When are you traveling?
The wineries that offer tours usually stay open to the public year-round, although some closed in August for vacation, or during harvest, to work more comfortably. But deciding when to travel to the Designation of Origin Rioja there are other factors to consider. The vegetative cycle of the vine determines both the work carried out in the vineyard and the landscape that we find in each station.
• Fall is one of the most beautiful stations in the DOC Rioja, the chromatic richness of the field in general and in particular vineyards. The vine leaves change color in the course of a few weeks, around October, at different rates depending on the grape variety and the characteristics of the plot, so that the vines are mosaics of greens, yellows and reds. Moreover, in the last weeks of September and early October it is performed and vintage is the best time to visit one winery in full swing, although some visits suspended during this period.
• In winter the vines lose their leaves and bare strains, allowing better appreciate the morphology of the plant, while leading to a more austere landscape appear. In return, in the colder months there is the possibility of finding snowy landscapes, which are especially beautiful in areas such as the Sierra de Cantabria. In winter you can also do one of the basic tasks of vines: pruning.
• La Rioja spring provides long days and mild temperatures. In fruit trees and vines and flowering begins work as espergura and desniete they are made.
• In summer the vines are already covered with leaves and have a uniform green; It is the period of greatest exuberance of the vineyard. For wineries is a period of low activity. Some close in August.
What can be seen in the cellars?
Some wineries produce, age and bottle the wine in the facilities; other accounts consisting only of working or parenting, or displayed to the public only the latter. We recommend that wine lovers who have never seen a wine made a complete visit, allowing them to know the whole process of winemaking, from the reception of the grapes to labeling the bottles. Those who know this process may prefer to visit a winery that stands out for its age, size or architecture, although do not expect to own or areas not included in guided tours processing. In our selection of wineries special interest we have indicated which spaces can be visited in each.
Price of the guided tours
In general the price of visits responds to internal criteria that are not directly related to the interest of the facilities and the quality of services offered. Yes it may depend, however, on the availability of staff and timetables and, especially, tasting or wine tasting is usually done at the end of the course. Some wineries offer different modalities of visit, with different prices depending on the number and quality of visitors will taste wines. Because these wines may vary, particularly we recommend people interested in tasting wines which prove to consult before requesting a visit. Otherwise, a wine cellar with an entry price higher than another is not necessarily more interesting and has better wines. Until a few years ago, some of the most emblematic wineries of Rioja offered free visits.
Direct sale of wine in the cellars
All we visited wineries sell wine directly to the public, although some have a full-fledged store and others do not. Some wineries sell their wines at market prices, so buy them presents no savings over do it in a regular store. But most offer a small discount per bottle or case, and there are also performing very attractive offers. If you plan to visit a winery for the purpose of buying wine, you should first consult their prices and compare with your local store. Moreover, keep in mind that you may only move to a winery to buy wine without a guided tour, and vice versa. During a trip to the IO Rioja may be interesting to some extent decouple both activities. Ie visit a winery to buy wine and other facilities to meet.
Size and characteristics of the groups on guided tours
• The level of enjoyment of a visit may depend largely on the size of the group of visitors. Small groups allow for more personalized attention from the guides, which can better handle inquiries from visitors and adapt the explanations to their level of knowledge. Some wineries impose limits on the size of the groups in order to provide quality service, even at the cost of reducing their income; others receive complete buses (about fifty people). In our view, this is a factor that should be taken into account when practicing wine tourism.
• In general, the explanations of the tours are designed for visitors with a medium or elementary knowledge. Some wineries also made technical visits to professionals, led by a winemaker.
• Many wineries are accustomed to visits by families with children. If they are informed in advance of the presence of minors, they may serve a must at the end of the tour while adults savored a glass of wine. Parents should be aware of, in any case, the winery tours are not too fun activity for young children. However, some wineries have made an effort to adapt the explanations of their guides to groups with children, and a few perform special activities for them, such as in harvest time.
Proper clothing to visit a winery
In some warehouses, most of the visit takes place in halls and aging wine that require cool temperatures and some moisture. For this reason, it is advisable to always wear warmer clothes, a jacket, even in summer.
Some wineries have a restaurant on its premises, but more often that have a dining room where they offer one or several set menus for groups, whenever you book ahead. Some have their own kitchen staff and others work with catering services. Sometimes, these menus are very simple and the prices are equivalent to those of a restaurant upper-middle range. If you want to eat in a cellar, we recommend that you report earlier about the available menus and service characteristics. The quality of products and kitchen can vary considerably, as well as the charm and comfort of the dining room.
What else to see in La Rioja
Wine culture is one of the main attractions of La Rioja, but travelers are restricted to visit wineries and vineyards a very limited impression of the region will be.
Some of the most beautiful towns and districts of the region are located in mountainous areas of livestock economy, or soil and climatic conditions that make impossible the production of quality red grapes. Travelers who wish to form a complete picture of La Rioja can find these people in the mountains of the Iberian delimiting the Ebro valley to the south, a short distance from the vine growing areas.
This highlights another mountain Rioja saw Cameros, popularly divided into Old and New Camero Camero, and the Sierra de la Demanda, with municipalities as Ezcaray and Anguiano Canales de la Sierra, who meet scenic, monumental and ethnographic values. In Cameros are the Sierra Onion Natural Park, which constitutes the foremost ecological space in the region, and places like Torrecilla, Ortigosa, Nieva, El Rasillo or San Roman, with abundant resources for the practice of rural tourism and sports outdoor.
Also, La Rioja stands out worldwide by the existence of deposits of dinosaur footprints, which besides having a huge scientific value represent one of the most unique tourism resources of the region. Among the many existing be recommending Enciso, a town that also has a nice urban area and is a good benchmark for other interest tours Rioja Baja.
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