I started getting into my wines when I lived in Australia.
I mean I’d always been a drinker of the stuff, just never really a connoisseur; yet in my life prior to travel blogging (when I managed restaurants around the world to fund my adventures) it became increasingly important that I learnt what I was talking about!
This was especially in Australia, where they produce some beauties and are culturally pretty hot on the stuff.
Returning to Europe then, I kept up my knowledge and now learning about wine and occasionally trying a glass of 2 is a great thing I love to do during my travels whenever I can.
From South Africa to Argentina, Italy to Romania, there’s loads of places where viticulture tourism is now huge and growing and so is my love for it.
Which leads me on perfectly to talk about this amazing wine-lovers spot I’ve just discovered – Vivanco in Spain….
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This post has been written in collaboration with Vivanco.
Located in La Rioja, there’s no prizes for guessing the sort of winemaking these guys are into.
This northern region of the country has long had the traditions of grape-growing at its heart and with a huge diversity of landscapes, has cultured a wide and exquisite variety of grapes over the centuries.
Set in an area comprised of a large valley, protected by 2 surrounding mountains ranges, this region framed by some seriously stunning natural scenery, ancient monasteries and historic Medieval towns.
But while Vivanco taps into the legacy of landscape, this is certainly a vineyard taking the skill of winemaking into the modern world.
A New Way to Feel the Culture of Wine
From winery and museum tours to its onsite restaurant, courses, events and of course, tastings, Vivanco are dedicated to making the art of wine growing in this region something for the whole family – accessible, enjoyable and educational.
Indeed Vivanco is much more than just wine.
A winery where wine is understood from a demanding, dynamic, contemporary perspective, here the ancient art of viticulture is a project, a passion and a true expression of a multi-generational dream.
Bringing together all the finest elements of its surrounding landscape, history and ambience, and thrusting them to the fore, Vivanco has at its heart a desire to share a different and unique experience with a different and unique collection of wines.
The Vivanco Museum
At the forefront of the Vivanco experience is their stunning and state of the art museum, which is a part of the company’s excellent foundation – an organisation established with the single goal to educate, teach, and raise awareness of the relationship between man and wine for over 8,000 years.
4,000 sqm in size, covering 6 rooms and with 5 permanent exhibitions, this is a highly innovative space that is now revered as one of the top cultural icons dedicated to wine worldwide.
It’s a huge project, driven the passion of owner, Rafael Vivanco Saenz, who continues his grandfather and father’s legacy in developing this project.
Outside, the Garden of Bacchus is home to a collection of over 220 grape varieties and is a peaceful space in which the beauty of this part of Spain in palpable.
You can visit the museum independently or with the helpful an informative audio guide – either way it’s easy to lose yourself here for a few hours in this interactive space.
As well as museum tours, Vivanco also run tours of their fabulous winery – this is where you can really feel the force of the wines taking centre stage and learn that viticulture is at the centre of everything that happens here.
Reliving the deep and sensitive process that goes into growing the grapes and producing the wine here, you will see how all the grapes are hand-picked and placed delicately into small containers to prevent their skins breaking.
You’ll visit the cold room, where the grapes are kept for 24 hours to reduce their temperature to 3 degrees in order that the best colour and aroma be extracted in all its perfection; a process known as cold maceration.
Then there’s the sorting tables, the gravity-fed vatting process and the French oak used in the barrels and finally the malolactic fermentation process.
Through all these exquisite details, what really shines through is the Vivanco family commitment to “giving back to wine what wine has given us”.
For Vivanco is very much a family affair, a personal calling, where wine is a way of life and its vineyard the child of dedication to joining the modern, innovative methods of viticulture with more traditional techniques that have existed for centuries in this aged landscape.
And it’s paid off, their incredible winery has been named one of the best in the world in the prestigious list Wine & Spirits Top 100 Wineries of the Year for 2015.
Current owner, Rafael Vivanco Saenz, who studied agricultural engineering in Pamplona, followed by time at Faculty of Oenology in Bordeaux, returned to run the family business in Briones in 2001 and it is his vision that makes this place a leading wine tourist destination in not only all the Rioja region and Spain, but the world.
But Vivanco is More Than Just Experiences
… it is also a place for the senses; a meeting point between knowledge and the enjoyment of wine.
Take their superb restaurant for example, where wine is not only paired perfectly with the cuisine on offer, but also incorporated into it.
Then there’s the Gastrobar, which allows for more casual tapas dining, their Wine Corner which is the perfect tasting spot and the creative workshops they even run for children.
For Vivanco is a place where wine is truly an art of living, a space where an innovative, energy-filled perspective offers a unique and exclusive experience in the culture of wine.
A Place to Learn
But is perhaps the ability to try wine tastings in the company of experts that is the icing on the cake in Vivanco’s leading destination, it’s the reason you really can’t miss a trip here.
So make your reservation here and ensure your chance to savour the recognised quality of the Vivanco wines amidst a region already known and admired by wine lovers across the globe.