Rioja Wine Month
Rioja is Spain’s finest wine producing region, located in the north of the country on the banks of the Ebro river and surrounded by the majestic Sierra de Cantabria and Sierra de la Demanda mountain ranges. Spanning 66,250 hectares, it is home to almost 600 wineries and is characterised by its varied climates and altitudes, making it a and food friendly wines, from robust reds, to vibrant rosados, and melting pot that produces some of the world’s most diverse fresh whites to crisp sparklings.
The Denominación de Origen Calificada Rioja is located in the north of Spain, on both sides of the River Ebro. It is divided into three large zones: Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa and Rioja Oriental. With more than 65,000 hectares of vineyards, each town and terroir has its own personality, making Rioja a unique land.
A Rioja zone with a predominating Atlantic climate and clay-limestone, ferrous-clay and alluvial soils.
It is not only known for the number of wineries and vineyards that are part of it, but for their quality and the great tourist offer around them.
A Rioja zone with predominating Atlantic climate and clay-limestone soils divided into terraces and small plots.
A sea of infinite vineyards joins the cultural and architectural heritage of its medieval villages, which preserve all the flavour of the passage of time and the traces of history.
The Rioja zone with the driest and warmest climate, as it is influenced by the Mediterranean climate, with mainly alluvial and ferrous-clay soils. It was known as Rioja Baja until 2017.
With a moderate Mediterranean influence, the vines are gently blown by the north wind, producing ripe, healthy grapes in excellent condition that define the essence of this territory and its wines.
Rioja As A Whole
The whole area benefits from the confluence of two widely opposing climates (Atlantic and Mediterranean) with an annual rainfall of a little above 400 l/m2 and mild temperatures, ideal conditions for grape growing.
Rioja soils are also highly suitable for quality viticulture, as they have a balanced structure (sand, silt and clays), are slightly alkaline, poor in organic content and have moderate water availability during the summer.
Altogether, the Wine Region has a diversity of soils (clay-limestone, clay-ferrous and alluvial) and micro-climates (vineyard layout and exposure levels, protection from wind, etc.) that give the wines unique traits. This, coupled with the use of different grape varieties and growing techniques, allows for a wide range of wines which vary in personality yet remain within the framework of a perfectly recognisable common identity.Rioja Grapes
Rioja Winemaking and Ageing
Rioja wines are embraced by the oldest Designation of Origin in Spain, which was officially recognised in 1925. and in 1991 Was awarded the highest category, Calificada, making Rioja the first designation to receive this award. The Designation Specifications define the demarcation of the production area, the grape varieties that can be grown, the maximum allowable yields, wine making and ageing techniques, and other aspects.
The Control Board, which includes grape growers, winemakers and Administration representatives, is in charge of ensuring compliance with the DO standards in order to protect the type and quality of Rioja wines.
The Control Board runs a strict and efficient control system from production to commercialisation, both for the quantity and quality of protected wines. For this, all Rioja wines have to undergo a series of analysis and tests to determine if the wine is worthy or not of the Denominación de Origen Calificada. Failure on the part of grape growers to comply with standards could lead to loss of the right to use the name Rioja for the production obtained.
Rioja has managed to stay at the forefront of wine production in the whole world and is now drunk in over 130 countries and Rioja has the largest number of barrels of any wine region in the world, 1.3 million in fact. Now, the passion and pioneering spirit of a new generation of winemakers is leading to an increasing focus on terroir and sustainability in the region – an exciting time for Rioja!