7 Spain

13 July, 2007

Market share by value: 6.5

per cent

Last year's rank: 6

Last year's market share: 6.7

per cent

Sales value: £290 million


on last year: 0

per cent

Spain is holding its own in the UK, despite losing sixth place to Chile . Some countries would be happy with such a performance, but given the quality of what is being produced on the Iberian Peninsula, from Campo de Borja to La Mancha

and Ribera del Duero to Rías Baíxas,

it really should be doing better.

What explains the downturn

The answer is that, outside Rioja,

own-label and branded sales have had a difficult year. Spain's most famous wine region is motoring and now sells more wine than Bordeaux in the off-trade at

two million cases. This partly explains why Campo Viejo has made further progress as the leading Spanish brand, although quality improvements

are also significant. Faustino, too, has done well, especially given its higher price points.

Apart from Rioja and, to a lesser extent, cava and pink wines, Spain has not yet achieved the sales it deserves. This year's New Wave Spanish Wine Awards highlighted the remarkable quality of the wines from

areas such as Ribera del Duero and Priorat,

and lesser known Jumilla and Campo de Borja.

The combination of old vines and modern technology ought to be a winner, but Spain is still waiting for the great leap forward. The UK doesn't lack adventurous retailers - Waitrose, Tesco and Majestic

all have diverse Spanish ranges.

Spain needs

more adventurous consumers

to look beyond Rioja .

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Wine is a liquid time capsule. Drinking older vintages not only recalls the weather conditions and winemaking styles of the past, it encourages us to reflect upon our own histories. Such reminiscence often inclines towards romanticised nostalgia. Especially after the second bottle. But looking back is a great way of learning about the future.

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