A True Understanding of Branding

Design, wine and great people. Three of my favourite things all together in one place. After years of dreaming of visiting the Rioja region I finally got there this Summer. A big thank you here to Aidan from McHughs Off Licence for arranging the trip. And what a trip it was!

Our visit to the Bodega Rioja Vega began in Logroño, Northern Spain where we were greeted by Luis Marculeta, their Export Area Manager. Luis went above and beyond when he collected us from our hotel in Logroño to bring us to the bodega, which was founded in 1882.

This is where the brand experience began. Luis told us the story of the bodega from its early days, right through to the exciting innovations that they have happening today. It was apparent from the start, that not only Luis but the other people we met in this charming bodega hold the business in a place of deep affection and pride. 

The bodega has a rich history in winemaking. Knowing my interest in brand design, Luis showed us bottle labels from the past and present and told us how the visuals for the brand developed. Throughout the visit, there were many explanatory graphics making the processes clearly and easily understood. 

We got to learn about the importance of the control of the production of wines from the Rioja region. The Control Board, which includes the grape growers, the winemakers, and the admin representatives, is in charge of ensuring compliance with the DO standards. This protects the type and quality of Rioja wines. They employ a security system, a first in the world of wine, in order to guarantee the authenticity of Rioja wine back labels and seals. Always check for these labels on the reverse of the Rioja wine you are buying to make sure you are buying the best possible quality Rioja.

After our extensive tour of the bodega, came the much-anticipated wine tasting. And of course, that was well worth the wait. The white Tempranillo is going to be a hugely popular wine. The Reservas were delicious and it was impossible to pick a favourite – even though we tried them all – to be sure! 

After the wine tasting came the trips to the incredible tapas bars of Logroño with someone who actually knew the best places to go – where the locals go. We feasted on tortillas, squid, mushrooms and steak in four different tapas bars and all matched with the perfect wines. I think I may be becoming Spanish! Perfect food in perfect company.

In the words of the brand strategist Marty Neumeier, A brand is what customers say it is. So in the case of this very happy customer, the Bodega Rioja Vega brand works across the board – the people, the place, the packaging designs and of course, the products, are all winners!

Thank you Rioja Vega and Luis for a memorable trip and we will continue to be regular customers of your delicious wines which are so handily available to us in our local McHughs Off Licence!