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Wine tourism is a relatively recent activity for companies in the Rioja region, dating from the 1990s. Today however, more than one hundred wineries entertain tourists with an ever-increasing range of innovative activities.
Bodegas Valdemar in Oyón and the Villa Lucía museum in Laguardia have worked together to raise the bar even higher by becoming the first wine-related businesses in Rioja to develop an extensive all-inclusive program allowing people with disabilities to learn about wine, its history, and the winemaking process without physical, visual or auditory limitations.
This effort recently earned them a 2020 International 'Best Of Wine Tourism' award.
Both properties feature unrestricted access for wheelchair users, text in Braille, sign language and subtitles, panels and posters with high contrast and QR codes for the explanation of wines, the winemaking process and wine tasting.
Villa Lucía has renamed its museum project “Villa Lucía with the Five Senses”. It has adapted its international award-winning 4D short film “En tierra de sueños” (In Dreamland) for wine lovers with disabilities. The museum features stations adapted for wheelchair users and numerous panels allowing persons with visual impairment to touch the items displayed and read about them from panels written in Braille.
At Bodegas Valdemar, in addition to the above, wine aroma games are inclusive. Pictograms and diagrams describe the tapas served during the three wine tastings that take place during the tour of the winery. Visitors can scan QR codes on the bottles tasted that give access to videos with subtitles. The sense of touch is used throughout, including touching the grapes as they pass along the selection table during the harvest and feeling the temperature of a fermentation tank.
The process of adaptation of Bodegas Valdemar and the museum at Villa Lucía for the disability community was supervised by Equalitas Vitae , a company specializing in adapted tourism throughout the world.
The key for both Villa Lucía and Bodegas Valdemar, is not only accessibility but inclusiveness. Anyone, with or without disabilities, can visit the properties without the need to make an appointment or require special attention.