Their success; their ability to effectively communicate about spanish and portuguese wine; their energy to grow and create dynamic, authentic and extraordinary services have attracted hundreds of thousands of iberian wine lovers from around the world.
Joan Gómez Pallarès http://www.devinis.org/

Fashion and Wines from Rioja

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I’ll be the first to admit that fashion eludes me. From the moment I stepped off the plane in Madrid not 2 and half years ago, I’ve found myself at odds with the entire industry. I had read an article last January which described a study conducted by the Spanish government on consumerism, finding that the average Madrileño (a resident of Madrid) spends an average of 2,000 Euros on clothing per year. 2,000 Euros! I never forgot that article because it brought to light the amount of importance Spaniards place on fashion. Madrid, is the epicenter of fashion pumping out designer clothing faster than you can locate a tapas bar – which is every four steps. But designer fashion is also a close associate to class, where only those who have enough cash to spend on a peacock feathered dress can do so, while the rest of us wonder if there have been incidents of cats attacking women who dare wear such bizarre creations on the street. Therefore, it is of no surprise that wine, at one time only sipped upon by the rich and mighty, is still a close bedfellow with fashion.

And although and I have worked hard to demystify wine, making it a closer relative to beer than to Gucci, there still seems to be a tight rope around its image. For whatever reason, there appears to be a desire by the “haves” to keep it away from the “have nots”. And now, more than ever, there is a battle between the common man’s desire to enjoy wine for what it is and the elite who want to shroud it in romance and wealth. A great example of this is a recently published national survey by the Travel Industry Association. It showed that 27 million American travelers, have participated in culinary or wine related activities over the past three years. The report goes on to say that the travelers are not only younger, but better educated and more affluent. Affluence, a word directly related to class, prestige and importance. Whether we talk about the brand name, intricately related to what is currently hip and trendy, such as a Waterford wine glass valued at $60 a pop or a $40 merlot tie, wine will always be considered fashionable.

Spain has been savvy of this fact for years, using designer fashions to market their wines. Last March, “Fashion Week” was held in Burgos, when the top International designers chose 11 wineries to inspire their new line of clothing. In August, La Rioja and Lavinia will join forces in an effort to promote wine wine from Rioja during “Las Noches de San Lorenzo 2007″, an annual cultural event in San Lorenzo, La Rioja, by creating a week long event called, Fashion Wine. The event was created to fuse the wine world with fashion by joining both the famous Cibeles designers with some of the most prestigious Bodegas in La Rioja. The objective is to have the public connect design with quality wine. Antonio Alvarado, Carmen March, Jose Enrique Oña Selfa, Juanjo Oliva and Locking Shoking are the five designers who have created an exclusive collection of labels for Bodegas López de Heredia, Viña Tondonia, Roda, La Rioja Alta S.A., Muga and CVNE. Each Bodega will make a limited number of bottles with the designer label from a harvest of their choice. The bottles will only be available for purchase at Lavinia in Madrid.

Is this good thing? Should fashion and wine be such a tight pair? I suppose if we look aesthetically, one could make the argument that both are inspirations of beauty and passion. One could also make the argument that fashion is an enormous industry, and for the wine market not to utilize its expansive reach would be ludicrous. However, like the Marques Riscal Hotel designed by Frank O’Gehry, if we continue to keep wine in the tight diamond grips of only those who can afford a $1116.40 pair of shoes or a $3,000 Donna Karen dress, it will remain a fine beverage strictly for the haves.

Cheers,

Gabriella

  • nuria

    I agree that the Madrileños are a little obsessed with fashion but when mixed with wine it does make for a glamorous combination that is very tasty if you have many euros… Love your blog.

  • bbennett

    It's ironic that you should post such an article on the same day I received the following e-mail: News for Wine lovers Wal-Mart announced that, effective January 1, 2008, it will begin offering customers a new discount item – Wal-Mart's own brand of wine. The world's largest retail chain is teaming up with Ernest & Julio Gallo Winery of California to produce the spirits at an affordable price, in the $2- $5 per gallon range. Wine connoisseurs may not be inclined to throw a bottle of Wal-Mart brand into their shopping carts, but "there is a market for inexpensive wine," stated Kathy Micken, Professor of Marketing at the University of Arkansas, Bentonville. She said: "But the right name is important." Customer surveys were conducted to determine the most attractive name for the Wal-Mart wine brand. The top surveyed names in order of popularity are: 1 Chateau Traileur Parc 2 White Trashfindel 3 Big Red Gulp 4 World Championship Riesling 5 NASCARbernet 6 Chef Boyardeaux 7 Peanut Noir 8 I Can't Believe it's not Vinegar 9 Grape Expectations 10 Nasti Spumante The beauty of Wal-Mart wine is that it can be served with either white meat (Possum) or red meat (Squirrel). Now, what does this (obviously fake) press release say about wine and class? As I started reading this, I was thinking, great, anything that gets people to start drinking wine is a good thing. A rising tide floats all boats, and the more capital available to a winery, the better chances of rising the overall quality of the wines. Of course, the joke was on me (I hope), as you can see by the house brand names. and the menu recommendations. Please continue to demystify wine. It's a wonderful beverage. I can't wait for Catavino's house wine to be introduced some day!

