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Visitors to Rioja can find much more than wine inside the winery walls. Two of the most outstanding examples are the Ontañón Winery and Museum and the Vivanco Museum of Wine Culture.
Ontañón’s motto is “Passion for vineyards, passion for wine and passion for art”. To visit the winery and museum just outside Logroño is to immerse oneself in the Pérez Cuevas family’s collection of paintings and sculptures created by artist Miguel Ángel Sainz depicting the role of wine in Greek mythology.
The Vivanco Museum is a worldwide reference showcasing the Vivanco family’s passion for collecting wine-related artwork, winemaking implements, and the history of wine and wine culture spanning over 8,000 years.
The museum occupies a 13,000 square foot space, with five permanent exhibition halls and a hall for temporary shows such as the recent Picasso and wine exhibit that featured 22 works from the family collection, some of which were publicly displayed for the first time.
Other wineries, such as Finca Valpiedra and Murua, feature family art collections.
Architecture is a prevalent art form in Rioja and winery architecture is one of our region’s most sought-after attractions. Many of the most interesting structures, like Bodega Conde de los Andes and Bodegas Lecea, are underground with a honeycomb of corridors excavated by hand, some as early as the late medieval period.
The mid-nineteenth century vinification and aging cellars at the Marqués de Riscal, Marqués de Murrieta, Franco-Españolas, La Rioja Alta and López de Heredia wineries are historical monuments attesting to the transition of Rioja from small family cellars to winemaking on a more industrial scale to create international demand.
The end of the 20th century witnessed an explosion of winery construction projects designed by well-known architects such as Canadian Frank Gehry (Hotel Marqués de Riscal), Spain’s Santiago Calatrava (Bodegas Ysios) and Iraqi Zaha Hadid (the visitors’ center at R. López de Heredia Viña Tondonia).
Music in wineries is a popular event in Rioja. The MUWI (Music and Wine Festival) at Bodegas Franco-Españolas in Logroño features the best indie music with food and Rioja wine. The 2019 festival takes place from August 29th through September 1.
The Rioja and the Five Senses program, a popular series of events that runs throughout the year, offers concerts in wineries together with tastings and ‘tapas’.