Guía Peñín, the best ambassador for Spanish wines

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Guía Peñín, the best ambassador for Spanish wines

José Peñín, wine expert, in front of the headquarters of the D.O. Rueda Wine Regulatory Board. Photo: EFE/Nacho Gallego. (EFE)
José Peñín, wine expert, in front of the headquarters of the D.O. Rueda Wine Regulatory Board. Photo: EFE/Nacho Gallego. (EFE)

Spain has the largest grape-growing surface area in the world: 954,659 hectares. The vineyards here produce the world-class wines that have earned our country a place among the top three international producers (39.3 million hectolitres) and the number-one exporter (2226 million litres in 2016).

Proof of the global success of Spanish wines worldwide is the interest in the Peñín Guide, available in 32 countries in Spanish, English or German. With 27 editions, it has become one of the most influential guides among wine pros and wine lovers alike.

Peñín Guide to Spanish Wines offers the world’s most comprehensive review of Spanish wines, including about 11,000 wines from 2100 Spanish wineries. All the wines are categorised in terms of origin, price and rating. This is the way in which Spanish wines are reviewed and introduced to the world.

According to Peñín Guide General Manager Adolfo Gatell, ‘the Guide is a major indicator for most importers, or even at tenders in those markets that are state-controlled, as in 13 or 14 US states or Scandinavian countries.’

Now cava wines too

This year, Peñín Guide released Peñín Guide to Cava and Other Sparkling Wines, a handbook gathering all the sparkling wines made in Spain, with over 1000 reviews.

This new guide was published in response to the growing demand from Spanish and international professionals. It reflects the boom of the Spanish cava wine industry, which is present in 140 countries and sold 245.1 million bottles in 2016.

Peñín Guide’s next steps are the development of a mobile app, enabling users to view the Guide’s contents in any mobile device, and an edition for China – a market-specific product focusing on those Spanish wine labels sold in the Asian country.

Passion for wine has driven Peñín Guide beyond Spanish borders. Currently, there are guides to the top Argentine, Chilean and Mexican wines as well.

Thousands of wine tastings every year

Peñín Guide was first launched 28 years ago, when José Peñín, wine seller and lover, got the idea of publishing reviews of the wines he tasted when travelling across Spain. Then he began to rate the wines he tasted. And thus a new wine guide was born.

Today, Peñín Guide is a huge corporation sticking to José Peñín’s simple methods but taking them to the next level. The team begin their work in January, attending regulated tastings organised by the corresponding wine boards. ‘We taste all the wines that come to us, and do not charge anything for the tasting,’ says Mr Gatell.

An international reference

Appearing on Peñín Guide means two things. On the one hand, at the domestic market level, it has to do with competition. “Getting a good review means you are doing better than your competitors or even yourself. This has a positive impact on the quality of Spanish wines at large,” says Adolfo. On the other hand, the Guide promotes the wines with good ratings out of the wide variety of Spanish wines worldwide.

In addition, the online guide is an effective search tool and database, especially in areas where there are no Spanish wine dealers. It has as many as 4000 subscribers already.