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Juan Jesús Valdelana, the owner of the winery that bears his family’s name, is as much a philosopher as a winemaker. Witness the following statement:
“When a wine maintains a clearly lower than average level of asymmetric fluctuation, old principles of harmony stand out that human thought has always identified with beauty. Wine has given me a lot in my life although nothing can match the beauty of friendship that we offer you. Come and visit us.”
Bodegas Valdelana, in the village of Elciego in Rioja Alavesa, is right behind the huge Marqués de Riscal winery/hotel complex, but it should not be overlooked by the discerning wine tourist. It offers everything a visitor could ask for, and more. It’s no wonder that Valdelana received a “Best Of Wine Tourism award in the Art and Culture category in 2017.
The 16th century chapel at Valdelana
The current winery houses a treasure trove of history – it was built on top of a 16th century winery that the Valdelana family has lovingly restored, featuring a chapel from 1583. Not to be missed are the underground vineyard, the tunnel of the senses and an ethnographic museum, with wine-related artifacts from prehistoric times to the present day found in the Alavesa region and a photographic display taking the visitor through the winemaking process from the tilling of the soil to the end product.
One of the stellar (in the full sense of the word) wine tourism programs is “Stars and Wine” in June and July, when Juan Jesús Valdelana takes visitors to the winery’s ‘Garden of varietals’ at night for an explanation of the relationships between the constellations, wine history and culture.
To round off the wine tourism experience, next door to the winery, Valdelana offers visitors several fully equipped apartments.