D.O. Rueda updates classification system

February 24th, 2020

New classifications and D.O. rules establish a single back label for still white wines and introduce new varieties such as Viognier and Chardonnay. The Denomination of Origin will feature several new categories including “Gran Vino de Rueda.”


January 30, 2020 (NEW YORK) – The Denomination of Origin Rueda (D.O. Rueda), the top white wine region in Spain, has secured approval of a series of modifications to its classification and labeling regulations. The classification system establishes new categories and introduces new grape varieties to the D.O. These updates will be reflected in 2020 and first seen by consumers and trade in the 2019 vintage.

The new grape varieties offer winemakers more opportunities to make unique wines that help distinguish their product in the domestic and export markets. The traditional Verdejo varietal, which is native to the Rueda region, will remain its flagship grape, along with the continued prominence of the Sauvignon Blanc. The updated rules will now allow white wines to include:

  • Viognier: characterized by its floral bouquets
  • Chardonnay: easy to grow in Rueda and highly adaptable to its terroir and different weather conditions



The new classification system updates also include:

  • The merging of the former classifications “Rueda Verdejo,” “Rueda Sauvignon” and “Rueda.” Only one category will be in place for the 2019 still white wine vintage: RUEDA,  still white wines will have a just a single back label.
  • A new category was created: “Gran vino de Rueda.” This category corresponds to wines made with grapes from vineyards over 30 years old, with a yield of less than 6,500 kg per hectare and a 65% processing ratio. These wines can start being produced in the 2020 production season and will carry a unique back label.
  • The concept of “Vino de Pueblo” emerges, that may show the municipality from which the grapes originate, provided that the percentage of grapes from that village is equal to or greater than 85%.
  • Sparkling wines may include the words “gran añada” (excellent harvest) when the production process, from pressing to disgorging, exceeds 36 months. This category must be labeled by harvest year.
  • A new style of wine is included: Rueda Pálido. A traditionally crafted wine in Rueda, it had disappeared from the D.O.’s wine classification system. Thus, the new category recovers a wine made by biological aging and stored in oak barrels for at least three years before being going to market.

D.O. Rueda is implementing the new classification system to open itself further to domestic and international markets and to respond to the new requirements of the Spanish accreditation body, the Entidad Nacional de Acreditación (ENAC).

“All these changes respond to our wineries’ desire to adapt to the market and consumer demands, both nationally and internationally. Now they have more possibilities to stand out in the market and more freedom in winemaking with the D.O. Rueda seal and guarantee of origin. It is also an opportunity for winegrowers to work with new varieties which, according to studies, have proven to adapt perfectly to our climate and soil,” stated Carmen San Martín, President of CRDO Rueda. “This process is the result of the Regulatory Council’s interest in surprising the market with value-added products, always championing the origin of wines and committing to the rigorous quality controls of the D.O. Rueda.”

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About D.O. Rueda

D.O. Rueda was founded in 1980, the first D.O. in Castilla y Leon and is ranked as the top selling white wine region in the Spanish market, according to Nielsen. Situated on a high plateau with a continental climate, Rueda has long cold winters, short springs and hot summers, perfect for the Verdejo grape, the dominant varietal in the region. High elevations and gravelly stone soils allow the Verdejo to ripen by mid-September and develop deep aromas and flavors resulting in dry, fresh wines that are food-friendly and accessible. 

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Rachel Nugent