The Rioja Wine Academy platform offers official training on Rioja wines to both professionals and enthusiasts
In February 2020 the Control Board created the Rioja Wine Academy platform, an official online school providing training in Rioja wines designed to serve professionals in the industry (sales and distribution teams and wine tourism), wineries and any enthusiasts seeking to acquire knowledge or increase their understanding of Rioja and its wines. Since its launch, more than 12,000 students from 60 countries have received training via the platform, figures which, according to Ana Lópezcano Lamarain, the Control Board’s Head of Global Projects, “fulfil the aim of creating a network of Rioja connoisseurs around the world who are offered free and high-quality training with the guarantee of the Designation’s official seal.”
The tool created by the Control Board incorporates a choice of four interactive and dynamic online courses: ‘Rioja Wine Diploma’, ‘Diploma in Trade and Distribution’, ‘Diploma in Wine Tourism’ and ‘Official Rioja Wines Instructor’. The Rioja Wines Diploma provides general knowledge of Rioja, ranging from the territory, the grape varieties and the different types of wines produced to the official classifications, regulations, gastronomy and history. The aim of the Diploma in Trade is to convey the positioning of Rioja in the domestic and international markets, in addition to establishing the foundations of wine marketing. The Diploma in Wine Tourism outlines the skills required to arrange wine-related experiences and activities, customer service, situation management, terminology in English and a wine service. It isn’t necessary to pass any test for admission to these courses, but an exam must be taken to obtain the diplomas, for which there two chances are given.
The Academy’s training programme includes the Official Rioja Wines Instructor (formerly known as Certified Educator) “a course aimed at a more specialised public which seeks to promote the existence of Rioja instructors in the main importing countries, thus guaranteeing their level of knowledge and the thoroughness of their training discourse.” Certain requirements must be met for admission with preference being given to people who are professionally involved in wine training. As Ana Lópezcano explained, “out of the more than 1,000 applications we received, only 23 people from 8 countries are currently receiving this training.”
Although the platform offers audiovisual contents, videos and interactive tests that make the learning process more enjoyable, intuitive and adaptable to the pace of each user, its Head stated that “it has to be active, and we’ll continue to take steps to provide more opportunities for people who want to know more about Rioja, promoting initiatives such as webinars with prominent international influencers for 2021, in addition to generating more contents.”