42° 28' 00" N


2° 30' 00" W




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about this region

Nestled in the northern part of Spain, the Rioja wine region has risen to prominence as a hub of wine-making excellence on the global stage. With a storied history, diverse terroir, and an unwavering dedication to quality, Rioja has firmly established itself as a symbol of distinction within the worldwide wine industry.

Spanning the picturesque Ebro River Valley in northern Spain, Rioja's geographical location is further defined by the protective embrace of the Cantabrian Mountains to its north. This strategic positioning creates an ideal microclimate for vine cultivation and has played an instrumental role in shaping the region's exceptional winemaking heritage.

The year 2021 marked a pivotal chapter in the narrative of Rioja DOC, marked by impressive achievements that underscore its influence and allure within the global wine market. In facto, according to the 2021 Report by the Rioja wine association, a staggering 254,174,525 liters of wine, proudly bearing the esteemed DOC Rioja label, were successfully marketed during this year. This remarkable feat translated to an impressive 8.34% increase compared to the previous year, reflecting the burgeoning demand and growing preference for the authentic and distinguished Rioja wines.

On the home front, the domestic market witnessed a substantial surge, with sales experiencing a remarkable 13.58% growth in comparison to the preceding year. This notable escalation is a testament to the enduring connection between local consumers and the captivating essence of Rioja wines, reaffirming the unwavering appreciation for their unique quality and character.

Rioja's commanding presence extended even further as it expanded its market share in 2021. In terms of volume, the market share of wines holding the esteemed DOC Rioja designation witnessed a commendable 0.7% uptick, culminating in an impressive 27.31% of the total market share. This growth exemplifies Rioja's indelible influence and esteemed stature within the realm of wine, solidifying its role as a trendsetter and a paragon of excellence.

Continuing a trend established in the preceding year, Rioja maintained its resolute footing in international markets throughout 2021. An approximate 2% rise in the volume of international sales underscored Rioja's enduring appeal and unwavering recognition in global arenas. This affirmation from international audiences reaffirms the timeless charm and universal appeal of Rioja wines, which continue to captivate the discerning palates of wine enthusiasts across the world.

Rioja wine industry radiates as an emblem of excellence and tradition in the ever-evolving world of wine. The remarkable achievements of 2021, characterized by substantial sales growth and increasing global demand, serve as a resounding testament to Rioja's prestigious status as a global wine leader. Because of its exceptional character and its ability to encapsulate the essence of its land and its heritage, Rioja continues to enchant and delight wine connoisseurs around the world, not only thanks to the region's dedicated producers but also to the two associations that ensure that the Rioja appellation remains at the highest standards of quality: the Rioja Alavesa Winemakers' Association and the Control Board of the Rioja Qualified Designation of Origin.



Vineyard Hectares



2,200 - 2,500

growing degree days

Discover Terroir

The Rioja wine region is located in northern Spain, encompassing parts of the autonomous communities of La Rioja and the Basque Country. It also extends into parts of the Basque Country and Navarre. It is characterized by its proximity to the Ebro River and the Cantabrian Mountains. The region's boundaries extend across several municipalities, including Logroño, Haro, and Laguardia. The diverse landscape of the Rioja region features a combination of river valleys, rolling hills, and elevated plateaus, all contributing to the distinct microclimates that influence grape cultivation and wine production. Notably, the region is divided into three subzones: Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa, and Rioja Baja. This geographical diversity, along with a rich history of winemaking, has established the Rioja wine region as one of Spain's most renowned and significant wine-producing areas.

The Rioja wine region in Spain experiences a continental climate with both Atlantic and Mediterranean influences. Situated inland, the region's climate is characterized by distinct seasons and moderate temperature variations. Summers are typically warm and dry, with average temperatures ranging from 25°C to 30°C (77°F to 86°F). Winters are cooler, with average temperatures ranging from 6°C to 10°C (43°F to 50°F).

The region's proximity to the Cantabrian Mountains to the north provides a degree of protection from harsh weather conditions, contributing to the moderation of temperatures. The mountains also play a role in blocking some of the moisture-laden winds from the Bay of Biscay, leading to relatively low rainfall in the region. Annual precipitation ranges from approximately 400mm to 600mm (15.7 inches to 23.6 inches), with variations across different subzones.

