Uncork Adventure: A Guide to La Rioja Wine Tasting & Experiences

By: Nicole Indovino / Last updated: April 2, 2024

Estimated reading time: 13 minutes

The Best Wineries to Visit in La Rioja

Rioja is the ultimate wine destination. In La Rioja, vineyards, villages, and monasteries below the Sierra Cantabria mountains create a stunning backdrop for winery tours. As the oldest and most famous wine region in Spain, there are endless wineries to visit.

Each winery we highlight offers amazing wine tastings and experiences that immerse you in Rioja’s terroir and essence. We’re excited to share our favorite top wineries in the La Rioja region.

Join us as we unveil our favorite destinations. We give tips on when to visit, how to get around, and other helpful advice for a great wine-tasting trip.

La Rioja Wine Tasting

Before delving into our favorite wineries, let’s explore some of the region’s captivating history and background. La Rioja is Spain’s most historic wine region, with grape cultivation and winemaking dating back many centuries. The area became Spain’s first denominación de orígen calificada (DOC) in 1925, meaning a designation of origin of superior quality.

This DOC governing authority upholds the region’s wine quality by enforcing strict standards, including yield limits, aging requirements, and more. It communicates these standards on their bottles, classifying different wines as ‘Crianza,’ ‘Reserva,’ and ‘Gran Reserva.’

Understanding Rioja’s classification system will help you appreciate this region’s winemaking and the quality of the wines. It also informs which tastings or visits include their most premium selection. Read more

Exploring Barrio Estacion

Barrio Estacion, Haro

Explore the historic heart of Rioja’s wine culture in the Barrio de la Estación, a distinguished district in Haro, lined with prestigious wineries and rich in history. Originating in the 1860s with the introduction of the railway, this area became a crucial hub for wine transport, especially during the phylloxera crisis when it facilitated the export of Spanish wines to France.

It hosts some of the oldest wineries, such as R. López de Heredia y Landeta and Compañía Vinícola del Norte de España (CVNE), among others. The neighborhood has evolved into a vibrant destination for wine enthusiasts. Read more

Gomez Cruzado

Gomez Cruzado winery

Gomez Cruzado, founded in 1886, is a boutique winery in Barrio Estacion in Haro that produces exceptional wines. It makes fresh, elegant wines by cultivating old vine vineyards at higher altitudes in Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa. This dedication earned its 2018 Pancrudo 96 points from both Tim Atkin MW and the Robert Parker Wine Advocate.

The winery offers two different tasting experiences. The first is a guided group tour of the winery and tasting in the barrel room, including four wines and an appetizer. The premium tour offers a private visit, and you’ll taste the winery’s most exclusive wines, including Pancrudo, Cerro las Cuevas, and Honorable, all paired with delicious jamón Ibérico and cheese.

You can reserve a tour in English, Spanish, or French online. You can purchase wine and ship it directly to your home country. Please note that Gomez Cruzado requires reservations.

Luis Cañas

Bodegas Luis Cañas
The delightful Carmen at Bodegas Luis Cañas

Bodegas Luis Cañas is a well-known winery in La Rioja, producing wines in Rioja Alavesa for four generations. They actively practice sustainable and responsible farming methods to safeguard the environment and support the local community. Recently, Tim Atkin MW awarded their director of viticulture “Grower of the Year.” The award recognized his efforts in varietal recuperation and erosion prevention. Great wine starts in the vineyard, and this winery is doing it right.

The winery offers several different visiting options. The “Visit the Viewpoint” tour offers beautiful views of the vineyards. You will tour the winery and taste three wines in a personalized engraved souvenir wine glass with an appetizer. The “More than Vines” tasting offers a guided tour through the vineyard and includes a tasting of three premium wines paired with tapas.

The private tour includes a detailed winery tour. You will get to sample wine in the making chosen by the winemaker. Additionally, you will have a special tasting of old vintages from the family’s cellar. It finishes with a tasting of four top wines from the winery.

They offer all tours in English, Spanish, and French, and you can have wine shipped directly to your home country. Book your reservation ahead of time online at Bodegas Luis Cañas or via email at enoturismo@luiscañas.com.


Views over the vineyards at Roda
Wine tasting at Bodega Roda with a view out over the vines

Bodegas Roda was founded in 1987 in Barrio de la Estación in Haro. They create exquisite Riojan wines and a small amount of Olive Oil (in Mallorca). The winery is known for its emphasis on research and design, which helps to advance the industry.

