Spain has a lot going on. Beaches, art, history and varying cultures from the South to North. But if you are a wine connoisseur, you might want to add one or two regions from this list to your itinerary. Or maybe all?
You don’t have to be a wine nerd to have heard of La Rioja. One of the most famous wines in the world. With over 500 wineries, this place has become quite the tourist attraction and have set up activities like hot air ballooning. But if you are a purist (like me), the wine tasting here is quite an experience. If your vacation is in the summer, there is a particularly quirky festival called Haro wine fest with wine drinking contests and people pouring wine from buckets (Battle of the wine). You come out pink in color!
EAST CASTILLA Y LEON
The word ‘pretty’ describes Castille and Leon best. Charming little villages, monasteries, castles and beautiful roads. Pairs really well with wine. Wine making in Castile and León is an old tradition and goes all the way back to the Romans, who were very appreciative of Spanish wines. The real take off for wine in this region came with the arrival of the Catholic monks and priests in the 11th century.
If history interests you, this is the place to be. This region has the most number of World Heritage Sites – 8 in all.
PENEDES WINE COUNTRY
Also known for “Christmas wine.” The Penedes plain is beautiful and is located in the historical quaint village of Penedes. This is very close to Barcelona and can be easily done as a day trip. Apparently, wine production is this region dates back to the 6th century BC. There used to be a large export market in the middles ages for Penedes wines. Known for its white, very few reds.
EL PUERTO DE SANTA MARIA
This place tends to get missed out a lot. Mainly because of its locational disadvantage. Andalucia (or Southern Spain) has a lot to see. Seville, Cordoba, Granada and the shorter trips to Ronda, Jerez de la Frontera is the typical itinerary which unfortunately does not include El Puerto de Santa Maria. But they do have a bunch of sherry bodegas. If you’re around for longer than just the wine tasting, they have a castle, bull ring, and a beach.
I like Somontano for its versatility. Mix of reds, whites and rose from over 13 types of grapes. That’s quite a variety. The word ‘Somontano’ means beneath the mountain and this is an apt description of the region, which extends from the foothills of Pyrenees to Ebro valley. Yes it’s as pretty as that sounds. Grapes have been grown in this region from 2nd century! In the Middle Ages, wine production took off.
Here’s a map we’ve put together with regular tourist spots and the wine regions to pick the right place to add to your itinerary.