Rebecca Boyd is a Wine Buyer in the Spain & Portugal categories for Total Wine & More, one of America’s largest wine retailers. Total Wine & More has 196 stores across 23 states—which also makes it one of the largest Spanish wine retailers in the country as well! Wines from Spain recently sat down with Rebecca to talk about trends in wine retail, the wide range of pairing opportunities for Spanish wines, and new educational programs that promise to make the shopping experience at Total Wine more rewarding than ever.
Tell us about your Spanish wine selection and what you’re seeing in stores around the country.
Rioja is always going to be a big portion of what we see in the Spain aisles. Though Cava doesn’t sit in our Spain aisle, it is such a huge portion of Spain, and we continue to see sparkling wines trending. What is really great to see is some of the other Spanish regions popping up that produce some amazing wines that customers might not have explored yet. There is a lot of exploring potential out there in Spain right now, especially at some great values, like Rías Baixas (Albariño) and Jumilla.
This spring, Wines From Spain and Total Wine are launching an educational and awareness program. Can you walk us through what consumers can expect to see in-store when they venture through the Spanish wine aisle?
Super excited about this! We partnered with Wines From Spain to create a whole new experience when walking down the Spanish aisle in some of our stores by using fun, creative, educational signage that is eye catching and a very quick rundown of Spanish wine to our customers. Spain is one of the more approachable import categories in my opinion, but I think working on fun ways to make it even less intimidating to a customer who is looking to explore will continue to drive the business forward.
Total Wine is a beer, wine and spirits retailer, but talking about wine in the context of food is still critical to educate and sell to modern consumers. How does Total Wine use food (pairings, events, etc) in its marketing activations to help consumers understand wine better?
Absolutely, food and wine go hand and hand. We utilize food pairing messages to our customers in a multitude of ways. We do discount offers around food pairings during key moments in the year, this is really to help drive customers to try some wines they might have not tried before or offer them a fun food idea for their next dinner party. We also love to utilize the shelf tags on items in the store. Spain is really fun when it comes to the food pairing portion of the reviews we write. Tapas, sushi, grilling galore, Spain pairs with it all!
Speaking about Spanish wine, what are some of your favorite native varieties or regions in Spain?
All of them! But if I had to choose, I am a big fan of Garnacha, super juicy and that right note of spice, it has that mouthwatering quality that I can’t get enough of. A classic Rioja or a big Ribera del Duero are also some of my favorites, you can’t beat the quality for the price in Spain.
With such a large consumer base, Total Wine is on the front line for trends in the market place. What things are people reaching more for than ever before (wine styles, packaging, brands, etc)
Cabernet and Red Blends are doing really well, I think Cabernet as a category is amazing, There are so many different styles, regions, producers that all bring the uniqueness to this category. Red Blends are also really fascinating, this is an area where packaging is key, fun labels stand out and entice a try. I can’t forget about sparkling either. Brunch, celebration, spritzer cocktails are all exciting that people want to reach for. In general, different bottle shapes and bright labels are always something that stand out on the shelves to consumers.
The retail industry at-large is one in a state of flux, but there’s a lot of data that shows that the most successful retailers, like Total Wine, are offering customers more than a marketplace, they are offering them an experience. What sort of experiences is Total Wine offering your customer base?
Shopping is all about experience, I know that first hand. Total Wine & More has always been focused on experience and are always working on ways to continue to enhance it. From our app/website to our Sales Teams to in-store educational classes we offer to the customer, we continue to look for ways to top it. Our Store Teams are extremely knowledgeable when it comes to wine, they are front facing to our customers and really are the ones that make shopping in-store a fun and meaningful experience. Continuing to educate them along with our customers will only aid in those exceptional shopping experiences.
Now for a little about yourself. Tell us how you got started in the wine industry and about the arc of your career in it?
I started my career fresh out of college at Total Wine & More. I received my B.S. in Fashion Merchandising from Kent State University and never would have thought I would end up in the wine industry, but I truly do love it, who couldn’t, it is wine! I have jumped around on different Wine Buying Teams here at Total Wine to really gain an overall understanding of the business and worked my way up to buy our Spain and Portugal portfolio, which is specifically some of my favorite wine to drink, so it works out perfectly for me!
As far as travel goes, what is your favorite place in Spain to visit?
Rioja is amazing. I was always told how fantastic it was, but being there it is beyond words, so beautiful.
Finally, what is your all-time favorite Spanish wine?
I have too many favorites to select one Spanish wine. Valserrano, San Gregorio, Uro Toro are some of my favorite brands out there, I could probably name 20 more brands on top of those as well, from all different areas of Spain that offer completely different, delicious flavors and profiles.
Visit Total Wine & More to explore their Spanish wine offerings.