked as the world’s most attractive export market for wine based on a survey of over 2,300 experts in the wine trade during Prowein in Dusseldorf, while traditional wine hub the UK came out last with the least attractiveness for producers, importers and negociants because of currency fluctuation and the uncertainties of Brexit.

But how effective the rating will be, and how will the market and producers respond to the rating, amid a climate where wine critics’ role is gradually dwindling, is yet to be seen.

Alibaba to bring US$200 billion worth of goods into China in five years

21st November, 2018

Alibaba, the world’s biggest e-commerce company, announced that it will bring US$200 billion worth of imported goods into China within the next five years to sate consumers’ growing demand for higher-quality products from overseas.

Daniel Zhang, CEO of Alibaba Group

The pledge, announced by Alibaba’s CEO Daniel Zhang, stated that the e-commerce giant will import goods from more countries and expand its product range significantly, doubling the number of its current categories.

From 2019 to 2023, the company will import goods from 120 different countries, up from current 75, via its cross-border platform, Tmall Global, and the number of product categories is expected to increase from 3,900 to 8,000 from clothing, baby products to beverages such as wine and spirits.

The expansion aims to keep up with China’s growing number of mid-level and high wage earners who are developing a more sophisticated taste for premium products, according to the Hangzhou-headquartered company.

The announcement came at a time when Chinese president Xi Jinping stated that the country will import more than US$30 billion worth of goods and US$10 trillion worth of services in the next 15 years, at the China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai this month. Total imports of 2017 stood at US$1.8 trillion.

“Leveraging Alibaba’s innovative technology and robust ecosystem, we are committed to making global trade more inclusive and fulfilling our mission ‘to make it easy to do business anywhere’ in the digital era,” Zhang explained, adding that the stimulus package will particularly help small and medium sized companies looking to tap into the world’s second biggest economy.

In the drinks sector, the company estimated that China’s online alcoholic drinks sales including Chinese baijiu, beer, spirits and wine are expected to reach RMB 100 billion (US$14.4 billion), based on forecasts in a joint report by Tmall and Moët Hennessy.

“China’s middle class is booming. As incomes are rising in China, consumers want faster access to, and a wider variety of, high-quality products from around the world,” said Alvin Liu, general manager of Tmall Import and Export.

Jack Ma, founder of the company and a champion of small-scale companies, previously promised to sell more American goods through his e-commerce platform.

However, amid escalating trade wars between the two countries, the entrepreneur retracted his pledge to the US and called the trade spat, “the most stupid thing in the world” at the CIIE this month.

Although Ma has announced plans to step down as Chairman next year, he has introduced his grand plan of building a ‘digital Silk Road’, echoing Chinese president Xi Jinping’s new Silk Road plan. According to Ma, the digital Silk Road project would encourage more e-commerce trade activities globally, as China’s shifting away from an export-driven growth to focus more on imports.

The transition, however, will be the “greatest challenge for China,” Ma said.

READ MORE

The Facts About China’s E-commerce Market 

Buyers circle Ei’s £350m pubs portfolio

21st November, 2018

A portfolio of about 400 pubs is being circled by potential buyers months after the boss of Ei Group confirmed plans to sell off commercial properties in the group’s portfolio worth £350 million.

Simon Townsend, who first confirmed Ei’s intention to auction off more than 400 boozers in September, said the sale would “allow us to concentrate on our core estate.

“I have been reassured by the level of interest we have received.”

Townsend said it could sell its entire estate, which includes 412 outlets owned on a freehold basis.

Ei Group, one of the UK’s largest pub operators, reported a stable profit of £122 million for the year ended 30 September 2018, and issued its third share buyback in three years in its preliminary financial results yesterday, while also hinting at a further return to shareholders.

Sales rose 7% to £695 million, helped by unusually high temperatures over the summer and a boost in trading during the FIFA World Cup.

“We continue to take appropriate steps to ensure that the Group’s capital structure enables and supports our objective to deliver attractive and sustainable returns for shareholders, as demonstrated by today’s announcement to initiate a further share buyback programme of up to £20 million,” Townsend said.

The group said its ability to boost revenue from the sites it already owns is “limited, to the extent that the potential disposal of some, or all, of the portfolio is likely to realise best value for shareholders.”

Ben Wilkinson, national director of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), said: “It’ll be important to consider the details of what is currently only a rumoured sale of some of Ei Group’s pubs. But if a number of pubs are to be put on the market, it’s essential that other operators are given the opportunity to acquire these as going concerns.

“Too many times in the past we’ve seen owners dispose of pubs directly to developers, robbing communities of their locals and licensees of their livelihoods. If Ei chooses to dispose of some its estate, we call on it to do the morally decent thing and sell these sites as licensed premises.”

