January 20

The 7 La Rioja Bodegas You Need to Know

Spain

Embrace the best of La Rioja with a visit to some of the most special bodegas in the region. Find out how and where in this helpful guide to Spanish red wine and white wine, wine spas and more wine tourism and travel ideas. #LaRioja #VisitLaRioja #VisitSpain

Book mark now on Pinterest, read about the La Rioja Bodegas later

In a region with over 500 wineries, finding the right La Rioja Bodega for you is no easy feat. Luckily, we've worked tirelessly to gather this list of the best spots in Spain. Buckle your seatbelt, grab a designated driver and enjoy this travel guide to the best bodegas in La Rioja.

Where are the best bodegas in La Rioja?

Ask any local for their favourite La Rioja bodega and you’ll be met with a furrowed brow. Pain etched across their face.

At best, they’ll laugh.

“Just one? I couldn’t tell you! Top three? No, I couldn’t possibly say!”

It’s like asking a parent to pick their favourite child or a travel blogger to pick their favourite destination.

You'll find more than 500 bodegas in the Spanish region of La Rioja. Choosing a favourite is an almost impossible task.

Woman gazing at the vineyards in La RIoja

Wondering which bodega is best in La Rioja

La Rioja is proud of its roots (they’re attached to vines, after all). And they’re steeped in history. Generations upon generations of people dedicated their lives to nurturing wine on this earth, aiming for nothing less than being the best in the world.  

But the great thing about wine is that it loosens inhibitions. And so, after a little encouragement (and a few glasses of the good stuff,) some shared their inside knowledge with me.

They dared to reveal a few favourites.

Paired with my on the ground research (research, I tell you!) here's a round up of some of the best bodegas in La Rioja.

Disclosure: This visit to La Rioja was part of a #VisitLaRioja project in partnership with the La Rioja tourism board and Visit Spain. This post may also contain affiliate links, meaning we may earn a small commission if you book or buy through this article. This doesn't cost you anything and we only recommend the good stuff. Ta!

Spain - La Rioja - Haro - woman standing in front of barrels

Visit La Rioja, drink wine and call it a cultural experience

7 La Rioja Bodegas Not To Miss

CVNE: The Wine Cemetery

For affordable wine, an affordable tour and the chance to see a wine cemetery head to CVNE.

Find preserved bottles of wine covered in mould, see huge vats of the good stuff, and hear about what makes their wine special.

Of course, as with any worthwhile visit, you’ll get to sample some of the top sellers.

Allow a few hours for this experience. Tours and tastings start from €15.

Inside Tip

Don’t rule a visit out if you have children. Many of the bodegas, including CVNE, offer workshops to entertain little ones.

Bodegas Corral: Ruins and History

Head here for award-winning wines, history and a beautiful estate.

A section of the Camino passes through the stunning Bodegas Corral vineyards and it’s here that the San Juan de Acre Pilgrim Hospital ruins can be found.

Over 100 years of experience, knowledge and history recently led to two of Bodegas Corral’s wines winning awards at one of the most prestigious international competitions in the wine world. Try The Altos de Corral Reserva 2010, which was awarded ‘Best Spanish Red Wine’, and Don Jacob Gran Reserva 2004, which scooped ‘Best Rioja Gran Reserva’.

Choose from various vineyard tours, including options to ride on horseback.

What does the word bodega mean?

 What is a bodega?

In Spain, a bodega is essentially a wine producer. The word can apply to a production line, wine shop, cellar, vineyard or warehouse.


Put simply, there are small producers and big ones. The smaller bodegas usually focus on heritage with vineyards that have been in the family for many years.


In contrast, bigger and more commercialised bodegas can make around 10million bottles per year. The focus is on consistency; making a bottle of wine that’s instantly recognisable and that the buyer can trust.


Digging deeper,  the word bodega derives from the Latin apothēca, or apothecary. Magic, healing potion indeed!

Vivanco: the wine museum

Vivanco comes up time and again with locals. 

Listed as one of the top five wine museums in the world, here you can taste wine, learn about how it’s made and see the vineyards and cellars in action.

More than that, though, you can time travel to see corkscrews through the ages and from around the world. Bottles from past eras. Art influenced by wine and so on. Everything you want to know about wine is here. It’s where the past and present are one.

You can choose to wander through this modern, interactive 9,000m2 site on your own or enlist the help of a tour guide. Entry is from €15.

Inside Tip

Enjoy dishes cooked with wine in the beautiful onsite restaurant that looks out to the vineyards and the Sierra de Cantabria.

Finca de los Arandinos : Sitting Pretty

This contemporary winery offers the prettiest barrels. Visit this one if you like chic, stylish design.

The vineyards scatter themselves around the town of Entrena. However, the grapes from the family vineyards are pressed in the cellar and then stored and bottled.

It would be criminal not to tie your visit to Finca de los Arandinos with a stay…and a trip to the spa and restaurant.

Bodegas Tritium: Hipster Winery

Bodegas Tritium offers ample opportunities to get that Instagram shot. This hipster spot is more than just looks though.

Sip artisan wine made by Javier Fernandez, Francisco Rubio and Alejandro Campo, who have made viticulture and oenology their life’s project. Tours start from €20.

