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D.O.Ca Rioja approves new regulations


D.O.Ca. Rioja approves regulation for identifying 'single vineyard' wines and producing top quality sparkling Riojas


Two years ago, it was announced how Rioja was facing a new era in response to the concerns of market demands and a search for new value arguments to consolidate and reinforce its leading position as a world-class quality wine region, a prime objective set by its 2005-2020 Strategic Plan.

The first milestone was the review of the definitions the traditional Reserva and Gran Reserva categories, establishing minimum bottle ageing periods for the Reserva category, to come into effect on 1 January 2019, and allowing for flexibility in one of the bottle ageing years in the Gran Reserva category. It would also be possible to make white varietals with any of the permitted grape varieties. These initiatives seek to foster continuous qualitative improvement and meet the excellent feedback the market is giving Rioja wines.


Single vineyards

The second milestone today, is the approval by the D.O.Ca. Rioja Control Board Plenary of the regulations regarding the identification of wines as being from a ‘Single Vineyard’. This is in response to market interest in having more information on the specific plots where the grapes to make a given wine come from. This reconciles the interests of winemakers to showcase these wines, which were already available on the market, as well as those of opinion leaders and end consumers who demanded more information on the label itself.

A process is to be implemented to allow these mentions to be included in the guarantee documents (back labels and seals) of the already successful Rioja Wine categories (Young, Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva), which continue as basis for regulation. The added information, referring directly to the terroir and origins of the wine, will reflect the great diversity offered by Rioja wine today.

The new mention seeks to set specific vineyards apart from their surroundings, with requirements in tune with the Control Board quality and authenticity policy. For example, it will be necessary to technically demonstrate the natural limits of the ‘Single vineyard, which will require long-time ownership, being more than 35 years old, and yields at least 20% below those allowed for the wine region as a whole. They will have to be well-balanced vineyards of limited vigour and will be required to be harvested manually. Production traceability will also be a requirement, with prior checks, and double quality assessment (initial certification and certification prior to being put on the market). The later will require an ‘excellent’ rating.

Likewise, the Control Board is about to update regulations regarding the mention of sub-areas and municipalities on the labels, aiming to provide more information for consumers. 


Sparkling Riojas

Rioja is about to allow, for the first time, production of quality white and rosé sparkling wines bearing the region’s name. The Control Board Plenary decided to adapt its regulations so that it can accommodate this type of wine, to complement its current range of still wines (red, rosé and white) with a new product that will have both quality and prestige. The sparkling wines will be made according to traditional methods and this will be included in the guarantee documents (labels and seals) and specifically mentioned on the label.

All grape varieties may be used to make these wines and production parameters will be those which are generally accepted for this type of wine, with alcohol content between 11% and 13% in the finished product. The wines will be subjected to a dual rating process, including physical-chemical tests and sensorial tests before being put on the market. A minimum ageing period of 15 months for the second fermentation, with this figure increasing to 36 months for the top range, is indicative of the type of sparkling wine to be offered to the market.



For more information please contact Wines from Rioja at Phipps on 0207 759 7400 or email