Spain is the world’s largest wine exporter for very good reason. In the past, it was mainly wines from the Ribera and Rioja regions that were wildly sold internationally, but that’s not the case anymore.
Today, you can find whites, reds and rosés being produced all over Spain, and exported worldwide. And as the business of export is growing, Spanish wine is attracting more tourists who want to taste it at the source, alongside a delicious tapa or two.
Thanks to young wine growers, innovative ideas and modern, appealing products, wine tourism in Spain is on the rise with a series of interesting initiatives that are not limited to winery visits.
If you’re one of those people who gets excited when the grape harvesting season approaches, just wait until you taste the wine produced at some of Spain’s vineyards whilst standing in amongst the vines themselves.
Wine holidays in Spain
Great wine is produced all over Spain, but there are a few regions that are particularly famous for it. If you’re short on time, you should just stick to one of these areas. But, if you’ve got time to spare, then why not discover a few?
Rioja wine tours in La Rioja Alavesa
Nestling between the Ebro River and the Sierra de Cantabria, some of the best Rioja denomination of origin wines are produced in the Rioja Alavesa region, which is just over the border into the Basque Country. Wines produced here are aromatic, fresh and evenly balanced.
If you do decide to explore the Rioja Alavesa Wine Route in northern Spain, you’ll enjoy both the wine and the history behind it. There’s everything from medieval wine caves to cutting edge winemaking facilities to be explored.
The wine is fantastic, but the landscape it’s produced in is a big draw in itself. This part of the Basque Country, with its walled villages, prehistoric ruins and tower houses, is well worth a visit.
The good news is that there’s no need for a designated driver when you’re wine tasting in Rioja. There’s a ‘grape train’ that takes you to certain wineries, and there are also buses and minibuses running frequently, so you can taste some of the best Spanish wines without a care in the world.
Taste some of the top Spanish red wines in Ribera del Duero
This region, famous for wine tourism, runs along the banks of the Duero River through Castile and Leon, between Valladolid, Burgos and Soria, to the south of the Rioja region.
Traveling by car along the N-122 you’ll see ancient castles, churches, convents and of course the vineyards for which Ribera del Duero is famous. Protos, Pesquera, Vega Sicilia, Yllera are just some of the places famed for producing some of the world’s most popular red wines, which you’re sure to have sampled a few of in your time.
Wine tourism has become very popular in this region in recent years, with wine-themed venues such as the Museo del Vino de Peñafiel, housed in a well-preserved castle, or the Wine Architecture Centre in Aranda de Duero.
Culture and winemaking go hand-in-hand, with wineries that combine tradition and innovation, such as the new Portia winery designed by the famous architect, Norman Foster.
If you’re wondering when is the best time to enjoy wine tourism in Spain, anytime is a good time of year to learn how excellent wine is made here.
Jerez wine tasting in Marco de Jerez
A fun fact the wine of Jerez is one of the oldest wines in the world. It’s been around since Roman times, meaning it has over 3,000 years of history behind it. It pairs well with any type of food and is wonderful for all types of palate.
If you don’t believe us, then see for yourself. After a visit to the famous wine and brandy region of Jerez for some of the best wine tasting in Spain, stop in for a meal at the El Lagar restaurant in the Barceló Montecastillo Hotel, where the wine steward will give you their expert advice on the best local wine to accompany your meal.
A great excuse for a trip to Andalusia in general is to enjoy its spectacular food and wine.
Wine tourism in the Priorat region
Intense, dense and very rich is the best way to describe the wine from the Priorat region in Tarragona, which has gained popularity in recent years. This is some of the best wine tasting near Barcelona, although there is, of course, also plenty of cava tasting near Barcelona to be enjoyed too.
Places you must be sure to visit in the Priorat region for some of the best wine tours in Spain include the ‘wine cathedrals’ and the wineries at the Scala Dei Monastery and Cornudella de Montsant.
You can even rent a burricleta, an electric bicycle that holds the baskets used to carry the grapes. This is a great way to tour the region during the fall harvesting season while getting some exercise as you bike through the vineyards. It’s also ideal for a family vacation.
Wine tours in Spain: discover Navarre
The earliest wine produced in Roman wineries in the Navarre region dates back to the first century. Even so, production wasn’t industrialised until the early twentieth century, with the creation of the first Winemaking Cooperative in Olite.
September is the perfect month to visit Navarre’s winegrowing region, where a grape harvesting festival is held every year in the city of Olite.
The festivities begin with a procession of the guilds in their costumes and the proclamation announcing the start of the grape harvest. The treading of the grapes in the centre of town is followed by free tasting of the first musts of the season.
In all the vineyards of Navarre there are tourist activities that you’ll love. You can walk, bike or ride through the vineyards on horseback, and soak up the atmosphere of this special region, perfect for wine tourism.
There are wine producing regions all over Spain, and wherever you go there are Spanish wines to sample. So, leave the rental car at the hotel and get ready to learn a huge amount about wine, and then put your feet up to enjoy a well-earned glass.