DO Rioja Wine Tour
La Rioja in the north of Spain has many things to offer such as cultural visits to castles and monasteries, the dinosaur prints, archeological ruins like the dolmens and of course the Santiago Way. Another way of enjoying La Rioja is spending a few weeks around the region so you can become familiar with their way of life. You may even learn some Spanish!
Rioja Wine Tours
La Rioja is mainly known for being the best wine region in Spain, and most of the tourism they get is in the form of wine tours, which have become a real income for the area.
Marqués de Riscal
Marqués de Riscal was founded in 1860 and it's one of the oldest wineries in Rioja and one of the first to introduce French wine making techniques and French vines like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec and Pinot Noir. Only 5 years after starting production the wines had reached such quality that they were awarded several prizes, the most important one being the Diploma of Honor in the XIII Bordeaux Exhibition of 1895.
In 1991 Marqués de Riscal decided to experiment with producing wine from old vines (around 30 years old) which gave little fruit but of a very high quality. This experiment gave birth to the Barón de Chirel wine, which was said to be the start of the "modern Rioja wines". From 1995, Marqués del Riscal manually selects the grapes for the Barón de Chirel, a technique only used up until then in France.
The Rioja wine tour to the Marqués del Riscal cellars is very impressive. The first cellar they built is now used to store the barrels of aging wine, and inside it is "The Cathedral", where they keep bottles of each of the vintages they've produced since 1862. Visiting this part of the winery is like walking through Spanish history! But the best part of the tour is the tasting at the end, where visitors get to try some of the finest Rioja wines Spain has to offer.
C/ Torrea, 1, 01340 El Ciego, Alava, Spain
Telephone: 0034 941 606 000
Fax: 0034 941 606 023
Marqués de Murrieta
The history of the Marqués de Murrieta winery dates back to the birth of Luciano Francisco Ramón de Murrieta in 1822 in Perú. In 1824 the family moved to England, where they worked in banking. In 1840 he joined the Spanish army and became the helper of General Espartero, with whom he left for England in 1843 to accompany him in his exile. During this time he was treated like a king and he began to be very appreciative of wine. The coronation of Isabella II permitted their return and they came back to live in Spain in 1844, and Luciano traveled to Bordeaux in 1848 to learn more about wine. On his return he applied the techniques he'd learnt and started producing high quality wine in Spain, which in 1852 he began to export.
In 1878 Luciano bought the Ygay Estate, which still today is the home for the Marqués de Murrieta wines. Unfortunately, Luciano died without any heirs, and the winery passed to his nephew Juan de Olivares. After his death in 1977, the cellar fell onto the hands of Vicente Cebrián Sagarriga, who died in 1996, leaving the estate to his wife and children, who still own it.
The Rioja wine tour of Marqués de Murrieta will show the visitors around one of the oldest wineries in Rioja, where they'll be able to directly live the wine tradition of the region, one of the most important ones of Spain and certainly the most famous one.
Castillo de Ygay 26006 Logroo, Spain
Telephone: 0034 941 271 370 - 00034 677 452 256
Fax: 0034 941 251 606
The history of the Muga cellars is inevitably connected to the Muga family. The cellars were founded in 1932 by the couple of Isaac Muga and Aurora Caño, who both came from wine making families. Ever since its foundation, Muga wines have gained a lot of international recognition, and in 30 years they've more than doubled their production, reaching almost a million and a half kilograms of grapes in their last harvest.
The "Espacio Torre Muga" is where the visits mostly take place. From there the visitors will be taken to the vineyards, the cellars, the winery... During the Rioja wine tour at Muga cellars you will learn about the production of wine, from the growth of the grapes to the ageing and bottling of the wines, and you can also taste their very best varieties. If there's anything you specially like, the wine shop has all their products!
Barrio de la Estación, Haro (La Rioja) 26200
Telephone: 0034 941 310 498
Fax: 0034 941 312 867
If you don't really feel like doing anything around La Rioja after your Rioja wine tour, you can always travel to one of the neighboring autonomous communities like Castile and Leon (where you can visit Salamanca) or Navarra.