The Best Wine Experiences to Have in La Rioja

| Courtesy of Hotel Marqués de Riscal /
Esme Fox

La Rioja is one of Spain’s most famous wine-producing areas. Dotted with both historic and contemporary wineries, vast fields of vines and a number of wine museums, this is certainly one of the best places to learn about one of Spain’s much-loved drinks. Here’s our pick of the top wine experiences to have in La Rioja.

1. Visit the Vivanco Winery and Wine Museum

Wine Seller, Spanish

Dinastia Vivanco winery. Vivanco Museum of Wine Culture. Briones. La Rioja. Spain
© Gonzalo Azumendi / agefotostock / Alamy Stock Photo
Without a doubt, one of the best wine experiences in La Rioja is to visit the Bodegas Vivanco and its Museum of Wine Culture. Begin with a tour of the winery to learn about the process from vine to bottle, and end with a sample session in the tasting room. Next, make your way over to the Museum of Wine Culture to learn all about the history of wine in the Rioja region, as well the way it has helped shape everything from our cuisine to our society.

Tour the Riojania Wine Cellar

The Riojania Wine Cellar is an original 18th century wine cellar, which has been dug into the sides of the rock. Located in the small town of Quel, it’s filled with old 16th century wine-related objects and equipment. There’s also a small wine museum and a tasting room, where you can sample various types of La Rioja’s famous drink.

Riojania Wine Cellar Rioja, Quel, La Rioja, Spain +34 679 49 27 48

2. Stay at Frank Gehry's hotel and winery Marqués de Riscal

Hotel Restaurant, Wine Bar, Spanish

Courtesy of Hotel Marqués de Riscal /
Why not continue your wine experience by staying in a wine hotel? The Marqués de Riscalis both a hotel and winery, and was designed by Frank Gehry – the same architect responsible for the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. The winery is one of the oldest in the region, dating back to 1858, while the hotel is decidedly futuristic with its twisted and undulating wine-coloured metal.

3. Marvel at the Bodegas Ysios

Wine Seller, Bodega, Spanish

Bodegas Ysios, La Guardia, Alava, Spain
© Leuntje / Alamy Stock Photo
Another of Rioja’s most amazing wineries is the Bodegas Ysios, known for its unique architecture. It was designed by Santiago Calatrava and was created to mirror the undulation of the mountains behind it. Made out of stained cedar wood, it was also made to resemble the colour of wine barrels. As well as marvelling at this stunning building, you can also tour the winery and enjoy tastings.

Take part in the Batalla del Vino

If you’re in La Rioja at the end of June, you can take part in one of the most unique wine experiences – a wine battle. Taking place in the hills just outside the town of Haro, participants soak each other with over 500 litres of red wine, turning everyone’s white attire to purple. Read our article all about the famous Batalla del Vino here to learn more.

Batalla del Vino

4. Go wine tasting at the Bodegas Muga

Wine Bar, Bodega, Wine

Vintage locomotive and oak barrels in front of Bodegas Muga or winery, in Haro Station . District, Haro, La Rioja, Spain
© Kay Roxby / Alamy Stock Photo
Located in Haro, the Bodegas Muga is one of the oldest wineries in La Rioja, and still makes its own barrels, as well as wine. Tours are available by reservation, where you can watch the wine being made, as well as taste some at the end.

5. Learn about a unique wine making process at the Bodegas Baigorri

Wine Seller, Spanish

Vineyards, Winery Building Architect Inaki Aspiazu, Bodegas Baigorri, Sierra Cantabria in the background, Samaniego, Araba,
© Javier Larrea / agefotostock / Alamy Stock Photo
You’ve learned about the history of wine and traditional wine making in La Rioja, but now it’s time to look to the future of wine. At the futuristic glass and metal Bodegas Baigorri, designed by architect Inaki Azpiazu, the grapes are moved by gravity alone and descend seven storeys into the ground. Once inside the winery, you can watch the entire wine making process happen around you.

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