Rioja wine region - wine tourism guide Rioja wine region - wine tourism guide

Rioja wine region

Complete guide for wine lovers and holidaymakers

In Spain, Rioja is synonymous with wine. This may be a bit confusing to start with! The Rioja wine region has the same name as one of the administrative regions in Spain (La Rioja) but the wine region as such does not coincide 100% geographically with it. The denomination of origin Rioja spreads along 54.000 hectares around three different Communities (La Rioja, Basque Country, and Navarre).

La Rioja is about serious winemaking and wine drinking, but the region is so beautiful that it is also about vacation-making. In this section, we will cover both aspects. So no matter if you are looking for information about the wines or planning a trip to enjoy the region, we will try to get all your questions answered.
In this section, we will provide you with information to ensure you learn about Rioja from different perspectives. On the website, we have different articles that cover La Rioja wine region. To ensure you focus on what is of utmost interest for you we describe what you can find in different articles. Few regions in the world of wine make wine lovers dream of visiting to enjoy a wine tour. Only places like Bordeaux, Porto and the Douro Valley, Jerez de la Frontera in Southern Spain, Borgogne or Loire Valley have such power in Europe. 

Rioja Spain - Wine region table of contents

If you are planning a holiday in Rioja along with our local partners we can run the of the best tours in Rioja. In case you want to spend one or two days in the region of Rioja, we are sure you will find lots of ideas and inspiration in these pages.

Rioja is a perfect place in Spain to enjoy tapas (known as pinchos here) and to pair these with local Rioja wines. The region extends from Haro on the west to Navarre on the west all along the Ebro River (Spain´s second-largest river). We believe 3 days is a perfect amount of time to spend in Rioja and discover not just its wines but also to enjoy beautiful monasteries, a bit of El Camino de Santiago, and to be able to relax.

In Rioja, you will find fabulous wine museums, emblematic wineries, fantastic hotels, some of which are built on wineries, breathtaking landscapes, and ancient monuments worth visiting. Modern Architecture has contributed in recent times to the reputation of Rioja and, luckily enough, some of these great wineries are also hotels and restaurants.

Modern winery architecture next to an old vine in Rioja

1- Wine tours in Rioja

If you need practical information to find the best tours to enjoy Rioja this is your section. You will find information about one day tours run by local wine experts that provide a safe way to avoid driving while tasting. Rioja wine tours. 

You can also find our favorite tours below, but you will find more options in theRioja wine tours section.

Best price guaranteed

The traditional Rioja wine tour is the perfect way to learn about the most interesting things Riojas has to offer. This Rioja private tour has it all: high-end wines, tastings at 4 different wineries, a fantastic meal…. All part of an itinerary that will stop at the most amazing examples of fantastic architecture with the purpose of wine making. Your tour guide will ensure you enjoy a great day. Our tour is personal, informal, informative and fun!

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from €260

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Enjoy an amazing wine and food pairing tasting meal at a top notch winery and discover wineries that are true architecture master pieces applied to wine making. Enjoy great scenery, traditional tunnels, “guardaviña” huts doted here and there in the vineyards that contrasts with breath-taking avant-garde architecture.

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from €300

Best price guaranteed

This is probably the most romantic tour of Rioja you will find. Enjoy a 4x4 vineyard tour and get transported to amazing landscapes. This is a tour to enjoy the terroir, including a fantastic picnic at a superb spot where you will enjoy nature, great local ingredients and excellent wines. 2 amazing wineries are included and a selection of wines to understand Rioja distinctive terroir.

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from €300

Best price guaranteed

This luxury wine tour in Rioja is about old vintages and tasting wines at exclusive wineries. Experience the passion Hemingway had for Rioja at his favourite winery, relax and taste amongst art and vines and enjoy a lunch at Rioja´s most iconic setting

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from €420

Old hut in Rioja vineyard

2-Itineraries in Rioja

Since time is always limited you may want to plan your stay in Rioja wisely. Do you prefer small villages or mid-sized towns? Do you want to enjoy wineries but also culture? Discover the top destinations within Rioja in this article with recommendations to spend 1 or 2 days in Rioja.