They demonstrate their serious dedication to winemaking through the creation of Cirsion, a tempranillo. Crafted exclusively from the most perfectly ripened grape bunches sourced from various vineyards, this wine has earned 98 points from James Suckling in 2019.

Roda offers a plethora of unique winery experiences. Group tours include winery visits, a wine and chocolate pairing, or a walk through the vineyard. They also offer private tasting of historical vintages, vertical tastings, and a private lunch on their sunny riverside terrace. Additional options include horse and carriage rides through the vineyards or the chance to have a picnic in the vineyard.

All tours are available in English and Spanish, and they offer direct shipping of wine to your home country. Visit the Roda website for more information and reservations.

Remirez de Ganuza

Remirez de Ganuza is one of those wineries that pays attention to detail. The winery wasn’t built overnight! The owners took years to find the perfect vineyards in Rioja Alavesa. They’re all about making great wine with minimal fuss, so they came up with innovative winemaking techniques to achieve that. Located in the small, scenic town of Samaniego, the winery offers excellent tasting experiences that allow you to ‘nerd out’ on winemaking. You will learn how to select and ferment grapes and the special techniques used to create the wonderful Trasnocho wine.

This is truly a unique visit for any wine lover who wants to dive deeper into the production process. All wines you purchase can be directly shipped internationally. Private visits and tastings are available by appointment only at [email protected] or +34 945 60 90 22.


Ostatu Winery

Ostatu is a family-owned winery in Samaniego. Its focus is on showcasing the Rioja Alavesa terroir through its single vineyard and ‘parcela’ wines, made in a former boarding house. Ostatu offers a variety of visit experiences in English, Spanish, and Euskera, including a tour of the winery. It also provides tastings ranging from its younger wines to its exclusive single-vineyard selection. You can also arrange private tours tailored to accommodate your schedule and preferences.

If you want a more immersive experience, the winery has two guest apartments with vineyard views. They sell their wines at the winery and ship them directly to the U.S. For more information, visit their website or email [email protected].


Amaren means “of the mother” in Euskera in honor of Juan Luis Cañas’s mother, Angeles. She played a pivotal role in the family winery. Starting in 1995 with 100% Tempranillo, the group founded a separate winery in 2016 and employs concrete tanks, as was customary in the days of Angeles.

They offer group tours in Spanish and English, which include visiting the winery and tasting wines paired with aperitifs. Alternatively, they offer a vineyard experience exploring the terroir followed by a tasting.

You can book a private tour of the winery with the winemaker and try Amaren’s best wines. It’s a special experience you won’t forget. For more information or to reserve a tour, contact by email: [email protected]

Rioja Alta

In 1890, five Basque and Riojan enologists founded La Sociedad Vinícola de la Rioja Alta. Since then, it has had more than 125 successful vintages, making it one of the most historic wineries to visit in La Rioja.

They offer tours and tastings in English Monday through Friday and a Gran Reserva tasting on specific dates (check website). Weekend tours are available only in Spanish. The winery has a dining room open for lunch, serving delicious traditional Riojan cuisine paired with wine. You can find more information on their website.

Torre de Oña

Bodega Torre de Oña

Nestled below the Sierra de Cantabria, Torre de Oña is an incredibly scenic winery with stunning views of its high-altitude vineyards at 630 meters (2,066 ft). Part of the Rioja Alta S.A. group, the bodega offers a variety of experiences, including group tours and tastings. Additionally, it offers a picnic in the vineyard with tortilla, cheese, meats, and wine and has a dining room open Monday to Friday.

Also, accommodations are available for those wishing to extend their experience and fully immerse themselves in the breathtaking landscapes. The tours available online are group tours. Also, private tours are available upon request. More information

Bonus: Private Rioja Wine Masterclass

La Rioja Wine Masterclass

Mikel Ruiz de Viñaspre, a renowned wine professional from La Rioja with over 20 years of experience, has launched exclusive super premium wine masterclasses. Mikel has tailored these classes for a select group of partners, including Cellar Tours, and hosts them in his stunning 15th-century stone birthplace in medieval Laguardia. Mikel comes from a family of wine growers, bringing deep industry knowledge to these intimate sessions. Read more

Best Time of the Year to Travel

Of course, this area has something to offer year-round. However, the best time to travel to La Rioja is between May and October. These months offer excellent weather and, more importantly, span the vineyard’s growing season into harvest. Traveling in September will give you a front-row seat to the grape harvest and the ability to see winemaking in process during your visits.

