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The Independent Guide to Wineries and Wine Tourism in the Rioja Wine Region

6 de abril de 2020

Winery Visits: Our Evaluation Criteria

Wine tourism became popular in Spain in the middle of the first decade of the two thousand years since the wineries that open their doors to the public have multiplied. On the DOCa Rioja today is a common practice which in the nineties of the twentieth century was still a minority. Given the number of cellars in the region, size, seniority and economic capacity, the offer is extensive. Those interested in visiting wineries currently seeking guidance and references, as fans came to choosing a bottle.

In we have made a modest selection of wineries and we have highlighted a few for your interest. To carry out this assessment have established a number of criteria that have to do with both the facility itself and with the organization of the visits. Before listing to distinguish between the tourist and cultural interests of its wine cellar and interest. And also between visitors and wine lovers without professional relationship with the sector.

Some of the best wineries in Rioja wine from the point of view, wineries that produce great wines not offer tours to the public or not of particular interest to a common visitor. By contrast, oenologists, winemakers, laboratory technicians and agronomists are usually interested in knowing their facilities and manufacturing processes. This type of visit is part of his work and have been made since before the wine is disseminated. Sometimes professionals enjoy private visits, but also often make a conventional business with a group of ordinary visitors, ie a visit framed for all purposes in the field of wine tourism.

On our website we have directed our selection of wineries to non-trade visitors: wine aficionados in some cases they first visit a winery, or have already visited several and want to expand their knowledge or discover unique wineries. We have not considered the quality of the wines as a criterion for recommending a visit to a winery. Just as some wineries produce exceptional wines but not particularly attractive to visitors, other producing mid-range wines have characteristics that make it highly recommended visit.

Features that have taken into account to assess the interest of a warehouse are:

  1. Environment and exterior architecture
  2. Architecture and interior design
  3. Winemaking facilities (rooms making, aging, etc.)
  4. Travel and explanation of the visit
  5. Wine tasting or end

Along with these features, there are organizational aspects that influence the quality of tourism in the cellar:

  1. System public information and reservations
  2. Availability of the warehouse (days and hours of visits)
  3. Group size (minimum and maximum number of visitors)
  4. Languages ​​offered
  5. Quality / price of the visit

The wineries that have classified as "special interest" generally highlighted in several sections of the first category, which does not mean that excel in all or who are also outstanding in the organizational aspects of the second category.

In the Rioja Appellation wineries there are also small or medium size, without major attractions, can provide a great experience to visitors through a friendly and close or performing certain activities. It is difficult to do justice to all. Since the guides who lead tours can vary from one day or a schedule to another, and even one guide can do their work differently at different times, we have given more importance to tangible and stable aspects of the visit, as architecture or winemaking facilities, other more subjective and changeable as the amenity or the training of guides who have served us.

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