La Rioja: wine-themed activities
Cycle touring in the vineyards of La Rioja
La Rioja is justly famous for its broad extensions of vineyards and for the quality of its wines. If you travel to this region, as well as being able to enjoy tasting these brews, you can also learn all about the world of wine in a more original –and particularly a more active– way. There are several companies organising activities on this theme, in a variety of languages. Here are just a few of the options:
-Flying over the vineyards. You can gaze down at the landscape as you float along in a hot-air balloon. Departures are at dawn and the flight usually lasts an hour. At the end you will be rewarded with a personalised diploma and the chance to sample some of the famous Rioja wines. This activity is available in Spanish and English.
-Horse riding: to discover nature at the gallop, what better than to sign up for one of these guided routes on horseback, specially adapted to all ages and levels? This activity is available in English, French and German.
-Kayaking amid the vineyards: on the calm waters of the Ebro River on its way through the Rioja Alta region. This activity is available in Spanish and English.
-Be a winemaker for a day: If you’re not content with being a mere onlooker, this is the option for you, as it will enable you see how it feels to be a genuine winemaker. You’ll learn how to pick the grapes, prune the vines, remove the leaves, and bottle the fruit in a traditional wine cellar. You can also sign up for an introductory tasting course which will enable you to show off your knowledge of different varieties of wine. This activity is available in Spanish, English and German.
- Hiking and cycle touring. These routes on foot or by bike are accompanied by a description of the wine-making process, and a visit to the wine presses to see how the grapes are picked, stamped and pressed. This activity is available in Spanish and English.
-4x4 among the vineyards. On tours such as the “Thousand and one grapevines route” or the “Grapevine, oaks and beeches route”, you’ll feel the thrill of passing through vineyards, valleys and mountains in a 4x4 vehicle, or bordering the Way of Saint James itself. This activity can last anything from a half day to one full day, with the added option of taking away a photographic record of the route.
To find out the companies which arrange these activities and for information about prices and times, check the official website of the La Rioja Tourist Board.