Private Passions: Ready Steady Cook

21st November, 2018

Paul Beavis is the managing director for the UK and export at Champagne Lanson, after taking the helm back in 2009. Having started out as a professional golfer, he moved into hospitality with a three-year career as a chef. The skills he learnt, as well as an appreciation for food and the art of cookery, have remained with him, even after entering the world of wine.

Beavis with his trusty sharp knife.

When and why did you become a chef? 

I initially wanted to be a professional golfer but the truth is I just wasn’t good enough. I came back from South Africa and fell into catering and management school. I was very young (only sixteen) and I wasn’t sure what I really wanted to do.

My father had to help me get in through his connections – he was the chief engineer on the Queen Mary. I knew I didn’t want to do that and being a chef sounded a lot more fun and engaging – little did I know!

Where did you train initially and in which restaurants did you work?

I started my training at the Southampton School of Hotel Management and Catering. As part of my course, I got a job at a famous restaurant in the area called Geddes where Jean-Christophe Novelli was working at the time. There, I later got given the responsibility to run the wine cellar and that was my first proper introduction to wine – it was amazing.

Did you have any favourite mentors during your chef career?

I certainly admired Novelli and what he’d done and had been able to achieve – during my time as a chef he was awarded his first Michelin Star for Gordleton Mill in the New Forest. However, my mentors were probably my teachers at the college, in particular the head chef called Mark who was just brutal.

Did you enjoy your time as a chef?

I put it down as being as close to being in the army as possible without actually joining the services. The work ethic I developed while studying and working stayed with me, along with the meticulous attention to detail. The ethic and commitment involved in working in a kitchen is outstanding, you’re under a massive amount of pressure, though of course you’re not being shot at!

Were you working long hours?

Yes I did. I was actually attending night school too and studying management and marketing as well as for my wine exams. It was very intense and from the ages of 16 to 18 I really didn’t have much of a life. That said, these were all extra things that I wanted to do and I did it off my own back.

What was the most important lesson that you learn while working as a chef?

Probably the work ethic and discipline, you simply couldn’t afford to let anyone down. That really stuck with me.

What position did you reach at the end of your stint in the kitchen?

I became a qualified chef and at the age of 18 or 19 decided that I wanted to pursue a career in wine instead. Back in the day I worked for Bottoms Up, a somewhat edgy wine warehouse which can probably be described as the precursor to Majestic. I remember we were the first to bring in Cloudy Bay, which we sold for £6 – it was a great coup.

What was your favourite ingredient to work with?

It would be samphire. Not everyone likes it and it requires little cooking – it’s not hard to learn how to cook it properly. But I believe it really gives something special to dishes.

I maintain that one of the hardest things to do is to make good scrambled and poached eggs. With the latter, there remains a constant debate as to how to cook the perfect egg – do you add vinegar, should you swirl the water etc.

What was your best moment in the kitchen?

Making a soufflé that actually worked! I suppose I have lots of mini magic moments in the kitchen – that time when you’re ahead of the game and you’ve got the timing of all your components just right. It’s a complex balancing act.

Why did you decide to hang up your apron?

I guess I just fell in love with the wine side, I thought it would be easier. I certainly didn’t anticipate the raft of knowledge you require to succeed in the industry. I never worked in a Michelin-starred kitchen and the truth is I just don’t think I would have lasted.

Seeing the excitement generated by the restaurant industry today, however, I think it would be harder to give up if I was doing it now. That said, it’s incredibly hard for businesses today. When I was in the business it was a lot more sustainable and not as many people were doing it. Since then we’ve seen a real segmenting of the audience and a change in people’s eating habits with the concepts of grazing as well as vegetarianism and veganism coming in. When I was working in restaurants it was all classically French.

Do you do the cooking at home?

When I can – I travel a lot and home is either here or in France. Every year I host a curry and Champagne night. Cooking a curry is an art and I normally serve around eight to 10 Champagnes blind. It’s an unusual food pairing which I believe goes surprisingly well.

If you had one kitchen gadget, what would it be?

A sharp knife. With a sharp knife you can do anything: chop, slice, fillet fish etc. You only have to cut yourself a couple of times with blunt knife to understand why you should always have a sharp one. I still have my trusty set of Sabatier knives and they’re still as good as ever.

Has your time in the kitchen helped with your food and wine matching ability?

For me, it’s certainly helped. But everybody is different and I think sometimes people are just being polite when I suggest something works. That’s why I think having a flight option is so successful – different wines work for different people.

How has your time in the kitchen influenced your subsequent career?

