Spanish wine is better positioned than ever to compete internationally

Javier Pagés. Image courtesy Barcelona Wine Week.

Barcelona Wine Week is preparing its 2024 event, which has been sold out since last July. In record time, more than 850 wineries and 70 Designations of Origin have confirmed their participation to present their latest products, reach buyers from all over the world and analyse the main challenges facing the industry: from valuation to adaptation to the climate emergency.

In the lead up to the event, Javier Pagès, president of Barcelona Wine Week and D.O. Cava, shed light on the current Cava situation, detailing how the wine could strengthen its marketing to improve value, and explaining the success of Barcelona Wine Week.

Discussing climate change, Pagès said that both short and long-term solutions were needed to address the effects on the wine industry.

“As part of climate change, drought is putting the industry in great difficulty, although it has not affected all territories equally. This is a serious concern that requires different solutions. Some are short-term, such as those that have had to be adopted for this harvest. But long-term changes need to be discussed and adopted because the wine industry will have to live with climate change and incorporate measures in its future plans.”

“Spanish wine has been investing in quality for many years, has developed a great deal of knowledge and has also improved its reach to markets and consumers. The results are here, today it is in a better position than ever to compete internationally for its uniqueness, quality and value.”

Drought has impacted the Cava harvest, but Pagès said that the outlook remained positive.

“On a circumstantial level, Cava is coming to the end of a very poor harvest as a result of the drought and will have to manage this shortage. But Cava is in a good place, sales and markets are growing and, at the same time, it is gaining in value. In addition to this good work, quality sparkling wine is becoming more and more valued and attractive to consumers worldwide. It is growing. This means more competition, but at the same time has the benefits of being a growing market.”

Currently, the industry is facing three major challenges, Pagès explained.

“Valuing the industry remains the main challenge. It is a marathon and needs to be run with consistency and perseverance, without abandoning it and aligning strategies to this objective. Of course, there is also the obvious challenge of making further progress on social, economic and environmental sustainability. And, in terms of results, the key challenges are to continue to grow in internationalisation and, obviously, to attract more and more consumers.”

To highlight the value of Spanish wine, Pagès explained the need for clear marketing.

“Excellence, diversity, authenticity and quality are levers and attributes that explain what Spanish wine is all about. In addition, clear commitment and strategy must be in place that aligns with the objective of valuation. We have to gamble, we can’t be everything, the market doesn’t understand that. We need to take a stand.”

Pagès attributed the popularity of Barcelona Wine Week to a number of factors.

“I believe that Barcelona Wine Week has been able to offer Spanish wineries a quality exhibition with high-level international buyers. A very attractive exhibition for both visitors and exhibitors, as the content of the talks, the tastings, the developments and the speakers are of the highest level, with very inspiring experiences and visions. Furthermore, BWW is the perfect way to immerse yourself in Spanish wine and has a very attractive exhibition model: with its lands (Denominations of Origin), its space for big brands and for small wineries, etc. And, on top of that, it is held in a city, Barcelona, which is a great destination for visitors.”

Explaining how the event is working to attract more international buyers, Pagès continued:

“We work closely with the Spanish Wine Federation, the most prestigious organisation in the industry, whose wineries are clearly exporters and are active in the world’s major markets. And also with ICEX, which has a great reputation, both well-earned and recognised, for its outstanding work in supporting and promoting the food industry and, in particular, Spanish wine. Additionally, Fira de Barcelona itself has enormous know-how in this field, the result of years of experience in organising renowned events. Adding up all these synergies, we successfully invited more than 600 major international buyers at the last event and by 2024 we want to have more than 650.”

“We all face the challenge of the valuation and internationalisation of wine,” said Pagès. “And all together, united, with each of the territories and wineries contributing side by side, we will be able to further strengthen our image and reach more strategic markets in order to continue growing.”

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