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Minister, Luis Planas, wanted to personally present this recognition to the 50 approved producers.
To mark the recent publication in the Official State Gazette of the recognition of the first “Viñedos Singulares”, and as he did last February, the acting Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Luis Planas, this morning visited the headquarters of the Regulatory Board for the La Rioja Qualified Denomination of Origin, to personally acknowledge the first operators to decide to certify specific locations for the production of “Viñedo Singular” wines.
In addition to Minister Planas, the event was also attended by the President of the Government of La Rioja, Ms. Concha Andreu, the delegate of the Government of Spain in La Rioja, Mr. José Ignacio Pérez, the Director General for Agricultural Productions and Markets at the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Ms. Esperanza Orellana and the Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural World, Territory and Population of La Rioja, Ms. Eva Hita, among other authorities.
The event kicked off with an introduction by the president of the DOCa Rioja, Mr. Fernando Salamero, who showed his appreciation for the visit and highlighted the continuing response of the Denomination of Origin to the concerns and expectations of consumers, professionals, prescribers and producers. “Rioja continues to take steps and proves to be a dynamic and vibrant brand that adapts to new times. It is a brand that is demanding and rigorous in terms of traceability, that offers increasingly reliable information on the specific origin of wines on its labels, highlighting the authenticity of its roots.” Salamero once again stressed “how the standard of quality wines and, in particular, our peculiar way of zoning is setting the trend that other regions will soon follow.”
Salamero recalled Rioja’s pioneering nature: “in 1925 we became the country’s first Designation of Origin, in 1991 we were pioneers once again by being recognised as Qualified and today, Rioja is once again consolidating this courageous and pioneering nature with ‘Viñedo Singular’ wines.”
The Minister, in turn, wished to congratulate the promoters for the “efforts they have made”. He stressed that the commitment to quality and authenticity gives Rioja wines the highest level of excellence and recognition, “delving into the best of what our family traditions have to offer”.
He also expressed his gratitude to all the professionals who, through their dedication and determination, have made it possible for this project, as unique as its vineyards, to be brought to fruition within a Protected Designation of Origin.
Planas thanked all the professionals who, through their hard work and daily effort, make it possible for this Denomination of Origin, the oldest in Spain (since 1925) and the first to obtain the Qualified category (in 1991), to continue to be synonymous with the highest quality.
After the meeting, and in a more informal setting, the distinguished promoters and representatives of the Rioja wine industry had the chance to exchange opinions with the delegation accompanying the Minister.
These new steps mean that the evolution of this certification, which began last century by identifying the wines produced within the Denomination, has led to the specification of traceability to small plots or rural sites. These certifications are made up of one or more cadastral plots, with their own uniform agro-geological and climatological characteristics that set them apart from other plots in the surrounding area, resulting in wines with unique features and qualities.
This is the culmination of a process that was launched in mid-2017 when the decision was taken to add the possibility of identifying a more specific origin for certain wines to the Product Specifications for the Rioja Qualified Designation of Origin, which are certified by the Regulatory Board. The combination of qualitative requirements and geographical traceability will enrich the outstanding range of blended wines on which Rioja’s reputation is founded.
This new, smaller geographical indication has received a response of 50 owners of 84 vineyards, totalling 154 hectares, to which just over twenty projects will be added by 2020, culminating in a total area of 200 hectares.
They were defined as wines from vineyards that are at least 35 years old and whose yields, naturally and by virtue of their naturally limited vigour, do not exceed 5,000 kg per hectare for red grape varieties and 6,922 kg for white grape varieties. In addition, they are limited to a maximum 65% grape-to-wine ratio, cultivation must be environmentally friendly and manual harvesting methods must be used.
It is also worth highlighting that the wine must pass two tastings at two different stages; the first after fermentation and a second one prior to market release. at this moment it should be considered to be excellent by a majority of the tasters evaluating it.
The back labels that will guarantee these wines will include the “Viñedo Singular” seal, certifying all these points. This will enable consumers to know that all the characteristics described are certified by the Regulatory Board.
As part of an ambitious campaign to communicate the new geographical indications of the DOCa Rioja both in Spain and abroad, on 30 September the Regulatory Board organised a promotional event at the Lázaro Galdiano Museum in Madrid, where it presented the first eight Viñedo Singular wines that would soon be released on the market, to around one hundred prescribers.
The samples presented aroused the interest of industry professionals who have been awaiting the arrival of these new certifications since 2017. On 28 October, at the Amat Tower in Barcelona, professionals from the region also had the opportunity to taste these first samples.
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