WHY WINE TOURISM IN SPAIN?
When thinking of wine regions in the world, it may be true that the ones that pop into most people’s minds are Bordeaux in France, Tuscany in Italy, Napa Valley in California, etc. Unfortunately, Spain does not get the recognition in this area that it deserves…not yet at least.
In this post, we intend to highlight the top reasons why you should try wine tourism in Spain and how it compares to other parts of the world. Hopefully, when you have finished reading, we will have inspired you to start booking a wine tour in Spain
Did you know that Spain is the country with the largest vineyard surface area in the world? It also has over 4,000 wineries that are divided within 130 official wine regions. It would be nearly impossible to cross any of the 50 Spanish provinces without having to drive through at least one wine producing region. Wherever you go in Spain, there are good options nearby for enjoying some wine tourism…so why not include it in your next trip?
You may have heard of the wine regions of Rioja, Jerez (sherry) or even Ribera del Duero. But there are plenty more worth discovering! Penedés (cava), La Mancha, Priorat, Bierzo, Rías Baixas, Jumilla, Somontano, Navarra, Ribeira Sacra, Toro, and Rueda are just a few examples. And we should also mention the island territories, Baleares and Canarias, which also produce wine and have magnificent wineries.
Apart from the selection of wine regions there are to choose from, wine tourism in Spain offers an array of interesting experiences from fully planned wine vacations to simply making a stop at a winery to have a taste of their wines. Depending on the region, your options can include wine tastings, visiting wineries on your own, guided wine tours, staying at a winery hotel, attending wine festivals, etc. The choice is yours…and, of course, we are here to help!
THINGS TO SEE
Because there is wine tourism in almost every region of Spain, it is very easy to include sightseeing and interesting cultural visits. Spain is the third country in the world with the most UNESCO World Heritage sites. This means that it has numerous spectacular monuments with history and architecture that are incomparable to any place else. In practically every province of Spain, it is possible to visit at least one of the following: castles, cathedrals, fortresses, palaces, museums, ancient mosques, Jewish quarters, natural parks, and the list goes on. In our opinion, a combination of wine touring and cultural visits is an ideal way to discover the magnificence of Spain.
Another good thing about wine tourism in Spain is that it can easily be combined with the excellent gastronomy of Spain. Spanish gastronomy is considered one of the best in the world for its quality and variety. In fact, Spain is home to the world’s best restaurant, El Celler de Can Roca in Girona. Each region has its own local cuisine whose dishes are best understood when paired with the wines from their respective regions, of course.
A sure way to enjoy the local food with its wine is to treat yourself to lunch at a winery. If that isn’t available in your area, then perhaps try a local restaurant that offers lunch with wine pairings so that you can enjoy the wine of the region together with the local specialty dishes.
Besides, the number of wine regions there are to choose from, you can also decide the style of winery that you prefer. Some prefer traditional family wineries while others prefer the more modern large-scale wineries that are known by name all over the world. The brand names are certainly well-known for a reason and worth a visit. But the smaller wineries will treat you like a guest in their own home and really transmit their passion for wine making. The best idea is not to choose between both styles but to do both! (See our Rioja Winery Pass and Sherry Winery Pass in Jerez for this kind of itinerary.)
We previously mentioned the great number of wine regions throughout Spain. It would also be interesting to be able to compare 2 different wine regions. For example, the sherry wineries of the south are completely different from the wineries of Rioja. It’s not just the taste of the wine that is different. It’s the architectural styles, the methods of production, the grapes that are used, the shape of the wine glass… Spain is such a culturally diverse country that you may even feel you have crossed the border when entering a new region.
Getting to know Spanish wines in the regions they are produced is a truly unique opportunity. Wine tourism in Spain is understood as a much broader concept than merely tasting the wines from a winery. A visit to a winery in Spain most likely includes a complete tour of the winery by one of its experts (in small wineries, possibly by the owner) and which culminates in a guided wine tasting. The tour includes almost all areas of production, including the processing area, winery cellar, bottling facility, and sometimes, the vineyard. The entire process is explained to visitors in order to have a greater appreciation for the wine they are about to taste.
This new and unique learning experience gives us the opportunity to understand that there is much more behind a bottle of wine and its price tag.
VALUE FOR MONEY
Yes, most wineries charge a fee per visitor, but after touring a large part of the winery premises, being explained the entire process by an expert, and tasting of a few wines, you will realize the visit was worth more than what you paid. Wine tourism in Spain is extremely affordable and there is something for every budget.
Many tourists that travel to Spain are surprised at just how economical the wine is. If you’re lucky, you will have brought a big-enough suitcase to purchase a few bottles straight from the winery. What better souvenir than that? A wine tour in Spain offers a great opportunity to buy fantastic local wines at reasonable prices.
Did you think we were going to forget this one on the list? Wines from Spain have been receiving a lot of international acclaim in recent years. It will probably surprise you to know that Spain is the leading exporter in quantity of wine in the world. Wine specialists know perfectly well that the vast range of soils and climates in Spain is unprecedented in Europe, and that this gives Spanish wines a great spectrum of aromas, color, and structure.
Spain offers something for everyone. Whether you prefer whites, reds, rosé, sparkling, or sherry wine, there is a wine experience for you.
After returning home from a trip to wine country in Spain, you will be searching for the wines you tasted and the wineries you visited at your local wine shop…we are sure of it!