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Dinastia Vivanco

This extensive museum, which includes five exhibition halls and a garden with more than 220 grape varietals, sits adjacent to the Vivanco family’s vineyards. The brainchild of Pedro Vivanco Paracuellos (who is the grandson of the founder), the museum is dedicated to exploring the more than 8,000-year history between man and wine. Tastings and tours of the winery and museum are available, and there is also a restaurant that looks over the vineyards.

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Indagare Tours: Wineries

Indagare can create unique wine tasting experiences customized to your individual palate and preferences. Serious oenophiles should plan on spending a few days to explore the wide range of wineries in the region. Spend your first day exploring the oldest, most traditional wineries in the railroad district in Haro. A picnic lunch at the nearby Roda winery overlooking the Ebro River is lovely while visiting the district.

Subsequent days should be divided between exploring avant-garde wineries such as Ysios and Marques de Riscal and visiting cultural sites such as Yuso and Suso monasteries. Unwind with a treatment at the Caudalie spa at the Marques de Riscal hotel before having dinner at the divine Michelin-starred restaurant there. Driving times between wineries are no more than 20 to 30 minutes and some, like those located in the railroad district, are within walking distance of one another, so covering three or four in a day with a stop for lunch is doable.


Originally founded by King Sancho Abarca in 1164, this beautiful walled hamlet, which was once a military fortress, is one of Spain’s most well-preserved medieval villages. Perched on a hilltop with views of vineyards on all sides, Laguardia is a wonderful place to walk through the narrow cobblestoned streets, which are lined with wine shops, pinchos bars and cafés. A visit to the city’s underground tunnels—which during military times were used to keep residents safe, and today are used to store wine—is a must.

San Millan de la Corolla

Those who are looking for an alternate activity to wine tasting should head to the small town of San Millan de la Cogolla. Located approximately 25 miles from the capital city of Logrono, the village takes its name from Saint Emilanus (San Millán) a 6th-century saint who sought refuge in a hermitage dug into a rock. The most famous attractions here are the twin monasteries, Yuso and Suso, which were declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO and house manuscripts that contain the first written words of Castilian Spanish, known as the Glosas Emilianenses. This name was given to the first notes in Castilian and Basque, which the transcribers jotted in the margins when they had trouble understanding the Latin text.

Yuso is the larger of the two monasteries and was built in the 16th and 17th centuries. The much older Suso monastery was the site of Millán’s burial before he was sanctified in 1030 and later transferred to Yuso.

Santo Domingo de la Calzada

Noteworthy for being a stop on the Camino de Santiago (the pilgrim’s route to Santiago de Compostela), this medieval Riojan town has a storied history. Legend has it that a couple of pilgrims and their son stayed at an inn in the village where the innkeeper fell in love with the son. When she was rejected, she hid a silver cup in his bag to later accuse him of robbery. The pilgrim was tried and hanged. When his parents went to see the body of their son, they found that Santo Domingo had kept him alive. They told the miracle to the judge, who said that the young man was as alive as the cockerel and the hen that he was about to eat. The two birds stood up and started to cluck. To this day a hen and rooster are kept inside the cathedral and the town’s motto is: “Santo Domingo de la Calzada, where the hen clucked after being roasted.”

Sites worth seeing are the beautiful cathedral, which was begun in the Gothic style and also features Baroque and Romanesque elements, the old Pilgrim’s hospital, which is now a hotel and the convent of San Francisco. The Saint’s house is a good information center for those who want to learn more about the pilgrimage route.

Winery: Bodegas Muga

Located in the historical Barrio de la Estacion (railway station district), this winery has been family-owned and -operated since 1932 and is one of the most traditional and elegant producers in the region. Bodega Muga is the only cellar in Spain (and one of only six in the world) that makes its own barrels in house. You will feel as though you are taking a step back in time as you watch the artisans work at their craft. The house offers a broad array of wines from Rosé to Rioja with some beautiful gran reservas.

