Whether you are only planning a full holiday dedicated to visit wineries in Rioja or you just want to include one stop in Rioja during your holidays in Spain, each season has its own charm:
Summer in Rioja: perfect to be captivated by the exuberant green of the vine foliage and enjoy the sunny warm weather that (most of the time) the season brings. By this time, magic starts to happen in the Rioja vineyards and, during August, it is easy to appreciate the veraison of the grapes (but still too acid to be tasted!!!). The streets of the smallest villages get full of life during the local festivals celebrated during the season. Long days to enjoy from dawn to sunset and warm nights to stay outside “al fresco” till late.
Fall in Rioja: It is harvest time!!! Since the end of the summer till the middle of the autumn grapes are reaching the perfect ripping point to be harvested. Be advised that this will not happen over the same dates depending on the sub-area, sooner on Rioja Oriental, later on Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa. Taste the sweet grapes directly from the vine, experience the hand-picking and the traditional grape treading, still preserved in some boutique wineries. By the end of the season, late October and during November, get ready for Rioja vineyards color show!!! Once the harvest is done, the vines start to change their colors from bright green into a wonderful palette of every shade of ochres and reds. Many towns, like Logroño, celebrate its own “Harvest Festival” with a vast program of gastronomy and wine leaded activities.
Winter in Rioja: the vines are finally getting their well-deserved rest and they can be seen on its purest essence: gnarled body trunks firmly anchored into the soil and long naked vine shots pointing to the sky that will be pruned during the season. Wineries in Rioja are really interesting on this time of the year: last vintage wines are in the middle of their wine making process and it is quite exciting to taste them “half-done” and find already most of the characteristics that will be preserved till the wine is finally ready to be enjoyed. Looking further on the wine experience, do not forget that the olive trees are usually sharing fields with the vines and the olives are picked and pressed during this season. Also the mountainous area to the south of the Rioja wine country provides a range of options of winter sports. Small villages are usually peaceful and calm by this time of the year.
Spring in Rioja: Blossoming!!! The Rioja vineyard starts the season “crying”, actually, the first tears of sap coming out from the bounds of the pruning showing off the new beginning of the vine growing cycle, that will follow with the appearance of the first buds and flowers. It is also time for new wines, most of wineries in Rioja start to release their new vintages during this season. Talking about traditions, Easter is celebrated in every town with processions and other rites, like “Los Picados” in San Vicente de La Sonsierra, and cooking special dishes like “torrijas” or the traditional “Bacalao a la Riojana” (cod in Riojan sauce). Spring is the perfect season to enjoy the plentiful freshness of the Rioja vegetable gardens: peas, artichokes, starflower, spinaches, and the delicious white asparagus very limited to April, May and June.
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