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Twenty four wine educators and sommeliers from Germany, China, Mexico, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States, Russia and Sweden received diplomas on April 6 certifying them as Rioja Wine Educators at a ceremony and gala dinner at the Rioja Regulatory Board’s headquarters in Logroño.

The candidates were preselected by Rioja PR agencies in each country, after which they successfully completed an online course about Rioja.  They were also required to demonstrate their tasting skills by identifying different types of Rioja wines.

The group met in Rioja from April 3 through 6 for an intensive study tour of the region, where they visited vineyards and wineries in Rioja Alta, Rioja Baja and Rioja Alavesa. They tasted a wide range of wines, including traditional Rioja blends as well as single varietals of historic Rioja grapes such as tempranillo, garnacha, mazuelo, graciano and viura, wines made from recently approved local varieties maturana tinta, maturana blanca, tempranillo blanco and wines produced from singular vineyards throughout the region.

The final examination included a short presentation on a topic relevant to Rioja education where experts from Rioja evaluated their knowledge  and public speaking skills.

The newly minted Rioja Educators have been tasked with organizing events and seminars for the trade and consumers featuring Rioja in their home markets.

The Rioja Regulatory Board has announced that it plans to launch new Rioja Educators programs in the near future.

-Tom Perry