The Co-op adds Rioja Reserva to its 50cl wine collection

The Co-op is continuing its focus on different wine formats with the addition of a new 50cl bottle of Rioja Reserva.

Producer Ramon Bilbao’s new 50cl format – part of its El Viaje de Ramon range – is available now to the UK off-trade, and it secured an early listing with Co-op stores.

The El Viaje de Ramon collection is an off-trade range, which was launched late last year. It was designed to offer the first step on a consumer’s wine journey (viaje) through the “progressive, innovative side of Rioja”.  Chief winemaker Rodolfo Bastida focused on accessible, fruit-forward styles and the range also comprises a 75cl ‘clarete’ pale pink Rosado (£8.99) and the 50cl El Viaje de Ramon Reserva 2014 (rrp: £7).

Kirsty Loftus, the producer’s UK manager, said: “Reserva is an important category for Rioja. It accounts for 22.4% of all Rioja imports to the UK, almost double that of Crianza (DOCa Rioja stats to November 2018) and is a proven stepping stone towards the more premium wines from the region. Our El Viaje de Ramon range combines our passion for innovation and meeting consumer needs – be it for pale pink rose or a mid-week drinking format – and is a key tool to recruit new consumers to explore everything Ramon Bilbao, and Rioja, has to offer.”

The 100% Tempranillo wine has been produced as an approachable style of Rioja Reserva with medium body and soft tannins, yet with flavours that are typical of an aged Tempranillo from this region.

Loftus said: “We are fortunate at Ramon Bilbao to won some quality vineyards at altitude in Rioja Alta and have older vines that are perfect for wines that need ageing. We want to make sure that the quality of the fruit is enhanced by time in barrel, not overwhelmed by it.”

Ramon Bilbao is currently the best-selling brand in the Spanish on-trade and is one of the fastest growing Rioja brands in the off-trade (+29%) in its competitive set, according to Nielsen data. The producer has been owned by the Zamora Company since 1999 and it is distributed by Enotria&Coe in the UK. 

Different fomats continues to be a focal point for the Co-op. The retailer continues to add wines to its 37.5cl wine collection, and more recently it has added 50cl wines. Within these smaller formats it has also been focusing on adding more premium variants to encourage trial. Wine in cans and larger formats, such as bag-in-box, are also part of the Co-op's line up. 

Aldi, Waitrose and Tesco have also been trialling smaller formats of wine over the past 18 months.