The vineyards of Rioja are planted at varying altitudes, which further influences the microclimates within the region. Higher-altitude vineyards in areas like Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa benefit from cooler temperatures, allowing for slower grape ripening and the development of desirable flavors and aromas.

The climate's pronounced seasonal variation, moderated by geographic features, fosters a suitable environment for grape cultivation. This balance of temperature, precipitation, and altitude variation contributes to the distinctive characteristics of Rioja wines, particularly those made from the Tempranillo grape variety that thrives in the region.

The Rioja wine region in Spain encompasses a diverse range of soil types, contributing to the complexity and diversity of its wines. These soils have been shaped by the region's geological history and its varied landscape. The primary soil compositions found in Rioja include:

  1. Chalk and Clay Soils: Rioja Alta and parts of Rioja Alavesa feature chalky and clay-rich soils. These soils retain moisture well, providing essential water reserves for the vines during dry periods. They also offer good drainage, which helps regulate water uptake and prevents waterlogging.
  2. Alluvial and Gravelly Soils: Rioja Baja is characterized by alluvial soils, often mixed with gravel. These soils are found in the Ebro River floodplain and contain a mix of sand, silt, and clay. Gravel components contribute to drainage and heat retention, creating an environment conducive to the cultivation of certain grape varieties.
  3. Limestone and Marl Soils: Parts of Rioja Alavesa are marked by limestone and marl soils, which tend to be shallower and less water-retentive compared to other soil types. These conditions encourage vines to develop deep root systems in search of moisture and nutrients, which can result in wines with distinct minerality.
  4. Iron-rich Soils: Some areas within Rioja Alavesa possess iron-rich soils, known locally as "pobres" or "ladybird" soils due to their reddish color. These soils tend to be well-draining and can lend unique flavors and characteristics to the wines produced from vines grown in them.
  5. Variability: Beyond these broad categories, there is considerable variability within each subzone of Rioja, with different plots featuring combinations of these soil types. This patchwork of soils, combined with varying altitudes and microclimates, contributes to the diverse range of wines produced in the region.

The distinct geological attributes of these soil types influence factors such as water availability, drainage, and nutrient composition. These factors, in turn, play a critical role in shaping the characteristics of the grapes grown in Rioja and the resulting wines, highlighting the strong connection between the terroir and the final product.


In the Rioja wine region, both red and white grape varieties are cultivated, each adding a unique touch to the wines. Among the most common red grape varieties are:

  1. Tempranillo: This is the reigning monarch of Rioja grapes. Known for its thick skins and rich color, Tempranillo imparts wines with red and dark fruit flavors, gentle tannins, and aging potential. It often forms the backbone of Rioja's red blends.
  2. Garnacha: Offering a touch of warmth and generosity, Garnacha contributes juicy red fruit flavors and soft tannins to Rioja blends.
  3. Graciano: Adding aromatic complexity and structure, Graciano is often used in small amounts to enhance the overall balance of the wines.

For white wines, the following grape varieties are commonly found:

  1. Viura: The primary white grape of Rioja, Viura lends freshness and acidity to the wines, with notes of citrus and green apple.
  2. Malvasía: Adding aromatic complexity and floral characteristics, Malvasía complements the blends by contributing depth and personality.
  3. Garnacha Blanca: Offering a touch of body and texture, Garnacha Blanca is utilized to create richer, fuller white wines.

Rioja, Spain, is renowned for producing a wide variety of red and white wines, each showcasing the unique terroir and grape varieties of the region. Here are some of the most common red and white wines from Rioja:

  • Rioja Crianza: Crianza wines are aged for a minimum of two years, with at least one year spent in oak barrels. These wines are known for their approachability, with fruit-forward flavors of red berries and a touch of oak influence.
  • Rioja Reserva: Reserva wines undergo longer aging, with at least three years of aging, including one year in oak barrels. They often display more complex flavors and aromas, with notes of ripe fruit, spices, and well-integrated oak characteristics.
  • Rioja Gran Reserva: Gran Reserva wines are aged for an extended period, with a minimum of five years of aging, including two years in oak barrels. These wines are known for their elegance and aging potential, showcasing matured flavors of dried fruits, tobacco, leather, and spices.
  • Rioja Blanco: Rioja white wines are typically made from the Viura grape (also known as Macabeo). These wines are often light and crisp, with notes of citrus, green apple, and sometimes floral aromas.
  • Rioja Blanco Reserva: Like the red Reserva wines, there are also white Reserva wines in Rioja. These are often more complex and age-worthy, with extended oak aging contributing to a rich and textured palate.