Getting Around

From Madrid, I recommend taking the train from the Atocha station to Logroño or Haro, booking through Renfe, or using an app like Trainline. However, if you are taking an extended trip and want to travel from town to town in the region, renting a car is also an option, and the drive is about 3.5 hours from Madrid.

From Bilbao, I suggest taking the train to Logroño or Haro or hiring a private driver to shuttle you there. We recommend Talur Cars; they have a wide range of luxury cars with English-speaking drivers.

When in La Rioja, it’s best to hire a private driver or taxi or join an organized tour to visit wineries. This way, you can fully relax and enjoy the wine. The police in La Rioja are vigilant in monitoring the roads, and drinking and driving is unacceptable. Luckily, there are plenty of great transportation options to get to and from wineries.

Other noteworthy things to see and do in La Rioja

Wine Museum

In Rioja, in addition to wineries, you can visit Museo Vivanco in Briones, a museum created by the Dinastia Vivanco Foundation. There are many other things to see and do in the area. This museum provides an excellent representation and history of winemaking, featuring artifacts spanning the previous eight centuries.

The collection includes sculptures, paintings, old wine presses, and similar items. You will learn all about the evolution of winemaking from the Roman times to the present day through this unique collection. The museum also has a tasting room and two restaurants that are worth checking out! To reserve a tour or learn more

Wine Festivals

La Rioja has wine festivals like Fiestas de San Mateo in Logroño every September. The week is full of live music, dancing, fireworks, and plenty of Rioja wine. The festival celebrates wine culture and regional pride during the harvest season.

Another noteworthy festival is the Haro Wine Festival, which happens each June. It is more commonly known as the La Batalla del Vino (the Battle of the Wine). This is more of a war than a festival. The town supplies local wine that participants use to soak each other (in good fun!). Once everyone has had enough, there is a party in Plaza de la Paz with live music and more wine to drink.

Dining in La Rioja

Dining in La Rioja

When I think of Riojan cuisine, I think of the delicious sweetness of piquillo peppers and the delight of having artichoke or white asparagus when in season. With the diverse landscape of La Rioja, there is a bounty of fresh vegetables that make up their rich cuisine, paired with classic dishes like patatas a la riojana or ‘chuletas de cordero al sarmiento’ (lamb chops cooked over dried vine shoots). Pairing these dishes with an incredible Rioja Reserva creates an incredible gastronomic experience, connecting you to the essence of this region.

To learn more about where and what to eat, check out Cellar Tours’ top recommendations for dining in La Rioja.

Staying in La Rioja Wine Country

While visiting Rioja, immersing yourself in the food and wine, it only makes sense to find accommodation as equally beautiful and expressive as the wines of the region. We have assembled this list of premium places to stay in Rioja, recommended by Cellar Tours. Options range from boutique hotels such as the Palacio Samaniego and architectural wonders like the Marques de Riscal winery to cozy rural homes alongside the vineyards. Learn more.

En Fin

Between the unique tasting experiences from Riojan wineries, the delicious cuisines, traditional festivals, and more, there is so much to discover in La Rioja. Traveling to this region awakens all of your senses, providing an immersive experience. It leaves you with lasting memories of this particular jewel in Spain each time you open a bottle of Rioja at home.


Avatar photo

Nicole Indovino

Further Reading: Discover More Related Blog Content

More information

If you would like us to customize an exclusive luxury tour, contact us and let us know your travel plans. We offer luxury food and wine tours for private groups of a mininium two guests. In addition, all of our private, chauffeured tours are available year-round upon request.

Cellar Tours Private Luxury Food & Wine Tours

Cellar Tours

Welcome to Cellar Tours, the premier Luxury Travel Specialist since 2003. Our goal is to provide you with the ultimate food and wine vacation experience, with exclusive Mercedes chauffeured tours that showcase the best of local cuisine and wines.

Our team specializes in crafting bespoke, custom-designed vacations, events, and incentives tailored to your unique tastes and preferences. Travel is not just about seeing new places - it's about creating unforgettable memories and indulging in the finer things in life.

As members of Slow Food, OTAVA (Travel Agency Association in Spain), and the IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals), we promote sustainable tourism and support local communities. We work closely with top-rated hotels, restaurants, and wineries to provide you with the highest level of service and attention to detail.

Whether you're planning a romantic getaway, a family vacation, or a corporate retreat, let Cellar Tours be your guide. With our passion for food and wine, extensive knowledge of local culture, and dedication to exceptional customer service, we're confident we can exceed your expectations.

Contact us today to start planning your dream vacation – we can't wait to hear from you!

Recommended by