One of the biggest attractions to visit La Rioja region is its wineries. Rioja offers a variety of small family-owned wineries and major brands, traditional and avant-garde architecture. Planning which ones to visit according to distances, visiting times, etc. is not easy. This post shows some of the most interesting wineries to visit in Rioja. To make the planning process smooth and your trip more enjoyable, we recommend contacting us for your trip to Rioja. … Read More
In this updated post we will be showing you the best wineries in Spain.
Each person has a taste. In the case of wine, this becomes even more complicated. Wine is… different?. Something similar may apply to the wineries in which wine is produced. Winery owners put great effort into making sure their wineries look fantastic. This has to do with pride for sure, but it is also a very powerful marketing weapon in the hands of wine brands. Visitors to any wine region will most probably remember the building of a given winery, or its tasting room, or the terrace or windows facing the vineyards….
But building a winery is not just about the actual, obvious, building. Wine is produced in that building! Daily chores need to be made simple thanks to the design of the building. And wine should be as little manipulated as possible. The architect´s design is crucial in this respect.
It is not easy to describe something as being the best. If this is not obvious with a color: red, blue, yellow, or green, it becomes more complex when we speak about wine. Put wine and architecture together and you get an idea of how complex it can get to speak about the best wineries in Spain! One thing should stay clear at this stage. We are going to concentrate on the buildings, not on the wines produced. And a second and equally important thing. A fantastic building does not imply a fantastic wine tour experience. As a matter of fact, many wine expert guides prefer to visit smaller, family-owned wineries where they make sure they get a superb overall experience.
We will not limit the list to modern and super fancy wineries with a very special design, but also include more traditional wineries on the list. But we will limit ourselves to the aesthetics of the wineries, their shapes, how they fit with their environment, and their designs. This seems to us much easier than trying to come up with a mixture of winery and wines produced at their ranking! We will do a selection of modern and traditional wineries, and not just focus on the ones with very unusual architecture.
Let´s start by saying that any deep revolution in winemaking should start in the vineyard. The winery premises are very important, but excellent wines can only be obtained if the fruit that gets to them is equally excellent. The history of wine in Spain is long. The history of wine in Spain is similar to the one in other countries where the Romans came and lived and this is the case in many of the Spanish wine regions.
The favorable climate and a large number of churches and religious orders favored grape growing and wine production in Spain for centuries. Wine production takes place somewhere. And that place should have several special features that favor the production of fine wine. These features are those that explain the specialization of a unique architectural style, the one dedicated to the wineries and winemaking.
Spain is fortunate to have wineries that are the work of some of the most important architects in the world. The result: beautiful buildings, which shape the environment and landscape of the vineyards in each area or wine-producing region.
Winery architecture reflects the “state of the sector” and in the case of Spain, it illustrates its transformation. It is perfectly possible to make great wine at a garage, but if a certain volume is needed then technology is required and it is best organized at the right premise.
The title of this article suggests we would talk about some very special wineries. So we better do not keep you waiting anymore. Here goes our list of top Spanish wineries:
Protos is a very famous brand in Spain. It is located in Peñafiel, a town at the heart of the Ribera del Duero wine region. . Protos means first in Greek. The old winery is located on the grounds of a hill dominated by one of the most impressive castles in Castilla Leon: Peñafiel Castle. The new winery building is located in front of the hill and was designed by the prestigious architect Richard Rogers and Alonso Balaguer y Asociados. The winery is very modern, and if it were not close to vineyards and the Penafiel Castle nearby, you might think that this is an impressive airport terminal in one of the large cities in the World. The plan of the winery has a triangular layout with a semi-buried base that makes use of thermal inertia to achieve an adequate temperature for winemaking.
Viña Real belongs to the Cvne group, one of the most important wineries in the Rioja region. The group was founded in 1879.
This winery is a barrel transformed into a building. At least this is what we see on the outside. Its interior is also surprising: huge dimensions and a structure in which everything is arranged considering how to increase efficiency. Their aging cellar and the immense cellars where bottles are stored could both well be part of a big city subway. The winery was designed by Philippe Mazières and it combines equally the ideas of functionality and aesthetics. The central element is designed as an immense vat of almost 60 meters. From there, other elements of the winery extend winemaking and wine aging. The aging “room” forms two gigantic tunnels located more than 120 meters under the hill. The winery is located near the beautiful village of Laguardia and visiting Viña Real is actually one of the best things to do in Larguadia during a day visit. The winery is located almost at the entrance of Logroño, which makes it very easy to visit if you stay in the capital of Rioja.
This winery is amongst the most visited wineries in Spain. Its proximity to the seaside explains in part this, but the buildings and its devotion to wine tourism are mainly behind their success.
Jerez de la Frontera is a town that epitomizes Andalusia in a few hectares: homeland of flamenco dance, the land of the Andalusian horses, and sherry wines.
The building at Bodegas La Concha is a design by Joseph Coogan following sketches of French engineer Gustav Eifel himself. The winery was inaugurated in 1869 in honor of Queen Isabel II of Spain. The design by Eiffel was meant to be groundbreaking. The huge structure of the dome lacks central support. It is supported by ribs which provide a shell shape (concha in Spanish means shell) and hence the name of the winery. Its interior holds a total of 214 large casks.
Wineries in the Jerez de la Frontera wine region are sometimes described as wine cathedrals and anyone who pays a visit to bodegas La Concha will most surely agree with this description.
