This year has undoubtedly been a year of great activity for DOCa Rioja wines in one of the key emerging markets, China, which, given the size of its market, is a country with great growth potential. 2021 was also a year of strong growth in exports of DOCa Rioja wines to the country, with a 113% increase in value in the first half of the year (an even more impressive figure when compared to the 6% drop in total imports of bottled wines into the country).
Despite the increasing restrictions on movement imposed by the Chinese authorities as part of their anti-Covid strategy, Rioja has continued to carry out important promotional activities on multiple fronts, with the only cancellation of a trade fair in Shenzhen, and developing hybrid activities that allow the wineries of the Designation to continue generating business.
This flexibility has made Rioja one of the most visible players in the market: last week it concluded a roadshow that took 69 wineries, represented by their importers, to the cities of Xian and Chongqing. In addition to these cities, two more (Nanning and Wuhan) were visited by Rioja last month and six more visited during the previous months of 2021 (Shanghai, Suzhou, Hefei, Beijing, Shenyang and Qingdao), reaching a total of 3,000 professionals at the shows and more than 600 attendees at the face-to-face masterclasses led, in all the cities visited, by certified educators who transmitted to interested professionals their knowledge of Rioja, the oldest Designation of Origin in Spain.
40 wine bars in 5 Chinese cities
In addition, the DOCa Rioja has launched a collaboration project with 40 wine bars in 5 cities to encourage the promotion of Rioja wines by these bars. As part of this project, a competition is organised around the weeks of Christmas and prior to the Chinese New Year in which fans vote for the best combination of Rioja and Tapas prepared by the establishments, with prizes for both bars and consumers; the latter are the target audience in several of the festive wine and food events that fall under the umbrella of "Rioja Fantástica", an initiative that has attracted more than 1,000 fans, the last one having been held on 5 December in the large southern city of Shenzhen.
2021 was also a year of strong
growth in exports of the
appellation's wines to China
Rioja Wine Academy
On the other hand, Rioja will also organise online courses with certified Rioja Wine Academy educators to enable interested amateurs who, due to quarantines, cannot travel to the different courses to learn about the Wine Region and can take them online. In addition, Rioja's digital presence has been reinforced this year with its own Online Pavilion at a permanent digital trade fair that provides professionals with information in Chinese about Rioja wineries and their wines, and which will serve as the basis for new promotions in the same innovative format.
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