Spain boasts a rich and ancient winemaking tradition. With a wide variety of indigenous grapes, diverse climates and a passion for viticulture, this country has become one of the most popular wine tourism destinations in the world. From the cool, green lands of Rías Baixas to the sunny, warm hills of Jerez, Spain offers an unparalleled wine tourism experience. In this article, we will explore some of Spain’s wine regions, their distinctive features as well as activities to do and places worth visiting.
1. The elegance of Rioja
La Rioja region is one of Spain’s most iconic wine tourism destinations. Known for its world-class red wines, Rioja is located in northern Spain, along the Ebro River passing through the provinces of La Rioja, Alava, Navarra and Burgos. There are three production sub-zones that make up the D.O.Ca Rioja, each with its own characteristics that make them slightly different: Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa and Rioja Oriental.
The famous Rioja wines are usually balanced and elegant, with notes of red fruits, vanilla, and spices. The cellars offer visits to learn about the winemaking process as well as providing different types of wine tastings, which satisfy all tastes.
In addition to visits to wineries with wine tastings, you can explore its picturesque towns. For example, you can tour the capital of the autonomous community of La Rioja, Logroño, its cobblestone streets, the cathedral, the co-cathedral and the Old Town, as well as go for tapas on its famous Laurel Street. You can also visit Haro, the capital of the Rioja Alta, and the beautiful medieval village of Laguardia, capital of the Rioja Alavesa. You can also visit monuments such as the Monasteries of Suso and Yuso, World Heritage Sites, where more than a thousand years ago, monks wrote the first words in the Romance language, or enjoy wonderful views of the landscape of the Rioja vineyards, the course of the Ebro River and the Sonsierra from the viewpoint of the Castle Fortress of San Vicente de la Sonsierra.
2. The grandeur of Ribera del Duero
The Ribera del Duero, which stretches between the provinces of Soria, Burgos, Segovia, and Valladolid, is an unmissable destination for wine lovers. It is home to some of the most intense and powerful red wines in Spain, with 2000 years of history.
The wines of Ribera del Duero, where the Tempranillo grape stands out, are known for their structure, body, and notes of black fruits. Modern or century-old wineries offer memorable wine tasting experiences.
Explore the impressive landscape of the Ribera del Duero and its magical villages, admire the architecture of wineries designed by renowned architects, visit places like the Castle of Peñafiel, the enigmatic Bodega de las Ánimas in Aranda de Duero or the Stone Bridge of La Vid. Also try the local gastronomy in Peñaranda de Duero, such as the roast lamb roasted in a wood-fired oven.
3. The charm of Jerez
This sunny region of Andalusia, steeped in history and tradition, is famous for its sherry wine. The Jerez-Xérès-Sherry Denomination of Origin is located in a privileged enclave in the northwest of the province of Cadiz, in a geographical triangle formed by 3 towns: Sanlúcar de Barrameda, El Puerto de Santa María and Jerez de la Frontera.
The wines of Jerez range from fortified wines to sweet wines: Manzanilla, Fino, Amontillado, Palo Cortado, Pedro Ximénez, Moscatel, among others.
If you choose this destination, you can attend an entertaining flamenco show or go to the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art to witness a wonderful equestrian show. You can also explore the city of Jerez de la Frontera and its Alcazar, go to see a sunset at a winery in Puerto de Santa Maria or visit one of the Pueblos Blancos in the region. Weather permitting, you can also enjoy the beaches of Cadiz.
4. Rías Baixas and its refreshing whites
The Rías Baixas region in Galicia is famous for its white wines such as Albariño. Rías Baixas has five sub-zones such as Val de Salnés, O Rosal, Condado de Tea and Soutomaior in the province of Pontevedra and Ribeira do Ulla in the north of this province and the south of Coruña.
Rías Baixas wines are fresh, fruity and with bright acidity. This coastal area has a cool and humid environment, ideal for growing white grapes. As already mentioned, Albariño is the queen variety of this region.
Pair the wines with fresh seafood, discover the beautiful beaches of the region, visit the thermal village of Isla de La Toja. Explore the maritime city of Pontevedra or villages like Combarro famous for its agricultural constructions called hórreos or Cambados, famous for its Albariño festival. You can also stroll through the historic center of Santiago de Compostela, declared World Heritage Site.
5. Basque Country: the northern wine revelation
The Basque Country, located in northern Spain, is a region that has begun to stand out in the world of wine tourism in recent years. While known primarily for its culture, its natural beauty of sea and mountains, and its many Michelin-starred restaurants, this region also offers a unique wine experience.
The native Hondarrabi Zuri grape is used to produce the region’s characteristic white wines such as Txacoli. These wines are usually fresh and with a saline touch, perfect for pairing with delicious Basque dishes. There are three Denominations of Origin for Txacoli: Getaria, Bizcaia and Alava.
Explore the traditional family wineries and cooperatives in a privileged environment surrounded by nature. Enjoy wine tastings and take advantage of the wide and impressive gastronomic and cultural offer of the region. You can visit the famous Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and go for pintxos in the streets of San Sebastian. You can visit towns like Guetaria and Zarauz or head towards the French border to Fuenterrabía. You can also go to San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, a picturesque islet.
Passion for Spain
Wine tourism in Spain is a unique experience that combines the passion for wine with the rich culture, history, and natural beauty of the country. At Viavinum we can offer you more details and ideas on how to make the most of these routes in a truly exciting country.