Bilbao | Rioja

The entire Rioja region is a great romantic destination, with its spectacular scenery of two majestic mountain ranges framing undulating hills with their patchwork of vineyards, picturesque villages, bike trails, hiking, hundreds of wineries, Michelin-starred restaurants and tapas bars.

The latest issue of 1843, the lifestyle magazine belonging to the Economist group features an article profiling the gastronomic scene in Bilbao, considered a worthy rival of its neighbor to the east and football rival San Sebastian.

One of the stars is chef Eneko Atxa's Azurmendi restaurant in Larrabetxu, with its avant-garde design reflecting Atxa's philosophy toward food.

Azurmendi received a 'Best Of Wine Tourism' award in 2008 from the Great Wine Capitals Global Network.

BODEGAS LECEA

The small winery Bodegas Lecea, without the resources of the large winemakers groups, has carried out, with effort and dedication, an impressive work of recovering abandoned underground wine cellars in Cerrillo Verballe of San Asensio, La Rioja.

CONDE DE LOS ANDES

In the wine cellar district of Ollauri, three old buildings and a spectacular plot of underground caves hold Bodegas Ollauri - Conde de los Andes. Since 2014 this winery assumes the legacy of the old Paternina.

Spain’s Royal Academy of Gastronomy recently announced its 2016 National Gastronomy Prizes for 2016.

Carlos Echapresto, co-owner and sommelier of the one Michelin-starred Venta Moncalvillo in La Rioja received the award for the best sommelier.  Echapresto is an internationally recognized wine specialist with a particularly deep knowledge of wines from the DOCa. Rioja.  The cellars house over 1300 different wines from all over the world.  The Academy emphasized Echapresto’s work as a tireless lecturer and promoter of Rioja wines.

The Rioja Regulatory Council recently announced that it had joined the steering committee of Bilbao-Rioja as part of the Great Wine Capitals Global Network.

Fernando Salamero, president of the Council and administrative/finance director of Marqués de Riscal, winner of several Best Of Wine Tourism awards remarked, “The Council’s joining the Bilbao-Rioja partnership as part of our strategic plan should provide an important push to wine tourism in the Rioja region, giving us a more global vision.”

Ricardo and José Miguel Arambarri of the Vintae group are well known in the Rioja region for their novel approach to wine marketing.  So it was no surprise that they were the driving force behind Wine Fandango. This wine, tapas and cocktail bar and restaurant has quickly become one of Logroño’s favorite watering holes and received a special jury award at the Bilbao-Rioja 'Best Of Wine Tourism awards ceremony.

Bodegas Ramón Bilbao, in Haro in the heart of Rioja Alta, came up with the right idea with the creation of the Oculus Virtual Reality Experience that earned the winery a 2017 ‘Best Of Wine Tourism’ award for Innovative Wine Tourism from the Great Wine Capitals Global Network.

Using goggles, Oculus takes the visitor on a virtual journey that follows the progress of a grape from its birth to a wine glass.  It reflects Ramón Bilbao’s commitment to technological innovation to explain the winemaking process in an original, enjoyable way that is attractive to today’s tech savvy consumer.

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