01438 741177         thewinesociety.com

Pre-Harvest Visit to Rioja



Just returned from a few days in Rioja at a time when many producers were preparing for harvest (I visited Contino, Muga, Artadi, Lopez de Heredia etc). Thought i’d share a couple of pictures as it was a great trip, very easy to get around and good fun. The only key bit of advice is book all tours/tastings in advance - no such thing as turn up on the day…

Contino - Single Vineyard


Artadi - El Pison Vineyard (The most expensive in Rioja!?)

Lopez De Heredia Vina Tondonia - Underground cellars


I love Rioja and travelled there many times in the past. The whole area has really developed their tourism options but I agree that they still built it around the need for booking ahead rather than drop-in.

These are great photos of some fantastic locations. Makes me miss it.

One of the things you did miss, though, are the beautiful views of the vineyards just after vintage … used to love those colours. Here’s an old photo of mine:


What a great photo! Fantastic colours. Yes I would have loved to just drop in on some producers I’ve never heard of and try their wine etc and maybe pick up a bargain.


You can often do a tasting or buy wine, but you can’t count on it, and especially not a visit.

Did you make it to the museum in Briones by Vivanco - you can usually just turn up there? That is who I used to work for and they are such lovely people, plus Briones has some stunning views across the area and over to the town of San Vicente.

There used to be some great wine places in town where you could pick up very mature Rioja for a song. Surprisingly (and no-one tells you this there), Riojanos rarely have a taste for the old vintage, they prefer recent vintages, so there are some bargains to be had. @Ewan knows my secret ‘hideaway’ restaurant with the treasure-trove winelist … so if anyone is heading to Rioja / Logroño in the future, drop us a note


That dinner ranks very highly on my all-time gustatory list!


We have started going to Rioja every 6 months or so (from Asturias so not far). San Vicente de la Sonsierra is our usual base but Briones is good too. With the smaller bodegas you can usually call the day before and arrange visits, the big ones are more booked up. And you can do DIY tasting in any bar as they all serve several local wines.
This is a link to a blogpost in Welsh showing early mediaeval wine presses which can be seen among today’s vineyards