Rioja wine making deposits

3- Things to do in Rioja

Rioja is not just about wine. This region in Spain hosts in San Millan de la Cogolla one of Spain´s most important monasteries. Santo Domingo de la Calzada, on the road that leads to Burgos, is an important stop in El Camino de Santiago. There are many small fantastic villages, natural reservoirs and much more. Learn about the best things to enjoy in Rioja in this complete guide

4-Sub-regions in Rioja wine country

There are 3 sub-regions in Rioja. They are: Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa and Rioja Oriental (previously known as Rioja Baja) All 3 regions share important elements like wine making traditions, the classification system (Joven, Crianza, Reservas, Gran Reserva) or the grapes used; while tempranillo I sking, other grapes are also present: Garnacha (Grenache), Graciano, and Mazuelo (Carignan) for red wines and Viura, Malvasía, and Garnacha Blanca for white wines. You can learm more about Spanish grapes in this article.

Rioja Alavesa

Rioja Alavesa is the smallest of the sub-regions with 13,00 hectares. Soils are mainly clay and limestone. This sub.region is located in the basque Country and north of the Ebro river. It is the highest of the 3 sub-regions and this contributes to higher temperature contrast between day and night and higher fruit concentration as a result. We love its quaint villages. You should pay a visit to Laguardia and Labastida. The Basque country is well-known for the quality of its gastronomy and top Michelin star restaurants. Bilbao and above all San Sebastian are heavens for food lovers, and many visitors to these 2 cities decide to enjoy wine tours in Rioja. If you are one of them, please check-out this Bilbao to Rioja tour and this San Sebastian to Rioja day tour

Rioja Alta

Rioja Alta has 20,000 hectares of vineyard, so a substantial amount of wine is produced here. Logroño and Haro are the most famous cities. Logroño is the administrative capital and Haro is known as the “wine capital” many wineries are located in Haro. Rioja Alta´s soils are similar to Rioja Alavesa, but the ownership structure of the wineries differ. There are more family owned, smaller wineries in Rioja Alavesa, while some of the most famous brands are from Rioja Alta. We love the fantastic balanced structure and bright acidity of wines from this sub-region, which is particularly famous for its spicy tempranillos

Rioja Oriental

Rioja Oriental is the largest of all 3 sub-regions. Close to 25,00 hectares, but also much more wine produced due to the higher yields in this area. The more mediterranean climate here brings earlier grape ripening and allows for higher yields. Soils here vary, but are generally alluvial with a mix of clay and silt, which can retain heat and contribute to the richness of the wines. Wine in Rioja Oriental are fuller-bodied and more fruit-forward, with higher alcohol levels than in the other sub-regions. They typically show flavors of ripe red and black fruits, with a softer tannic structure. there are fewer tours to Rioja Oriental, and if you plan a visit we strongly recommend Calahorra. 

5-Rioja and its wines

We share a number of articles on our website where you will be able to find more insights into particular topics on Rioja and its wine. Enjoy the reading! and we share a toast of Riojan Wine with you

History of wine in Rioja

In this complete article, you will get to understand how the region originated, the influence of French winemakers and businessmen, and its most evolution. History of Rioja wines.

Types of wines in Rioja and classification

In this interesting article, you will learn about how wines are classified in Rioja. Rioja wines

Terroirs in Rioja

This article is awesome for anyone interested in understanding the soils and geography behind the wines. Soils and terroir in Rioja.

Wineries in Rioja

There are many wineries in Rioja! And we do not intend to get them all listed nor mentioned. Some of the wineries in Rioja are icons for the region. Maybe the best known example if Marqués de Riscal. A visit to Marqués de Riscal winery is a perfect way to learn about the history of local wineries, but there are so many other options. Believe us, most of the tiems, it is smaller family owned wineries that offer the best experiences.  If you would like to get to find a sample with some of the best wineries in Rioja this post is perfect! Rioja wineries

Landscape in Rioja wine region
Tourists in Rioja winery

More interesting things and tours in Rioja

Ysios winery in Rioja

Which wineries to visit in Rioja? – 15 ideas

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

Bodegas Ysios in Rioja Alvesa

Rioja road trip – Rioja at its best

Discover the best of La Rioja with this short but complete road trip itinerary in Spain´s top wine region in which you will visit emblematic wineries and taste their wines, explore magnificent landscapes, taste the traditional gastronomy of Rioja, get to know its culture and curiosities, and enjoy activities related to the world of wine. We have carefully selected each of the services recommended to make this the best way to discover this wonderful region. … Read More