Knowing Rioja

Rioja, Spain’s best-known wine and one of the most famous producing regions, has a new global marketing campaign. Christian Davis reports


SABER QUIÉN ERES IS the new brand identity and global message for Rioja, Spain’s premier wine region. Created by a Spanish advertising agency, it translates as Knowing Who You Are.

The concept, which is being introduced to 11 key markets including Spain, Canada, China, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Mexico, the Netherlands, Russia, Switzerland, UK, and the US, was unveiled back in April in London.

Coming up with a message in Spanish – and Spanish not easily translated – is pretty sophisticated, particularly by wine marketing standards. No silly names or titles that indicate which dish is best eaten with the wine. It also indicates a confidence by the regulatory body, the Consejo Regulador DOCa Rioja.

Consejo marketing director Ricardo Aguiriano says: “Saber Quién Eres is a concept that connects Rioja wine with consumers in an approachable manner. It is a concept that captures Rioja’s most intrinsic values, including tradition, diversity and origin. With this new campaign, Rioja demonstrates that it rises far above short-lived trends.”

José Luis Lapuente, general manager of the DOCa Rioja, tells Drinks International: “Rioja is a trendsetting region, ahead of the curve, constantly improving, reviewing its definitions and strengthening the selection it offers consumers.

“Our main drivers are the market and consumers.”

There is no denying that Rioja is in an enviable position. Its wine and the eponymous region are world renowned and distributed worldwide. It can produce both volume, entry-level wines to entice new consumers and fine wines to rival any others and, therefore, please the most discerning wine drinker.

Marqués de Cáceres president Cristina Forner steps back to give an overview: “To mention Rioja within the global wine sector shows that we are part of the Old World sector versus the New World wines. Therefore, our business model of smallholdings is far away from that of other large wineproducing countries or areas. We deal with smaller vineyards or parcels, planted mainly with old vines, where mechanisation is almost impossible. We retain most of the best traditions and craftsmanship and are faced with a limited overall production, for our DOCa does not allow large-scale new plantings.

“Rioja’s millenary tradition is very much attached to its land and its grape varieties, as well as its people and its culture. These are the major factors that differentiate and single out Rioja to contribute towards greater quality and added value sales. During the past decade, large groups of bodegas have started up in Rioja and this has led to a more industrial image for the region’s wines, with volume sales and aggressive prices,” says Forner.

Drinks International polled some key players to see what they thought of Saber Quién Eres. De Caceres’s Forner continues: “I believe the best campaign is that which promotes our diversity so as to respond to different occasions on which one can enjoy wine. The philosophy of wines and their brands does, in fact, vary depending on the type of company – be it an industrial model, family company, small-sized bodegas or growers.