Nearly 100 trade members came together last month to sample the offerings from 26 wineries at the 9th Annual Spanish Wine Cellar, hosted by Wines from Spain. Held at Tom Collichio’s Riverpark Restaurant in the Alexandria Center in NYC, producers showcased wines from 18 regions throughout Spain to a top tier group of importers, distributors, sommeliers and retailers. The day kicked off with a new addition to the annual tasting—The ImporterConnect Matchmaking Event—that paired importers with wineries.
“Spanish wines are a rapidly growing category in the U.S., and we believe it to be a result of the incredible quality coming from our country, as well as the dramatic shift of the American wine drinker toward exploration and trial,” remarked Angel Martín Acebes, Senior Trade Commissioner, Trade Commission of Spain in New York.
Spain has now become the second largest wine producer in the world, and Spanish wine imports into the U.S. are showing tremendous growth: 12% in volume and 8% in value, per Nielsen. Though the category is growing, wineries still face a major challenge to get the attention of prospective importers. According to Katrin Naelapaa, Director of Wines from Spain, “The increased demand on our wines has opened the door to entry for many more of the country’s producers who are crafting some of the best wines in the world. The Spanish Wine Cellar provides a platform on which U.S. wine importers seeking to start or expand their Spanish portfolio can meet and interact with these wineries in an intimate and convenient setting.”
The new matching system implemented at this year’s event was based on a comprehensive database of active U.S. wine and spirit importers. The database was enhanced with detailed profiles of the wineries and importers, and the data was then used to match suppliers with importers based on both parties’ expressed needs and interests.
“We worked closely with Wines from Spain to educate the suppliers on the complexities of the U.S. market through a custom webinar, supplemented with individual consultations with each of the wineries,” said Steve Raye, Managing Partner of Brand Action Team. “The net result is that this year’s program has become a precedent-setting, and more efficient and effective system for connecting importers and suppliers.”
The matchmaking event took place from 10:30-12:30 at Riverpark Restaurant, with the walk-around tasting following at 1PM. The selection of wines presented at the Spanish Wine Cellar represented 18 regions: well-known D.O.’s, such as Cava, Rías Baixas, Ribera del Duero, Rioja, and La Mancha; and lesser-known ones such as the Tacoronte-Acentejo in the Canary Islands, Cigales, Utiel-Requena and Rueda. Food was provided by Riverpark and included a selection of Spanish cheeses, charcuterie and tapas.