I definitely appreciate how hard it is for restaurants to make everything work in harmony – both the food and the wine. It’s important to learn the ropes first. My son is a keen cook but does tend to leave a trail of devastation behind him in the kitchen. We would never have got away with that, we had to clean up as we went, everything had to be immaculate.

The planning, preparation and respect that you learn in the kitchen is amazing. Chefs really do put in the hours – I remember my back aching, feeling exhausted and drained but knowing that I had to keep going so that I didn’t let anyone down.

The skills you learn between the ages of 16 to 21, the things you pick up then, really do influence your later life.

What is your favourite Champagne Lanson and food match?

It would have to be fish – my favourite is probably halibut. I’d pair it with Lanson Blanc de Blancs Extra Age. The fish would be simply grilled and almost slightly undercooked. I don’t want anything too clever or a fancy sauce. One of the greatest skills is doing the simple things well.

Four wine personalities rewarded for raising recognition of Rioja

21st November, 2018

Last night, at a dinner in London, four leading wine figures were rewarded for raising the recognition of Rioja in the UK and beyond.

Pictured, from left to right: Owen Morgan (director, Bar 44), Ricardo Aguiriano (marketing director, Consejo Regulador Rioja DOCa), Sarah Jane Evans MW, Raul Diaz (founder, WineTraining), Pedro Ballesteros Torres MW

Held at Eneko Basque Kitchen & Bar in Covent Garden – the London outpost of Michelin-starred Basque chef Eneko Atxa – a clutch of personalities were thanked for their commitment to Spain’s flagship wine region, and officially declared Rioja ambassadors.

Part of a campaign called Rioja Recognises, the concept was created four years ago to celebrate those who have made a significant contribution to the Rioja category in Britain as well as on a global scale.

And, before a lavish dinner was served for Spanish wine lovers in the UK trade, Sarah Jane Evans MW, co-chair of Rioja 10×10, announced the winners of the Rioja Recognises campaign for 2018.

Pointing out that this year’s recipients comprised wine trade figures from outside London, and for the first time, beyond the UK too, she expressed her delight at the broadening of the awards to include a larger area.

“It’s good to see that there are winners this year from outside London, because it’s easy when you live in the city to become capital-obsessed,” she said, before revealing that one of the recipients was Owen Morgan, a director of the Bar 44 chain, which has outlets in Penarth, Cowbridge, Cardiff and Bristol.

Later on, she announced that for the first time, Rioja Recognises had been extended to included non-UK-based personalities, with Spain’s Pedro Ballesteros Torres MW receiving an ‘Outstanding Contribution’ award for his work promoting the region across a number of markets, such as China, Denmark and the UK.

Other recipients this year included sommelier, WSET educator, and TV presenter, Raul Diaz, and Mike Stanton, from retailer Corks Out.

Also speaking at the awards ceremony and dinner in London last night was Ricardo Aguiriano from the Consejo Regulador DOCa Rioja.

Explaining the importance of the event for Rioja in the UK, he commented, “Rioja Recognises is an opportunity for the Rioja region to thank those members of the trade who continue to raise the profile of the region and its wines. It is these people who ensure Rioja maintains its place as Spain’s flagship wine region in the minds of UK consumers, and fuel the ongoing success of the category in an increas­ingly competitive marketplace.”

He also confirmed Rioja’s commitment to the UK market, noting that the region had continued to invest in the nation right through the economic crisis that began in late 2008, and would keep up its support for the years ahead.

After all, stressing the importance of Britain for Rioja, he said that as much as one third of all exports from the famous Spanish wine region went to the UK.

He also said that the pressure on supply from Rioja would ease with this year’s vintage, which is up from 360 million kilograms of grapes in 2017 to 468m kg this year – an increase of 30%, making it one of the largest harvests of the past decade, according to Aguiriano.

Finally, he drew attention to the recent changes that have taken place in Rioja, including, as previously written about on thedrinksbusiness.com, the additional classifications for the region, and a new campaign to promote the area, with the strapline Saber Quién Eres – which translates as ‘knowing who you are’.

Evans also drew attention to the dynamism of Rioja, recalling the excellence of the Master of Wine Symposium in June this year, which was held in Logroño – the capital of the region.

“For many, it was a complete eye-opener,” she said, referring to the attendees’ experience of Rioja during the three-day event.

While speaking of the wines, she explained that extensive tastings of Rioja during this year have highlighted “the exciting diversity” of the region, commenting that “there is always something new and interesting”.

Over the following pages is a profile of each of the recipients of 2018’s Rioja Recognises campaign, including their comments on the wine region’s enduring appeal.