Ten Reasons Why Rioja is a Great Wine Destination

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  • Rioja, located in the Ebro river valley between two majestic mountain ranges, offers visitors spectacular landscapes, dotted with a patchwork of vineyards, rivers and rolling hills.

 

  • We are a compact region, measuring 120 km by 60 km (72 by 36 miles), making it easy to discover.

 

  • There are more than 200 wineries open to wine tourists, all of which guarantee a covid-free experience. Enjoy a winery tour, a tasting or just have a glass of wine or two and some tapas on the terrace of a winery as an aperitif before lunch or ‘tardeo’, Spain’s version of ‘after work’.

"Tapas Sunday.  What a success!" At Bodegas Valdemar. (P: Bodegas Valdemar)

  • We have a wide range of places to eat Riojan, Basque and international cuisine, in Michelin-starred eateries, tapas bars and cozy family restaurants.                     

Patatas bravas (spicy potatoes). One of our favorite tapas. (P:  T. Perry)

  • There are a growing number of specialized winery tour companies but it’s easy to self-drive to the wineries around the region.

 

  • Rioja wineries reflect the history of wine culture in our region.  You can visit 16th century underground cellars, 19th century wineries built with      blocks of ashlar stones cut by stonemasons from Galicia and spectacular designs created by some of the world’s most famous architects.

Ancient underground cellars at Bodegas Casa Primicia in Laguardia (P:  T. Perry)

 

The Marqués de Riscal Hotel, part of the winery's City of Wine (P: Marqués de Riscal)

  • When you’re not enjoying wineries, you can visit beautiful villages such as Ezcaray, Laguardia and Briones to enjoy churches with ornate gilded altars, narrow cobblestoned streets and palaces with heraldic family crests.

The covered porch at the Santa María de los Reyes church in Laguardia, featuring the Twelve Apostles (P: T. Perry)

  • You can visit world heritage sites like the monasteries of Suso and San Millán de la Cogolla (a World Heritage site), castles including Clavijo, San Vicente de la Sonsierra, Davalillo, Agoncillo, Cuzcurrita, and Sajazarra.  These last two are the headquarters of Rioja wineries.

The monastery of San Millán de la Cogolla, a World Heritage Site (P:  Monasterio de San Millán)

9)    You can take a hot air balloon ride, hike, cycle through the vineyards and along mountain trails, and play golf on one of our championship courses.

The Logroño Golf Club, a links course, site of the 2020 Spanish PGA Championship

  • Enjoy our hospitality.  As a historic land of transit between regions along the Pilgrims’ Route to Santiago de Compostela, we are famous for being open and welcoming to visitors.

Tapas prepared by Bodegas Ontañón for wine tourists in their vineyard on Mt. Yerga in Rioja Oriental (T. Perry) 

 

Tom Perry, Inside Rioja