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Rioja Recognises returns

November 2018


Rioja Recognises returns for 2018



(From left to right: Owen Morgan (Director, Bar 44), Ricardo Aguiriano (Marketing Director, Consejo Regulador Rioja DOCa), Sarah Jane Evans MW, Raul Diaz (Founder, WineTraining), Pedro Ballesteros Torres MW)

On Tuesday 20th November, the Consejo Regulador of Rioja DOCa awarded four new industry ambassadors in recognition of their clear commitment to Spain’s flagship wine region and thanking them for their support of the UK campaign: Pedro Ballesteros Torres MW, Raul Diaz, Bar 44, and Corks Out.

Now in its fourth year, Rioja Recognises celebrates those who have made a significant contribution to the Rioja category in the UK. This year’s festivities also extended beyond the UK to showcase those who promote Rioja on a global scale.

Held at Eneko Basque Kitchen & Bar in Covent Garden, the London outpost of Michelin-starred Basque Chef Eneko Atxa; guests at the exclusive event enjoyed a selection of wines from the recent Rioja 10x10 tasting, alongside exceptional dishes prepared by the team at Eneko. 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.

This year, the awards were opened up to include non-UK-based personalities who promote Rioja internationally as well as in the UK. Pedro Ballesteros Torres MW received this year’s ‘Outstanding Contribution’ award for his continued support of Rioja across a number of markets, including the UK. For Pedro, “Rioja's lasting appeal is, in my opinion, built upon the region's amazing capacity to offer wine lovers a huge range of profiles… while keeping an air of family, a memory of something that happens only in Rioja.”

Leading Spanish bar and restaurant group, Bar 44, was recognised as ‘On Trade Ambassador of the Year’. Crowned winners of this year’s ‘Rethink Rioja’ promotion, which saw participating restaurant groups pick six of the region’s wines for a series of summer tastings and promotions, Bar 44 displayed originality and passion throughout the campaign, resulting in an impressive uplift in Rioja sales. Accepting the award, Director Owen Morgan commented that when it comes to Rioja, “consistency, reliability, quality and tradition come to mind.”

This year’s ‘Communicator of the Year’ award when to Sommelier, WSET Educator, and TV presenter, Raul Diaz. Raul has supported Wines from Rioja across a number of activities and his passion for the region and relaxed, accessible manner, make him very popular with consumers. Upon receipt of his award, Raul pointed out that “consistency, in terms of quality, of Rioja wines is something truly amazing” and added how exciting the Rioja region is for consumers.

Award-winning retailer Corks Out was named ‘Off Trade Ambassador of the Year’. As a regular participant and previous winner of the annual ‘Shop Rioja’ October retail competition, Corks Out is continually growing its commitment to Rioja wines. Retail Director, Mike Stanton, said “[Rioja is] a region which has a broad appeal whilst keeping its base in tradition, and one that wine professionals as well as every day consumers can get excited by.”

Ricardo Aguiriano for the Consejo Regulador DOCa Rioja explains the importance of this event for Rioja in the UK: “Rioja Recognises is an opportunity for the Rioja region to thank those members of the trade who continue to raise the profile of the region and its wines. It is these people who ensure Rioja maintains its place as Spain’s flagship wine region in the minds of UK consumers, and fuel the ongoing success of the category in an increas­ingly competitive marketplace. We look forward to building ever-stronger relationships with these leading ambassadors of Rioja wines.”



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


Notes to Editors

  • Wines from Rioja is the UK marketing arm of The Rioja Regulatory Council or Consejo Regulador de Rioja DOCa, the body responsible for the application and monitoring of legislation relating to the quality and standards of wines produced in the region, promotion of the image of Rioja wines and defence of interests of the sector
  • The Consejo Regulador de Rioja DOCa launched a new global message in spring 2018: Saber quién eres. This directly translates as ‘Knowing who you are’ and captures Rioja’s most intrinsic values including tradition, diversity and origin
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