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Best wine tours in Rioja

Why Visit Rioja?

Rioja is Spain’s oldest and most famous wine producing region, yielding almost 300 million litres of wine a year. There is no better destination for a Spanish wine tasting holiday. The region has a long history of viticulture and the traditions and quality of its winemaking have become known around the world as some of the very best that Spain has to offer. Nowadays the contrast of older traditional wineries alongside the new and modern will appeal to all wine lovers.

Rioja is synonymous with full-bodied, oak-aged, high alcohol red wines primarily from the Tempranillo grape. However, the region’s innovative winemakers are experimenting with zesty blanco and refreshing rosado which we encourage you to discover during your wine tasting holiday in Rioja. The best wine tasting tours of Rioja combine visits to centuries old, traditional bodegas with the region’s ultra-modern wineries for a full understanding of the rich viticultural tradition and recent innovations in this iconic region.

Essential for an authentic Spanish food experience is a tapas tasting tour. Tapas is an intrinsic part of Spanish life and mingling with the locals in a tapas bar offers an unmatchable  insight into local life. Rioja and the city of Logrono in particular, has developed its’ own style of tapas and many bars will specialise in one specific ingredient or dish, be it prawns, mushrooms, or the best patatas bravas in town! 

We understand that most visitors are lured to Rioja by the world-famous wine, however the region offers more than amazing wine tasting opportunities. History buffs will appreciate the medieval villages and be wowed by the UNESCO World Heritage listed Suso and Yuso monasteries. Lovers of the great outdoors can trek through the forest covered Sierra de Cebollera Nature Reserve. And Logrono, the capital of the region, is a charming town with wonderful Baroque architecture and excellent tapas bars.

A visit to Marques de Riscal, one of Rioja’s most famous wineries, is a must. It may be one of the oldest wineries with a respect for tradition, yet it continues to innovate and experiment. It’s also possible to stay in the winery’s eye-catching Frank Gehry designed hotel created from pink, gold and silver titanium. 

Plan Your Visit

Best Known Grapes

Tempranillo accounts for around 75% of the total vineyard plantings in Rioja and dominates the red wines of the region with its spicy, ripe fruit flavours. However, the region’s winemakers may also blend Tempranillo with other grape varieties such as Garnacha, Mazuelo (also known as Carignan) and Graciano. Whilst red grapes dominate the vineyards, there are some wonderfully refreshing white wines produced in the region. The focus tends to be on local varieties such as Garnacha Blanca, Viura (also known as Macabeo) and Malvasia. Growers are permitted to use international varieties such as Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc but rarely do, preferring to focus on the unique varietals of the region.
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Best time to visit

It is possible to enjoy a wine tasting holiday in Rioja throughout the year as many wineries are open all year round. Late spring is green and verdant, but autumn is our favourite time to visit. The vines are a tapestry of vivid colour, and harvest (late September to October) is certainly the most exciting time to go for a wine tour and enjoy the air of excitement and flurry of activity in the vineyards. If you are visiting the region during June you may (or may not!) wish to get involved in the famous Batalla del Vino festival (Wine Battle) in Haro, when people soak each other with over 500 litres of red wine.
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How long to stay

You can experience the wines of Rioja on a small group or private day tour from San Sebastian. However, for a more immersive Riojan wine tasting experience, and to discover the diversity of wineries, we recommend spending 2 or 3 days in the region. If you have longer you could combine a visit of Rioja with the neighbouring wine region of Ribera del Duero. If you’re a food lover, why not combine a few days in Rioja with the gastronomic wonders of San Sebastian.  
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How to get there

There is an airport in Logrono, however it is not an international airport and flight schedules are limited. Bilbao Airport is Rioja's nearest major airport. From there, it’s just a 1.5-hour drive south to Logrono, the capital of the Rioja region. From slightly further afield in Spain, Madrid is a 3.5 – 4-hour drive to the region. Or if you’re travelling from Barcelona, the quickest way is by train to Logrono which takes 4 – 4.5 hours.   You will need transportation to get around in Rioja if you want to visit wineries and the beautiful towns of the region. Either base yourself in Logrono and book day tours, or if you would prefer to explore independently you will need to hire a car.
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