The SOMM Journal

February / March 2016

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Page 126 of 132

126 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } FEBRUARY/MARCH 2016 Ribera y Rueda: Two for the Table LONG CONSIDERED TO BE TWO OF SPAIN'S MOST IMPORTANT wine producing DOs (Denominación de Origen), the neighboring regions of Ribera del Duero and Rueda embarked on a joint venture in 2015 to more effectively penetrate the ever-increasing and compli - cated U.S. market for Spanish wines. While very well known in their home country, both Rueda, the number-one-selling white wine in Spain, and Ribera del Duero, one of Spain's top red wine producing regions, had experienced some success in the U.S. market, but felt that by joining together to promote their wines collectively, they could engage trade and consumers with a "one- stop shopping" approach to buying their wines. "It made a lot of sense to join forces," says Felipe González-Gordon, Director of DO Ribera del Duero and DO Rueda, who oversees the campaign, "as there has always been a collaborative relationship between the two on many levels, from co-production to common mar - keting ideals born from the fact that there are a number of companies producing wine in both regions." Key educational targets for the Ribera y Rueda campaign include multiple consumer promotions and an inviting and creatively infor- mative new website,, geared toward this country's ever-inquisitive and adventurous Millennial wine drinkers. The campaign also has a significant percentage of its resources dedicated to trade outreach, with, interestingly, focus towards targeting the chef side of the restaurant decision-making team, who González Gordon feels are imperative to reach if he is to increase the visibility of his wines in the on-premise sector. As such, Ribera y Rueda is working to specifically connect with the kitchen through sponsorship and exposure in culinary programs like the Star Chefs International Chefs Congress, which took place recently in New York City, where the campaign poured samples at the product bazaar and provided wine for the conference's staged cooking demo pairings and sixth annual Somm Slam competition led by Master Sommelier Fred Dexheimer. "So often, it's a joint effort between the Chef and Wine Director to put together a restaurant's wine list, particularly in chef-owned estab - lishments" says González-Gordon, "but they are almost never targeted in the outreach. " A unique and interesting approach that just might pay off, and by engaging directly with chefs at industry events like the Star Chefs ICC, where food service employees from all over the country gather to learn about flavor pairings, technique and new products, González -Gordon feels the campaign will have a better chance of "raising aware - ness for our wines, and hopefully putting a bottle of Ribera or Rueda on every table." THE SPANISH DOS JOIN FORCES TO CROSS-PROMOTE THEIR WINES ON-PREMISE by David Ransom / photo by Eduardo Bolaños PHOTO COURTESY OF RIBERA Y RUEDA Felipe González- Gordon, Director of DO Ribera del Duero and DO Rueda, oversees the joint campaign. { spain } 126 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } FEBRUARY/MARCH 2016

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