  • bbennett

    It’s ironic that you should post such an article on the same day I received the following e-mail:

    News for Wine lovers

    Wal-Mart announced that, effective January 1, 2008, it will begin offering customers a new discount item – Wal-Mart’s own brand of wine.

    The world’s largest retail chain is teaming up with Ernest & Julio Gallo Winery of California to produce the spirits at an affordable price, in the $2- $5 per gallon range.

    Wine connoisseurs may not be inclined to throw a bottle of Wal-Mart brand into their shopping carts, but “there is a market for inexpensive wine,” stated Kathy Micken, Professor of Marketing at the University of Arkansas, Bentonville. She said: “But the right name is important.” Customer surveys were conducted to determine the most attractive name for the Wal-Mart wine brand.

    The top surveyed names in order of popularity are:

    1 Chateau Traileur Parc
    2 White Trashfindel
    3 Big Red Gulp
    4 World Championship Riesling
    5 NASCARbernet
    6 Chef Boyardeaux
    7 Peanut Noir
    8 I Can’t Believe it’s not Vinegar
    9 Grape Expectations
    10 Nasti Spumante

    The beauty of Wal-Mart wine is that it can be served with either white meat (Possum) or red meat (Squirrel).

    Now, what does this (obviously fake) press release say about wine and class? As I started reading this, I was thinking, great, anything that gets people to start drinking wine is a good thing. A rising tide floats all boats, and the more capital available to a winery, the better chances of rising the overall quality of the wines. Of course, the joke was on me (I hope), as you can see by the house brand names. and the menu recommendations.

    Please continue to demystify wine. It’s a wonderful beverage. I can’t wait for Catavino’s house wine to be introduced some day!

  • nuria

    I agree that the Madrileños are a little obsessed with fashion but when mixed with wine it does make for a glamorous combination that is very tasty if you have many euros… Love your blog.

  • Gabriella Opaz

    Nuria, I agree with you that seeing wine immersed in aesthetic beauty is extremely tantalizing, but so is seeing someone drinking wine on their sofa chatting with their friends while eating pizza. I am willing to support fashion and wine as long as their is equal attention given to everyday life and wine. Additionally, I want to thank you for your compliment. We love that you are reading our blog and hope we hear more from you in the future!

  • Gabriella Opaz

    Bill, What a fabulous idea! Maybe the label of our house wine will have the infamous "happy dance" on the label, or one of your "non-traditional" haikus!

  • http://www.catavino.net Gabriella Opaz

    Nuria,

    I agree with you that seeing wine immersed in aesthetic beauty is extremely tantalizing, but so is seeing someone drinking wine on their sofa chatting with their friends while eating pizza. I am willing to support fashion and wine as long as their is equal attention given to everyday life and wine. Additionally, I want to thank you for your compliment. We love that you are reading our blog and hope we hear more from you in the future!

  • http://www.catavino.net Gabriella Opaz

    Bill,

    What a fabulous idea! Maybe the label of our house wine will have the infamous “happy dance” on the label, or one of your “non-traditional” haikus!

  • nuria

    Gabriella, Yes, wine and fashion are two on my favorite things and as you can see I list wine first because what would life be without it, fashion is a close second but drinking a great glass of wine in any type of clothing is glamorous in itself..

  • nuria

    Gabriella,

    Yes, wine and fashion are two on my favorite things and as you can see I list wine first because what would life be without it, fashion is a close second but drinking a great glass of wine in any type of clothing is glamorous in itself..

  • Gabriella

    Nuria, It looks from your site that you do appreciate fashion in addition to music, art and dance! Personally, I think drinking a lovely glass of wine while listening to a jazz concert in your neck of the woods, Alicante, sounds wonderful!

  • http://www.catavino.net Gabriella

    Nuria,
    It looks from your site that you do appreciate fashion in addition to music, art and dance! Personally, I think drinking a lovely glass of wine while listening to a jazz concert in your neck of the woods, Alicante, sounds wonderful!