I’m starting to get the rhythm of eating, drinking & no sleep. We are becoming seasoned soldiers marching through, vineyards, wineries, lunches, dinners and many bottles of wine. My internal clock adjusted very well to Spanish Time. That means beer with a Spanish omelette at breakfast, a five course lunch with lots of wines. An hour or two siesta of sorts, usually on the bus to more activities until close to midnight, then a big dinner til 2 or 3am and a few short hours of sleep. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Bilbao | Rioja
Bodegas Muga was one of the first wineries in Rioja to open its doors to tourists. The attractive stone and wood building dates back two centuries, and provides visitors with a quality learning experience about the wine, and the wider context in which it is made. The cellars also contain their own cooperage, allowing visitors to learn also about the process of barrel making, so central to the Muga style of wine.
The Remenetxe restaurant in is well regarded for its international wine list and its relaxed and straight-forward approach to teaching wine culture to its customers. Housed in a traditional 19th century farmhouse, converted in 1986 but retaining its rustic stone walls and wooden beams, there are over 600 wines on the list from
Hotel Hospedería Villa de Ábalos is located in the small surrounded by a number of both small and large vineyards and wineries. This 17th century hotel has been particularly rewarded for its efforts to make guests feel a part of the local experience by both arranging visits and wine tastings, and more hands-on experiences such as helping with the harvest.
A beautiful chateau-style winery located in, the Martínez Bujanda family have roots in Rioja dating back to 1889, and have created a wine museum that explains the culture and techniques that have been used in Rioja over the past centuries. Finca Valpiedra also has a renowned private art collection, and has extensive facilities for holding exhibitions and other cultural events, from a traditional 19th century cellar to modern.
Also known as CVNE, this company owns three ground-breaking estates in Rioja; Vina Real, Cune and Contino. Most of its cellars, and wineries, were built in the 19th century, and a modern design ethic has been introduced. One of the most striking parts of their buildings in an ageing cellar built by Gustave Eiffel.
The wine routes around Rioja allow visitors to experience everything from the most contemporary architecture-led bodegas to 18th century underground cellars, and stop at restaurants and gourmet cafes along the way. The momentum behind this came from this association, who encouraged the different players involved in winery tourism to work together.