Stand on top of the rocky mass of the Sierra Cantabria and gaze below and beyond and you will admire a sea of vineyards rooted in unique light coloured soil in terraces and ravines stretching out to the River Ebro, Spain’s longest river. Scattered across the panorama you will also see medieval villages, historic stately mansions and impressive wineries. This is Rioja Alavesa – a wine tourism destination which perfectly blends nature, gastronomy, tradition, architecture and wine.
Rioja Alavesa is an incredible destination for the wine lover and traveller. Wineries are varied ranging from small family boutique wineries with historic underground cellars containing domestic wine coolers, to large architectural gems designed by world famous architects such as Frank Gehry, Santiago Calatrava or Phillipe Maziéres.
Between wineries there are medieval villages such as Saliníllas de Buradón or Labraza steeped in history and tradition, prehistoric dolmens and viewpoints set among the vineyard estates of Tempranillo, Garnacha, Mazuelo, Graciano and Viura
At lunch time do as the hospitable locals do and take a break at one ‘o clock or so and have a few mini-wines (ir de potes) and pintxos (tapas) to soak up the best atmosphere in the wine bars and then head to either a winery or restaurant to savour traditional Rioja Alavesa cuisine (Rioja-style potatoes, lamb chops cutlets grilled over vine shoots, veal cheeks in red wine or white beans) perfectly matched with one of the many quality crianza, reserve or grand reserve wines of the region.
Got the kids with you? Then a visit the Villa Lucía Wine Centre and Museum, to find out about the wine culture of the area and dive deeper into the Rioja Alavesa wine region through an audiovisual 4D: In a Dreamland or catch the Racimo train and track through the vineyards.
Staying overnight? There are several charming rural settings to stay in the Rioja Alavesa – sleep at a winery with a hotel, in a weirdly designed hotel in or in a hotel with a spa where you can pamper yourself with vinotherapy treatment.
Hopefully this has whet your appetite for some of the delights you can find in the Rioja Alavesa wine region in the Basque Country. Now, it’s over to you – all that remains is to pack your bags and start exploring for yourself!
The 2019 and 11th edition of the International Wine Tourism Conference will take place in the Basque Country at the Palacio de Congresos Europa, Vitoria-Gasteiz on the 12th and 13th March 2019. It’s the perfect setting to gain knowledge, improve business connections, network and discover Rioja Alavesa and Txakolí wines and the Basque Country as a grape escape destination.