400 - 700 m


400 - 600 mm


Mix of clay, limestone, alluvial deposits and iron rich soils.

top varietal

Tempranillo, Garnacha, Malvasia, Viura

History of wine

The story of Rioja wine unfolds like a captivating tale, woven through the annals of time, tracing its roots to ancient civilizations and flourishing into a globally acclaimed viticultural treasure. Let us embark on a journey that spans centuries, revealing the rich history and evolution of Rioja wine.

The Roman Era

The origins of Rioja wine trace back to the Roman era when vines were first introduced to the fertile soils of the Ebro River Valley. Roman settlers recognized the region's potential for winemaking and laid the groundwork for what would become one of Spain's most iconic wine regions.

The Early Years (9th Century - 11th Century):

The history of the Rioja wine region kicks off in the 9th century when the region was under Moorish rule. The Moors introduced advanced irrigation techniques, which were a game-changer for grape cultivation. During the 11th century, the Camino de Santiago, a popular Christian pilgrimage route, passed through Rioja, boosting trade and wine production.

The Age of Monasteries (11th Century - 19th Century):

Monasteries played a pivotal role in Rioja's viticulture. They began cultivating grapes for sacramental wine. The monks were meticulous winemakers, refining techniques and creating some of the earliest documented Rioja wines. The Cistercian monks in particular are credited with shaping the region's vineyards.

Phylloxera and French Influence (19th Century):

In the mid-19th century, disaster struck when the phylloxera epidemic decimated European vineyards, including Rioja's. However, this crisis catalyzed a shift towards modernization. Innovations such as grafting onto American rootstocks and adopting new winemaking technologies revitalized Rioja's vineyards. This also led to the replanting of vineyards with French grape varieties, most notably Tempranillo. The French influence can still be seen today in the use of French oak barrels for aging.

The Birth of the Rioja Designation of Origin (1925):

Rioja's wine industry got a facelift in 1925 with the establishment of the Rioja Denominación de Origen (DO) (Designation of Origin (DO)). This regulatory framework laid out quality standards and geographical boundaries, ensuring only wines made within these limits could be labeled as "Rioja." The following year, the Regulatory Council (Consejo Regulador) of Rioja was established, marking a milestone in the region's history. This institution was founded to ensure quality and authenticity by regulating production methods, labeling, and aging requirements. The creation of the Council laid the groundwork for the establishment of the Denominación de Origen (DO) Rioja the same year, formalizing the region's commitment to quality.

Dictatorship, Modernization, and Global Recognition (20th Century):

During Franco's dictatorship, Rioja wines faced hardships due to strict regulations. However, in the post-Franco era, Rioja experienced a renaissance. Winemakers embraced modern techniques, like stainless steel tanks for fermentation and aging in small oak barrels, which catapulted Rioja wines into the global spotlight.

The Classification System (2000s):

In the early 2000s, Rioja introduced a classification system based on aging periods: Crianza (2 years), Reserva (3 years), and Gran Reserva (5 years). These classifications showcased Rioja's dedication to producing wines that evolve beautifully with time.

Sustainability and Innovation (21st Century):

Rioja has increasingly focused on sustainability, with many wineries adopting organic and biodynamic practices. The region has also embraced innovation, experimenting with new grape varieties and aging methods, pushing the boundaries of traditional winemaking.

Modern Export and Tourism Hub:

As the 21st century unfolded, Rioja's reputation soared on the international stage. Today, Rioja is a wine export powerhouse, with its wines reaching all corners of the globe. Its red and white wines captivated wine enthusiasts and critics alike. Winemakers continued to blend tradition with innovation, utilizing modern techniques while honoring time-honored practices. Rioja remains a beacon of Spanish winemaking prowess, with its diverse terroirs and grape varieties contributing to a kaleidoscope of flavors and styles. The region has also become a tourist hotspot, offering wine enthusiasts a chance to tour centuries-old wineries, sip world-class wines, and soak in the rich history of Rioja's winemaking journey.