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News & Press Releases

Rioja Recognises 2017


2nd NOVEMBER 2017





London, Thursday 2nd November

Now in its third year, Rioja Recognises celebrates Spain’s flagship wine region and those who have made a significant contribution to the Rioja category in the UK. Yesterday evening at London’s Hispania restaurant, the Consejo Regulador of Rioja DOCa awarded four new industry ambassadors for their impact on the UK market and enthusiasm for the region: Abel Lusa, ETM Group, Berry Bros. & Rudd and Alliance Wine.

Alongside the awards ceremony, guests enjoyed a selection of top-scoring wines from this year’s Rioja 10x10 competition accompanied by an array of tapas dishes from Hispania. The evening was hosted by Sarah Jane Evans MW, co-chair of Rioja 10x10 and one of the first winners of the ‘Outstanding Contribution’ award, who introduced this year’s winning individuals and companies.

Jose Luis Lapuente, General Manager for the Consejo Regulador, commented that ‘an initiative like Rioja Recognises allows us the chance to award those members of the trade who continue to support the Rioja region, and our activity here in the UK. Our ambassadors play key roles in strengthening the presence of Rioja in the UK wine trade and amongst consumers, and their commitment and enthusiasm is paramount to assuring the ongoing success of the category. We very much hope to continue working with these individuals and companies as our campaign in the UK develops’.

Hailing from the Rioja region, Abel Lusa received this year’s ‘Outstanding Contribution’ award for his continued support for Rioja within the Cambio de Tercio group. Ensuring a strong representation of Rioja wines across his wine lists, Abel is a key figure on the Spanish food and wine scene in London, focusing on traditional recipes with a touch of avant-garde. Sharing his dedication to the region, Abel said ‘winning the Rioja Recognises award makes me extremely happy and proud’, highlighting that Cambio de Tercio has ‘the largest selection of fine Riojas available in the UK and has always worked very hard to promote our region’.

Very well-known on the London restaurant scene, ETM Group was recognised as ‘On Trade Ambassador of the Year’. Crowned winners of this year’s ‘Think Rioja’ promotion, which saw participating restaurant groups host a two-week long consumer promotion, ETM Group showed creativity and enthusiasm throughout the promotional period, which succeeded in driving an impressive uplift in Rioja sales. Upon receipt of the award, Guillame Mahaut, group wine buyer & trainer, commented that his ‘pleasure in life comes from sharing [his] passion for wine with others. Rioja makes excellent wines and its consortium has been amazing to work with’.

Britain’s oldest wine and spirit merchant, Berry Bros. & Rudd, was named ‘Off Trade Ambassador of the Year’. Boasting an outstanding portfolio of high-quality, premium Rioja wines, Berry Bros. & Rudd also host regular customer events and tastings to educate consumers on the category. Catriona Felstead MW, Spain buyer, said that the company is proud to count the highest quality wines from Rioja as part of its award-winning range’.

With a great range of Rioja producers on its books, this year Alliance Wine were recognised as ‘Distributor of the Year’. Spain has long been an area of focus and interest for Alliance, with the team enthusiastically supporting the Wines from Rioja UK campaign activities. Accepting the award, Paul Shinnie highlighted how the company ‘has been concentrating hard with the growers [they] work with in Rioja to develop [the] existing range’ and ‘it is an exciting time to be involved in Rioja’.


For more information, please contact Phipps on 020 7759 7400 or email