Rioja is a quality wine production area including more than 65.000ha (over 160.000 acres) of vineyards, located in the north of Spain, along both banks of the Ebro river, at the beginning of its valley. The wine production is deeply rooted in the history of the region: Romans already grew vines and produced wine in the area and the activity was developed over the centuries, experiencing a quantum leap in winemaking techniques and foreign market trading at the end of the 19th Century. Rioja wines are protected by the oldest Designation of Origin in Spain, officially approved in 1926 and raised to the highest category -Calificada- in 1991 making Rioja the first wine region in Spain to be bestowed such an honor.
The whole Rioja wine region area is 100km/60mi long and a maximum width of 40km/25mi and it is divided between three different provinces: La Rioja, Álava (Basque Country) and Navarre. Apart from the administrative point of view, talking about vine growing characteristics, it is also divided in three sub-regions: Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa and Rioja Oriental.
Thanks to this fact, you can enjoy a full range of Rioja wine tours but it is important to understand these three sub-areas in order to make the perfect choice for your experience:
Including mainly the western southern bank of the Ebro River, within La Rioja province (from Haro to Logroño, approximately). It is the narrowest part of the valley, its landscape is shaped by hills and small vineyard plots. Dotted by medieval villages, castles and some of the most important heritage resources of the area, within its territory you can find many things to do in Logroño and Haro, the biggest and most lifely towns in Rioja, and you can also find small calm charming villages in the area. Many of the Rioja century-old wineries are placed in Rioja Alta, not to be missed if you want to get deeper in the Rioja wine history. We offer visits to wineries in Haro and Logroño wine tours.
On the western northern bank of the Ebro River, we are talking about the part of Rioja in the province of Alava (Basque Country). Very similar to Rioja Alta, the Basque culture is an extra that would top off your Rioja wine tour. Laguardia stands like its capital, a walled town pierced by underground wine cellars.
The eastern part of the Ebro Valley, at both sides, taking La Rioja and Navarre provinces (from Logroño towards Calahorra). Where the valley becomes wider and the vineyards are larger, sharing the growing areas with orchards and vegetable gardens. If you want to be delighted by the Rioja vineyards landscapes, do not miss a tour along this subregion. Calahorra and Alfaro, the main towns in the area, treasure the most important Roman heritage of La Rioja.
Believe it or not, it is possible to visit all three subareas during one day trip, but we do recommend to take a minimum of two days trip to get the most of each one.
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