Wine Tourism in La Rioja

One of Spain´s most famous designations of origin is without question the Rioja region; with a great tradition and some of the most famous wine cellars of our country, wine tourism in La Rioja is definitely an unforgettable experience.

The Rioja Qualified Designation of Origin (D.O.Ca Rioja)

La Rioja

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With more than 148.000 acres the Rioja qualified designation of origin extends along the course of the Ebro river through the provinces of La Rioja, Alava, Navarra and Castilla and León, occupying more than 100 kilometers in length.

The entire zone benefits from the confluence of two climates as disparate as the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, that are characterized by mild temperatures and annual rainfall slightly higher than 400 l/m2, which makes a very adequate territory for the cultivation of the vineyard.  

Because of its different characteristics it is common to distinguish three sub-areas of production:    

Upper Rioja

It is located in the westernmost part of the Autonomous Community of La Rioja; in this territory there is a prevailing Atlantic climate influence, and calcareous, ferrous and clay soils in its majority.

Lower Rioja

This is the easternmost part of the territory that covers the designation of origin.  This climate, on the other hand, is predominantly Mediterranean, drier and warmer, with alluvial and ferrous soils.

The Rioja Alavesa

This part of the designation of origin is located in the lands of Álava and Navarra.  It is characterized by an Atlantic influenced climate with higher degrees of precipitation, and calcareous soils.

These favorable orographic characteristics allow for a production of 250 million liters annually, of which approximately 85% are reds.

The Rioja grapes

The establishment of the Regulating Council of the D.O. in 1925, brought the authorization of different varieties of red and white grapes.

Red grape

The Tempranillo is emphasized because it is an enologically versatile variety and capable of producing long-ageing wines with a great balance in color, alcoholic content and acidity.

This main variety is complemented in this designation of origin by others like the Garnacha tinta (Grenache) and the Graciano.  We can also find Mazuelo and Maturana Tinta.

White grape

In the group of authorized grapes for the production of white wine, the main one is the Viura, that makes fruity wines with a notable degree of acidity, indicated for young whites as well as for aging.  There are also others like the Malvasia de la Rioja, Garnacha blanca, Tempranillo blanca, Maturana blanca, Tarruntés, Chardonnnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Verdejo.

Some wine tourism activities in La Rioja

This is one of the regions with the greatest range of wine tourism activities.

We should emphasize that some of the wine cellars in the region have been designed by the most famous architects in the international scene.  An example is the Ysios winery that was designed by Santiago Calatrava, and the Marqués de Riscal winery that was designed by Frank Ghery, so a trip to this region could become an excellent contemporary architecture learning experience.

We can also visit the wine cellars, taste the wines, experiment with wine-pairing or take a cultural or gastronomy route, as well as experiment with the wine harvest tradition, discovering the grape gathering and wine making method.

We know what activities you shouldn´t miss such as visits to the Suso and Yuso monasteries, a visit to Santo Domingo de La Calzada and of course, Laguardia or Logroño will be waiting for you with open arms!

San Millán de la Cogolla