The SOMM Journal

December 2014/January 2015

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Page 17 of 119

18 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } DECEMBER/JANUARY 2014/2015 { shop talk: spain } DEFINED BY GEOGRAPHY, TWO WINE D.O.S IN SPAIN'S NORTHERN Castilla y León region have created an unprecedented marketing partnership. There's D.O. Ribera del Duero, known for its red wines with their foundation of powerful, yet fruit-forward Tempranillo; and D.O. Rueda, just to the south, admired for its perfumed, crisp Verdejo-based white wines. Enter Felipe González-Gordon, who, representing the Consejo Regulador for Spain's wine regions, is helping to realize a vision for these two regions with small but growing presences in the U.S. who are joining forces through a new strategic alliance. "Ribera and Rueda share centuries of cultural and geographic affinity, and it makes sense for these regions to go to market together," he says. González-Gordon was just named Director for D.O. Ribera and D.O. Rueda in the U.S. market, tasked with educating wine trade and wine lovers about this ideal Spanish red and white match. After gaining a large commitment from both D.O.s (€750,000 each), the European Union also matched funds, making a €3-million per annum, five-year plan to realize on- and off-premise sales, as well as to promote a cultural under - standing of these regions and their respective wines in the years to come, by the industry as well as the American buying public. González-Gordon is no newcomer to wines from Spain or to the U.S. mar - ketplace. His great-great-grandfather founded González-Byass. He grew up working for the family business and in 2006 brought his expertise to the U.S. "We had properties in Jerez of course, but also in five other regions throughout Spain," he tells The SOMM Journal. "After seven years of developing González- Byass's business in the States, the winery thought this ex-pat assignment was complete. But by then, my twin daughters were about to start college and I just did not want to uproot my family." After parting ways with the family company while still retaining his equity part, Felipe decided to start his own business, and now has the responsibility of representing the regions of D.O. Ribera del Duero and D.O. Rueda and direct - ing their marketing efforts in the US. González-Gordon adds, "My immediate goal is to raise awareness of these two regions in the U.S., and to have them recognized as Spain's new power wine couple." Felipe González-Gordon heads up the marketing partnership of Rueda and Ribera del Duero in the U.S. PHOTO COURTESY OF FELIPE GONZÁLEZ-GORDON Unified in Red and White D.O. RIBERA DEL DUERO AND D.O. RUEDA JOIN FORCES by Meridith May "It makes sense for these regions to go to market together."

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