At the foot of the mountain, the Sierra de Cantabria range, which protects Rioja from the cold winds of the north, Ysios welcomes us with impossible shapes. The winery is like the mountains, even in the color of its roof, it resembles the color of clouds taking over the mountain. The vineyard and the image of the nearby medieval town of Laguardia contrast with the winery´s stunning design. Architect Santiago Calatrava developed the projects in an area that occupied 72,000 square meters. Its location, at the highest point of the terrain, enables the winery to maintain views over a vast part of the vineyards. This location and the silhouetted shape contribute to a fantastic effect that contrasts but blends itself with the mountain range.
The interior design maintains the avant-garde style with lighting controlled by small openings and the large curtain wall of double height for the visitors’ zone.
This landscape and winery can be enjoyed at a Rioja winery and architectural tour.
Previously known as Irius, this bodega is located in the region of Somontano, 8 kilometers from Barbastro. Sommos is a winery that could be described by saying it was designed by NASA. We would not be surprised to find this winery anchored on Mars, as part of a space station. This effect is particularly evident at night when the metal reflections accentuate the futuristic character of the winery. At the time it was designed, 3 patents were generated: one for the refrigerated trailer, another one for the vertical pneumatic press, and a third one for the “cerravid”.
The layout of the design is conceived in a radial fashion. There is an artificial lake in the middle. There are three buildings dedicated to winemaking (production, aging, and bottling). The winery was designed by architect Jesus Marino Pascual.
Located in the road that leads from Porrera to Falset, in the Priorat wine region, in Tarragona, Ferre Bobet winery can be described as a viewpoint over the mountain and the vineyard. Anyone that sees the winery in the distance, may think that the earth itself has decided to make a periscope with which to control humans. Alternatively, we could also say that the winery looks to the vineyard as if the wine would control everything that happens to grapes. The Priorat country possesses great natural wonders amongst the mountains. The project was the joint venture of two friends whose name brands the winery.
Architects Espinet/Ubach opted for a design that would dominate the landscape and with gravity in mind for the winemaking process. To integrate the building with the landscape the winemaking and aging spaces are placed underground.
The wines of Priorat are shaped by the terroir and the dramatic landscapes of terraces and mountains. The material used for the building of Ferre Bobet mimics the landscape with local stone and wood. These amazing landscapes are best enjoyed in a Priorat wine tour, where you´ll taste some great wines and enjoy the local gastronomy.
This is one of the best wineries to visit near Barcelona. The landscape, building, and wines are a safe bet in terms of quality experience for a wine country day.
This project started as a garage. Its wine was so well-received that the original location soon became small and ten years after the project had been launched, the construction of the new winery started (2006). The design by architect Hector Herrera Ribas is with cement walls, with rough textures to get it integrated into its surroundings. Great attention was put to the interior spaces, which are treated with various materials and lighting. The building is designed to ensure the grapes suffer as little as possible through their journey at the winery
This winery produces some of the most valued wines in Spain. Seeing the cellar from outside we have an initial strange feeling. It seems that something is missing. Perhaps that’s the intention because wine is an unfinished product: it evolves over time.
The Ciudad del vino is located at Elciego, a small village near Laguardia in Rioja Alavesa. This 2city of wine” is composed of the old winery of Marqués de Riscal, the oldest winery in La Rioja of its sort and which dates back to 1858 and the new building designed by Canadian architect Frank Gehry which includes a hotel, a spa, and restaurants. The hotel Marques de Riscal in Rioja is an icon in the area and the best way to illustrate the synergies of art, architecture, wine, and tourism in a territory.
The old winery was enlarged several times to cope with the growth of this famous winery. The hotel was initially designed as the corporate building for the winery. But the original plan was changed and the building was shaped into a hotel.
The structural design consists of three large main supports over which the entire plan rests and where the vertical extensions are housed. Anyone approaching the winery will be able to differentiate the three colors used: reddish tones similar to those of wine, golden tone of the mesh used for the bottles, and silver for the cap.
The interior was also designed by Gehry and the overall effect is that of a masterpiece of art.
Freixenet is located in Sant Sadurni de Anoia, south of Barcelona. This city is the capital of cava, with close to 90% of the production of this sparkling wine being made in Sant Sadurni de Anoia. it is possible to enjoy a wine tour with Freixenet winery from Barcelona. These tours depart several times a week from central Barcelona and provide guided visits to Freixenet premises, but also to other wineries.
The history of this winery dates back to 1861 and it is one of Spain´s most famous brands. It became very famous thanks to the advertising campaigns prepared specially for the Christmas season. Drinking cava is actually a Christmas tradition in Spain.
The current building of the winery was built in 1927 and it was designed by the modernist architect Josep Rios I Ros. The winery consists of a total of 5 buildings though it was later enlarged in 1929 with an extra one. The central building is flanked by two towers and the building boasts glazed ceramics. The winery is enormous and its tunnels have been enlarged several times to age and store the cavas that await for every Christmas!
We do not claim that this short list is exhaustive, but rather we want to show a few of the many unique wineries that exist in our land. All of them deserve undoubtedly a visit. Surely not the best wineries in Spain, but at least we have found the best for this article to address unique wineries.
More articles on wineries in Spain
This tour is only offered for groups of +6 people. A 7 hours tour to enjoy wine country south of Madrid. Be transported from the bustling city to the charming countryside on this Madrid wine tour. This tour includes visits to 2 wineries and wine tasting, as well as a 3-course lunch where you can taste traditional high quality food. Discover Madrid wine region with a friendly local guide and relax in a luxury air-conditioned minivan. This is a unique private tour for a more personal experience … Read More