The DOCa Rioja has kept its sales over 355 million bottles for the third year in a row, with exports growing by 5.5%, offsetting the decline in sales in Spain.
This has been attributed to a continued rise in demand in export markets, with record export sales close to 100 million litres – almost four out of 10 bottles sold by the wine region.
China continues to show the largest growth, rising to seventh place among importers of Rioja, with the UK standing above the rest accounting for one-third of total exports – totalling 32.7 million litres in 2012, a growth of 6.8%.
In 2012, Rioja exports maintained the positive trend of the two previous years, with successive sales record figures totalling 34% growth in three years, bringing it very close to achieving the current 100 million-litre target.
Despite today’s difficult economic climate, Rioja continues to make inroads in its strategic markets, which account for over 80% of global wine consumption – where Rioja is the undisputed leader among Spanish wine regions.
Crianza red is the best-selling Rioja, closely followed by reds with a generic label. Reserva wines are also on the rise in foreign markets and export sales figures (26 million litres) are almost double those in the domestic market (16 million litres). The overall proportion of barrel-aged wines surpasses 60% of total red wine sales. This is thanks to a specialisation strategy that has required significant investments by wineries, but has allowed Rioja to achieve a better position than its competitors in added-value segments.