Indagare Tip: A lunch or dinner can be coordinated for groups of up to 20 in a charming, exposed brick room with an original fireplace

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Winery: Campo Viejo

Campo Viejo, which was founded in 1959, is the largest winery in Rioja, and with an annual production of 30 million bottles, it is also one of the largest producers in the world. A sustainable winery—a first for the winemaking industry in Rioja—was added in 2001. Struck by the natural beauty of the landscape upon which the winery is situated, architect Ignacio Quemada decided to bury most of the building below the ground. The result is a modern, elegant structure that does not disrupt the gorgeous acres of vineyards.

Indagare Tip: Ask to do an alfresco tasting overlooking the vineyards and try the Dominio Rioja as well as the delicious Coleccion Privada Felix Azpilicueta Blanco.

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Winery: Casa Primicia

Originally used by the church to collect tithes and taxes, Casa Primicia is the oldest building in the medieval town of Laguardia. It was transformed in 1973, when Julian Madrid restored the historic building and its cellars. Still family-run (Madrid’s grandson is now in charge), Casa Primicia produces special but accessible, top-quality wines that honor the history of the region.

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Winery: Contino

Revered for their high quality and superb flavor, Contino wines exhibit the great complexity Rioja is capable of producing. The winery was founded in 1974 and has earned a reputation as one of Rioja’s most consistent wine producers. Located on 62 acres in Laguardia, Contino creates a range of flavorful wines, from its refreshing white to the highly praised Viña del Olivo.

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Winery: CVNE

The Compañía Vinícola del Norte de España (CVNE), known as “Cune”, is the region’s largest producer with a yield of 10,000,000 bottles annually. Established in 1879 by brothers Eusebio and Raimundo Real de Asúa in the historic train station area of Haro, the winery is still controlled by members of the family. CVNE now owns four wineries: CVNE, Imperial, Viña Real and Contino. Of particular interest is the Gustave Eiffel–designed wine cellar: the visionary employed an innovative technique of using steel trusses and no columns to support the roof, which provided a larger space and improved the barrel management in the cellar—revolutionary at the time.

Winery: Lopez de Heredia

Founded by Don Rafael Lopez de Heredia in 1877, this is the oldest winery in Rioja. Producing just 800,000 bottles, it is now run by the fourth generation of the Heredia family, who take extreme pride in the wines, aging them for much longer (6-8 years) than is mandated by the organization that controls standards for wine. López de Heredia produces a number of wines, including Crianzas and Reservas, but it is best known for its Tondonia and Bosconia Gran Reservas.

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Winery: Miguel Merino

Despite being one of the smallest and youngest wineries in the Rioja region, Miguel Merino estate makes some of the most prestigious wines in all of Spain. Located in Briones, the winery produces a limited number of bottles per vintage from its vineyards, some of which are home to vines over 75-years-old. Grapes are harvested by hand and carefully inspected, resulting in very high quality wines for the small annual production.

Winery: Remirez de Ganuza

The principle behind Remirez de Ganuza wines is simple: stay loyal to the grape. Located in the middle of Samaniego village, the vineyard was only established in 1989, but it has already become one of the most beloved in the area. This may be partly thanks to the fact that prior to establishing Remirez de Ganuza, founder Fernando Remirez de Ganuza was a vineyard broker and keenly aware of where the best ones were located.

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Winery: Roda

Roda is one of the newer wineries in Rioja that focuses on a modern style of Riojan wine. Unlike its established neighbors in the railroad district including Bodegas Muga, Lopez de Heredia and Cune, the winery is just 28 years old. With a prime location along the banks of the Ebro river, Roda produces some exquisite wines. Its wonderful wine cellar opens out to the river and lunch or wine tastings can be arranged on a spectacular balcony overlooking the rolling vineyards.

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Winery: Ysios

Located in the foothills of the Sierra de Cantabria mountain range in Laguardia, the Ysios winery is quite literally a work of art. Designed by world-renowned architect Santiago Calatrava (the visionary behind New York City’s World Trade Center transportation hub), the serpentine aluminum roof mirrors the mountainous landscape, fitting seamlessly into its surroundings. The building itself resembles the outline of wine barrels and takes different shapes depending on the angle from which it is viewed. The winery focuses on producing premium reserve wines.

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