Exploring bodegas in Spain famous for its wine
It has a huge number of vineyards many of which welcome people to come and find out about the grapes that are grown there and the wines that result.
There are a huge number of Spanish vineyards many of which welcome people to come and find out about the grapes that are grown there and the wines produced. The bodega is officially the warehouse where the wine is stored but it has come to mean a lot more than this in the Spanish wine world. Visiting one often means a tour of the vineyards, chance to sample and buy the wines and find out more about the history and traditions that surround an individual winemaking business.
It’s a very serious subject here and visiting bodegas or wineries can become an addiction. You can soon be drawn into the world of cellars, vineyards and tradition that surrounds the Spanish winemaking industry.
Although wine production is common across much of Spain, some regions are better known for it than others. Castilla-la-Mancha, la Rioja, Extramadura, Catalonia and Valencia, for example, are all well-known for their vineyards. It is estimated that there could be as many as 4,000 wineries in Spain. So where do you begin?
Planning your visit
The style and content of the trip will vary greatly according to the size and character of the bodega you’re visiting. A large winery can be good for your first experience or for someone with a limited amount of time. At a small Spanish winery you can expect a more personalised tour but it may not always run to schedule.
Don’t be too optimistic about the number of bodegas you can visit in one day. It is probably advisable to stick to a maximum of two. The timing for visits usually needs to fit around normal Spanish opening hours and you can expect your bodega to be open during the morning and your visit to finish at around 2pm. They don’t usually open on Sunday or during harvest time.
It is important to book your visit in advance. The main business of the bodega is producing wine and they will not usually be able to accommodate your interest without some notice. This is particularly important if you need a guide in your own language. If you do not speak Spanish it may be easier to visit a larger bodega which may be able to provide you with a guide who speaks English. Alternatively you might take your own translator with you if you are wanting to visit a smaller vineyard.
Many bodegas will have a shop where you can buy the wine. If they do, take advantage of this as it is usually available at a cheaper price than you would normally pay. It’s also particularly fulfilling to be able to take home bottles of the completed product when you’ve seen the process of creating it.
Deciding where to go
Tourist information offices can be a useful source of advice about bodegas to visit locally. They may also have information about a local ruta del vino or wine route.
There are lots of websites and articles that offer to guide you to the best venues and some tour operators offer wine tasting trips to different local and distant regions. These can be worth checking out if you prefer to have someone organise things for you.
A google search of ‘wine tour Spain’ will soon reveal a number of operators who provide anything from one day wine tours to week long road trips.
Some of these offer additional opportunities such as VIP treatment with access to different parts of the bodega or people not usually included in the general tours.
Many wine-producing areas have their own recommended routes for you to follow and provide information not only about the bodegas in the area but also its history, cuisine and what else you might do there. For example, in Alicante the ‘ruta del vino Alicante’.
This is aimed at wine tourists and the website introduces you to different towns in the province which have bodegas where visits can be organised. Below are some of those listed.
One popular destination is Pinoso. This is a well-known area for wine-production in the Alicante and Murcia province.
La Bodega de Pinoso grows the Monastrell grape which is indigenous to the South-East of Spain. You can visit the bodega during a two-hour tour during which you can learn about the wine production process, taste four wines and visit the shop.
You do need to be part of a group of more than ten people, however.
Alfáz del Pi
The Bodegas Enrique Mendoza offer tours that must be booked in advance. The tour includes explanation of how the different wines are made and an opportunity to taste a selection of seven different wines.
You find out about the bottling process and there’s even some tapas to sample too. After all, combining the right food with the right wine can only add to the experience. This particular wine tour has some very positive comments on trip advisor.
The Bodega Salvador Poveda produces a variety of wines including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Riesling and Monastrell. You can also sample here the Fondillón which is a strong, semi-sweet wine that had almost been forgotten until it was resurrected in this vineyard.
You can visit the bodega through making an appointment and this includes a walk through the vineyards, visit to the warehouses and workshops and finally opportunity to purchase the wines that you’ve seen being made.
Muro de Alcoy
Celler la Muntanya is one of 28 micro-vineyards and is at the centre of a campaign to restore local wine-making businesses.
This is a co-operative that as well as representing innovative practice in co-ownership is also credited with some impressive wines including the red wine, Almoroig.
There are different types of visits available including a mini tour of vineyards next to the river Agres. This tour begins at 10am and includes sampling three wines, a bite to eat and, of course, an explanation of wine making in the area.
Bodegas Gutiérrez de la Vega is famous for its dessert wines, including a slightly different version of Fondillón.
The bodega offers two types of visit, one standard and the other a special version at an increased price. During the cheaper version you can try three types of wine including blanco, tinto and dulce.
Here we have picked only a handful of vineyards in our local area. These are traditional, family businesses that are proud of their wines and the processes that go into making them.
Wherever you are based in Spain, you can’t beat a few bodega visits for combining insight into Spain and its culture with the opportunity to sample some very fine wines indeed.
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