Bodegas Muga: Segway Tours

Looking for something quirkier? Bodegas Muga, offers affordable classic tours, as well as segway tours of the vineyards, with a picnic and tastings. 

This family-owned winery honours traditional winemaking methods and seeks to offer premium wines. Head here to see the only cellar in Spain with a master cooper and three in-house barrel-makers.

Bodegas Franco-Españolas: Local Favourite

José, our wine guide, let slip that this is one of his favourites. The first centenary of the winery was celebrated in 1990 and since then it’s continued to flourish.

Its privileged location, on the banks of the Ebro River, has made Bodegas Franco-Españolas a witness to the history of Logroño.

Wine tours range from €14 – €42. Make sure you try a glass of the award-winning Bordón Reserva.

Botas Rioja


Most locals have two or three wine holders for when they're out and about. Taken to football games and special events, the containers are akin to a hip flask. Here though, it’s traditional for them to be made of goat or lamb skin.


In Logroño you’ll find a 5th generation craftsman and his little shop, Botas Rioja, offering a huge collection of them. It’s one of the last few in Spain. 

Embrace the best of La Rioja with a visit to some of the most special bodegas in the region. Find out how and where in this helpful guide to Spanish red wine and white wine, wine spas and more wine tourism and travel ideas. #LaRioja #VisitLaRioja #VisitSpain

Book mark now on Pinterest, read about the La Rioja Bodegas later

Special Wine Events

 in La Rioja

Wine Tastings at a Castle

On 18 May 2020, visit the castle of San Vicente de la Sonsierra for a day of wine in a beautiful setting. Enjoy tastings from eight different wineries, visit the cellar and meet with experts in the field. If you can’t make this date keep an eye on their website for other exciting events.

Horse-Drawn Carriages Through Vineyards

Equestrian Wine Tourism offer the chance to relax in a horse-drawn carriage through picturesque vineyards. You can also add a visit to a winery and/or tastings. Availability varies throughout the year depending on the seasons.

Wine-Pairing Events

Check out the Catarte Facebook page for the latest wine-pairing events in Logroño. Featuring wines from the region, local gourmet food and artists, it’s a feast for the senses.

The Pinchos and Wine Route in La Rioja

Calle Laurel in Logroño is a famous, walkable route of nearly 80 different bars. Often called 'Path of the Elephants', the tale says those who tried to drink a wine in each bar ended with a good trunk!


It’s fun and a sociable part of local life. Each bar specialises in a particular pinchos, so pop in for a small bite to eat and a glass of wine before heading to the next one.


Wandering what pinchos is? It’s essentially a small bite to eat served on a piece of bread.


Don’t miss…

Read more about pinchos or pintxos in San Sebastian here.

Your Guide to Wine Tasting

You don’t need to be a wine expert to go wine tasting. In fact, I think it’s an advantage if you don’t know much about wine!

The guides and hosts are so passionate about what they do. And each bodegas has its own story. Its own speciality wine. Let them enlighten and educate you.

Tips for Wine Tasting in La Rioja

  • Arrive with space in your case. Most bodegas offer the chance to buy their wine and many have great deals for visitors.
  • Book a taxi. Now is not the time to limit yourself to one small glass.
  • Try to visit at least one heritage bodega and one modern one. That way you’ll enjoy a lovely contrast.
  • Lose your inhibitions. Don’t worry about looking silly when you swirl and spit, or guess the notes incorrectly. Follow your guide’s lead and have fun with it.
  • Most hosts speak excellent English and are very knowledgeable. Got a question? Ask them – they’ll love you for it!

The Wine Educator

Keen to learn and explore, but feeling a bit daunted? Consider some help from The Wine Educator. José can take you on a tour of some of his favourites, order the drinks and blow your mind with his knowledge - all with a big smile on his face.

All in all, La Rioja is the place to go if you enjoy wine. There are so many different types to try and places to visit. You really can't go wrong.

And no, I'm not telling you my favourites...though I may say otherwise after a drink or two ;)

How to Get to La Rioja

Flights

Fly direct from London Gatwick to Bilbao via British Airways or Vueling, or fly from London Stansted via easyJet. Use Skyscanner to find the best fit for your flights to Bilbao here.

Whilst there are other flights from the UK they’re indirect, so not really worth the hassle.

Getting Around

The flight is just under two hours. From Bilbao, it’s a one-hour drive to La Rioja.

By Car

I’d definitely recommend either hiring a car for your trip or booking a taxi, as it’s the fastest way to travel in the region. Check prices and availability to rent a car with Hertz at Bilbao Airport here.

By Taxi

Expect to pay around £90 for a taxi transfer. You can rent a car from as little as £14 per day (depending on when you travel, of course).

By Train

Alternatively, you can catch a train from Bilbao to Haro. It should take just under two hours and cost you around £12.

You can also go by bus, from Bilbao to Zambrana to Haro. Allow up to three hours and expect to pay around the same price.

More on Travel in Spain

Browse through our articles on travel in Spain for more ideas and inspiration. In particular, check out 21 Unusual Things to do in Spain and 49 Interesting Facts About Spain.


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