Spain has long been a summer destination for Europeans, but beyond the beaches of the Costa del Sol, wine holidays in Spain are becoming increasingly popular among sun-seeking wine lovers.
Spain has 69 officially recognised wine production regions spread across the country with La Rioja unsurprisingly being the most famous, although the wines of Navarre, Aragón, Castilla León and Galicia deserve greater recognition. And sherry is also enjoying something of a renaissance.
Wine holidays in Spain typically feature tours of the beautiful vineyards and wineries, locally known as ‘bodegas’, allowing wine lovers to experience not only the fine wines on offer but also a variety of landscapes, architectural contrasts, diverse cuisine and the welcoming local culture.
Clear blue skies and warm temperatures provide the perfect environment for wine holidays in Spain –the third largest producer of wine in the world, behind France and Italy.
Although there are over 400 grape varieties in Spain, wine production largely comes from only 20 cepages – these include the reds Tempranillo, Garnacha and Monastrell; the whites Albariño, Palomino, Airen and Macabeo; and the three cava grapes Parellada, Xarel.lo and Macabeo.
Similarly, while Spain has a relatively large number of wine regions, La Rioja and Priorat are the nation’s flagship regions – while Ribera del Duero was named Wine Region of the Year 2012 by the influential Wine Enthusiast Magazine.
Wine holidays in Spain tend to be planned around La Rioja, which despite being among the smallest of the country’s provinces is universally recognised courtesy of its eponymous export; the region boasts over 500 bodegas and produces 175 million bottles a year.
Aside from exploring the vineyards and wine tasting, visitors to La Rioja can enjoy Mediterranean forests and medieval towns as well as a rich cultural heritage that includes the walled city of Laguardia and the historic town of Santo Domingo de la Calzada.
Elsewhere, residing on the banks of the River Duero, the up-and-coming Ribera del Duero region is staking its claim to compete with La Rioja as the finest producer of Spanish red wines. The award-winning region lends itself to wine holidays in Spain by way of some world-renowned producers – including Vega Sicilia, which is favoured by Prince Charles of the British Royal Family – fantastic cuisine, stunning scenery and the local’s unrivalled hospitality.
Slightly off the beaten track, in the Catalunya region south of Barcelona, is Priorat. The area has a history of wine making with two distinct appellations – the DO Montsant and the more prestigious DOQ Priorat – with over rustic 50 wineries for visitors to explore.
At Wine Paths, our local experts can organise a range of different wine holidays in Spain that are tailor-made to meet your exact requirements. These include a four-day tour of the Rioja and Ribera del Duero regions, featuring traditional and modern wineries and intimate tastings with the local producers.
For holidaymakers feeling more energetic, there is a wonderful electrical bicycle tour of the Penedes region near Barcelona – where almost the entire production of Cava comes from– allowing visitors to explore the landscapes, wineries and tastings on two wheels. Or, if you are even more daring, see the Penedes vineyards from the skies with a luxury VIP tour in a private helicopter.
To learn more about wine holidays in Spain, visit our destination guides, which cover Andalusia, Catalunya, La Mancha, La Rioja, Ribera Del Duero and Somontano, to help you plan your next sun-kissed retreat.
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