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Rioja sales slump to three-year low as rival appellations report record sales

Rioja sales fell by up to 15% in 2008, with Rias Baixas and Castilla-La Mancha reporting marked increases in sales.

According to statistics released by DOC Rioja’s regulatory board, sales of Gran Reserva in 2008 fell by 14.7%, with Reserva falling 10.4%, and Crianza down 5.3%. Overall, sales of Rioja wine were down 7.5%.

Víctor Pascual Artacho, president of DOC Rioja, said the decrease was ‘a significant percentage, which has placed our sales volume back to that of 2005, but Rioja remains a revered name in Spain and the rest of the world.’

He added Rioja would not lose market share to competitors. ‘At the end of the crisis, DOC Rioja will be strengthened and in a better position than the rest of the Spanish regions.’

The UK was Rioja’s largest customer in 2008, importing 28m litres of wine – 36% of the region’s total output.

In Castilla-La Mancha, over the same period last year, wine exports increased by 19%.

DO Rias Baixas, in north-western Spain, also reported an ‘exponential increase’ in sales to important markets such as USA, UK, Germany and Mexico.

The Rias Baixas regulatory board said the region had doubled its exports from 1.4m litres to more than 3.3m litres between 2005 and 2008.

Sales in foreign markets rose from €9m to more than €17.7m over the 3 year period.

The Governor for Rural Affairs, Alfredo Suarez Canal said, ‘These figures demonstrate the vitality and leadership of one of the appellations with the most potential and brightest futures in Spain,’ he added.

Written by John Abbott

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