Spanish champions

The Wines from Spain Fair is now a "must" for anyone in the trade looking for quality and diversity at the right price, with over 200 professionals attending annually
The Wines from Spain Fair is now a "must" for anyone in the trade looking for quality and diversity at the right price, with over 200 professionals attending annually

Generations of experience and tradition go into producing world-class Spanish wine. The Irish palette is fond of the rich texture and diversity of old world wines from our European neighbours, with Spanish wines accounting for 10% of the Irish wine market. Fiona Donnellan looks at some of the major brands retailers should be sure to stock up on


Brand Central

11 September 2013

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At A Glance: Spanish Wine

  •  The wine category still accounts for over a quarter of the alcoholic drinks market throughout Ireland (Source: Mintel, June 2013)
  • Within Spain there are 63 regulated Denominations of Origin and more than 90 grape varieties which include a broad range of high-quality native grapes
  • 81% of wine is sold through off-licences and shops
  • Ten years ago, Spain accounted only for 5.5% of the total wine market in Ireland. Despite the current outlook, the latest figures (Jan – Nov 2012) show that Spanish wines take a stake of 13.5% of the Irish wine market (Source: Wines from Spain)
  • In 2012, the sector contributed €231 million in excise and €215 million in VAT to the government (Source: Irish Wine Association)
  • Excise contributions are equivalent to 27% of the total alcohol excise collected (Source: Irish Wine Association)
  • The Irish public continues to be one of the lowest consumers of wine in Europe at 17 litres per capita, compared with Denmark’s 30 litres (Source: Irish Wine Association)
  • Spanish wine was ranked fifth in the Irish market in 2012 by the Irish Wine Association with a 10% market share and 866,430 cases imported
  • The Irish consumer prefers white wine with 50% of consumers choosing white, 46% red and 4% rose
  • Currently, approximately 50% of the cost of an average bottle of wine goes to the Exchequer (Source: Irish Wine Association)
  • Spain are at altitudes higher than those of any of France’s major wine regions
  • Six hundred grape varieties are grown throughout Spain but just 20 of these cover 80% of the vineyard area
  • Spain has more land under vine than any other country in the world with one million hectares
  • Spain is the third-biggest producer of wine globally


Irish consumers continue to entertain in the home more often rather than go out. A recent report from Mintel shows that with consumers facing financial pressures, entertaining at home is an attractive option for many households. Overall, consumers in Ireland are entertaining at home more than in other countries, likely due to the more challenging economic climate. As the economy starts to show signs of recovery, companies must continue to engage and enthuse consumers about entertaining at home, be it through novelty concepts, recipes, packaging innovations or marketing campaigns which catch consumers’ imagination and inspire more informal entertaining occasions. The wine market gives retailers the perfect opportunity to boost sales. In terms of both quality and quantity, Spain is a world class producer of wines.

Wine sales continue to increase with improved choice for customers. In last December’s budget, the government increased the excise duty on a bottle of wine by €1, a move which was heavily criticised by retailers. 81% of wine is sold through off-licences and shops. European or Old World wines continue to maintain market share with generations of tradition in winemaking. Spanish wine remains in the top ten wine brands in Ireland.

10Years In Ireland Wines from Spain

A decade of success

Over the past ten years, much has changed, grown and evolved in the Irish food and wine scene. Over the decade, Spain has also been transformed from a culinary backwater to a world leader. It is a given that wine is an essential part of Spanish influential gastronomy. Irish consumers have also become aware of the exciting diversity of regions and grapes that make up modern Spain in terms of wine.  

The Wines from Spain Fair is now a "must" for anyone in the trade looking for quality and diversity at the right price, with over 200 professionals attending annually. This year has been the 10th edition of the fair at the Shelbourne Hotel organised by Wines from Spain through the Economic and Commercial Office of the Spanish Embassy. Pop up master-classes and the largest ever selection of Spanish wines in Ireland were part of the exciting day.

With a pressing need to offer a diverse range of varietals and regions at good value, the importers were able to have a first encounter with 10 Spanish wineries looking for distribution. If you are interested in house wines, trendy white grapes such as godello, verdejo or albariño, red grapes such as garnacha, petit verdot or special wines with points of 90 and above by Spanish guru Peñin, then take a look at the selection of wineries: Bodegas Pazo de Villarei, Bodegas Piqueras, Bodegas y Viñedos Don Olegario, Bouza do Rei, Crianzas y Viñedos Santo Cristo, Finca El Refugio, Hijos de Antonio Barceló, Pago de La Jaraba, Roqueta Origen, and Singular Wine Cellars.

In total, 21 Irish importers showcased a whopping number of 300 wines from 155 Spanish wineries available in Ireland at this year’s event. From the fashionable albariños of Rías Baixas, tempranillo wines from Rioja and Ribera to wines made with international grapes, there is always something exciting to add value to your business. The wine importers exhibiting included: Approach Trade, Barry & Fitzwilliam, Boutique Wines, Celtic Whiskey Shop & Wines on the Green, Charlstons Wine, Classic Drinks, Distinctive Drinks, Febvre, Findlater, Gilbeys, James Nicholson, La Rousse, Mackenway, Mitchell&Son, Premium Wine Brands, Quintessential, Searsons, Taserra, Tindal and Vinostito.

To see the most complete guide of Spanish wines available in Ireland and details on the Spanish wineries without distribution, visit

VinaSolCelebrating a golden birthday

Torres is Ireland’s favourite Spanish brand, and this year its famous Viña Sol is an impressive 50 years old. Since 1963 Viña Sol has been loved the world over, always remaining in fashion, and to celebrate, Torres has just released a re-packaged Viña Sol which includes a special anniversary label and a capsule featuring 50 suns, the source of the Mediterranean heat after which Viña Sol is named.

Furthermore a very limited edition premium gift set was released at the end of last month which contains not only a bottle of the anniversary edition Viña Sol, but also a perfect reproduction of the very first bottle of Viña Sol from 1963, a unique innovation typical of the creativity and foresight of Bodegas Torres.

Viña Sol is made from typical Mediterranean varieties, mostly parallada plus other native Catalan grapes, and over the years it has kept up with the tastes of thousands of consumers in more than 80 countries where it is sold. The freshness of Viña Sol is guaranteed by bottling it every week and only upon request, making it the freshest and liveliest white wine on the market. This is how Torres achieves the hallmark of Viña Sol: freshness beyond compare.

The well-established Viña Sol is celebrating its 50th birthday this year with a special, limited edition anniversary label

The well-established Viña Sol is celebrating its 50th birthday this year with a special, limited edition anniversary label

In the 50 years since Viña Sol was first released, its ‘big sister’ was also developed: A blend of Chardonnay and Parellada, Gran Viña Sol was also unique in that it was a pioneer in the production of cask-fermented chardonnay in Spain, a process that gives an intensely aromatic and full-bodied wine with a profusion of flowery notes over a ripe peach background and a hint of fennel.

Alongside this, the Gran Sangre de Toro was also produced as a ‘big brother’ to Viña Sol’s soulmate, the equally popular red Sangre de Toro. A blend of garnacha, cariñena and syrah, Gran Sangre de Toro has spicy blackberry notes which lead onto a savoury palate of game, toast and baked red fruit, with just enough tannin and acidity to support any red meat you throw at it at the last of the summer barbecues. 



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