La Rioja, land of wines and breathtaking landscapes. Eastern Rioja, in particular, for climate and soil, has a privileged position for the cultivation of the vine, giving the wines interesting peculiarities.
Art and culture intersect along the itineraries proposed by La Rioja Eastern Wine Route, an association that offers tourists the opportunity to experience truly unique visual and sensory experiences.
Let’s find out more from the words of Esther Rubio, Director of La Rioja Eastern Wine Route.
Since the Association was born, what objectives has it achieved and what remains to be achieved?
The Rioja Qualified Designation of Origin includes the eastern areas of Rioja, together with Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa. After the previous works and the push of the Municipality of Aldeanueva de Ebro and the verification of compliance with the requirements to be part of the Spanish Wine Routes, in 2018, La Rioja Eastern Wine Route was certified.
Our goal is to promote the wine, wine tourism, heritage and gastronomic resources of the area within the same line of work. The purpose of this promotion is to make known all the advantages of La Rioja Eastern Wine Route to those who visit us, building their identity within the Regulatory Council of the Rioja Qualified Designation of Origin, but enhancing and enhancing those differentiating factors that will make the tourist come back to visit us.
At La Rioja Eastern Wine Route we try to promote synergies between the partners of the Path, in order to strengthen the bonds around the same direction. In addition, information, training and recreational activities are organized in which members actively participate in order to better understand the resources to promote among their potential customers and visitors. An example of this are the guided visits to partners that are taking place in the Eastern Rioja valleys, as well as other actions that have been implemented and will continue to promote, such as courses on Social Networks and online marketing, or specialized workshops and courses with tasting qualifications, which allow smaller and more artisan wineries to enter the field of wine tourism. Similarly, activities are organized for the general public which often see the collaboration and participation of different partners of the Path.
Outside our borders, we also carry out various promotional activities, such as the meeting with Swiss wines at the Riojano Center in Madrid or our participation in FITUR and NAVARTUR. In this sense, our membership in ACEVIN and in the Spanish wine roads product offers us more options to make ourselves known outside of La Rioja, interacting with other wine roads in our country and taking them as a reference for future actions.
Through which services/ activities do you promote the dissemination of the Eastern Rioja Wine Route?
La Rioja Eastern Wine Route publishes every month, on its website, the newsletter that collects the activities we carry out, both internally and for the general public, as well as the educational or information actions we carry out. We also try to include news from each member of the La Rioja Eastern Wine Route and promote the activities of our member municipalities.
In addition to this, the web periodically publishes relevant news and a series of activities that can guide wine tourists in their visit to our territory on the agenda of the online platform.
Internally, we communicate news to all our partner plants and municipalities and carry out activities so that they interact with each other and get to know each valley in our territory in depth. Thus, we achieve two goals; on the one hand we promote the initiative of our partners for the creation of joint activities. On the other hand, we improve the service to the visitor or customer, offering them first-hand information on the tourist possibilities of our territory.
Through social networks, mainly Facebook, we promote the six valleys that make up our area of action (Cidacos, Alhama-Linares, Ebro, Ocón, Jubera and Leza) with six videos that give the view and synthesis, in an attractive and direct, the advantages that Rioja Oriental can offer to tourists.
We also have a wine tourism product that offers another attraction for the visitor, the La Rioja Eastern Wine Route Tourism Passport. The goal is to get two stamps and qualify for a series of Rioja Oriental products or get four stamps to qualify for a weekend in the Eastern Rioja. A product that, despite the COVID19 pandemic, has been successful among the participants and is increasingly establishing itself among our partners.
On a regular basis, and as part of Rioja Oriental’s broadcasting objectives, promotional actions are proposed in traditional media, such as radio. This year, in fact, various programs lasting an hour and a half were created, live, at key moments for the territory, Easter and summer. Thus, in addition to highlighting our valleys and our partners firsthand, we have tried to get closer to the Riojano wine tourist, showing him the tourist capacity that our region has and which, in some cases, is unknown to the residents themselves. In addition to this promotional campaign, similar ones are planned, from time to time, throughout the year and with these or other objectives.
As for outdoor activities, we have a traveling activity: “Art and Wine”. It consists of a photographic exhibition on the wine landscape of La Rioja Eastern Wine Route, together with a screening of short films provided by the Municipality of Aldeanueva de Ebro, is accompanied by a wine or oil tasting of the Route and has been very successful in different locations who hosted it. Similarly, gastronomic itineraries have been organized in various localities in the area where gastronomy and oenology have been closely linked. And in view of the near future, numerous activities have already been planned that can make the Wine Route known in different areas and for different types of public, such as “Wine and Heritage”, a different and attractive way to get to know our patrimonial resources by tasting the wines of the area and also knowing their characteristics.
Also interested in the development of New Technologies, we are about to bring to light our new mobile application, a project we have been working on for some time to make it a springboard for our partners and also an effective tool that allows tourist wine to choose from. quickly and easily the resources to visit, the places to sleep or the restaurants to eat. All our partners will be represented, both the establishments and the municipalities with their corresponding resources and we hope that it is well received by our visitors.
Likewise, and right from the start, on the website you will find all the information on the Rioja Orientale Wine Route, as well as the aforementioned Wine Tourism Passport and other documents of interest, such as maps or information brochures. In this sense, we are also about to reprint a brochure that, in a physical and direct way, offers information to the visitor in a visual and captivating way. Actions that continue in the path of spreading our Wine Route.
What are the peculiarities of the territory and its wines?
La Rioja Eastern Wine Route is characterized by a climate with a mild Mediterranean influence, where the north wind that makes the vines sway, allows us to obtain grapes of excellent quality, maturity and health. All this combined with the wisdom of local winemakers, and wineries equipped with technical and human resources, give life to high quality wines that conquer new markets every day. In the Rioja Oriental there are modernized cellars, others traditional, all of good wine, which will make your visit an enotourist experience to taste the wines protected by the Rioja DOCa.
Our reds, with fresh and intense aromas and bright colors, give the palate fruity and very tasty sensations. These are pleasant wines with a balance in terms of sensations, mainly the Tempranillo variety, also highlighting the Graciano, Mazuelo or Garnacha, all of excellent quality and flavor.
Rioja oriental rosés are available in a wide range of colors, from salmon pink to raspberry, which leave fruity memories and intense aromas. With a medium delicate and sweet palate, Garnacha and Tempranillo varieties predominate.
The nuances of color are another of the characteristics of our white wines, ranging from straw yellow to another with greenish nuances. They surprise the nose and enter fresh in the mouth, combining sensations and aromas of white fruits. The predominant variety in our whites is Viura, even if Tempranillo Bianco has acquired relevance and has been a real revolution.
But, fortunately, our territory includes not only vineyards, but extensions of olive trees and then offers high quality extra virgin olive oils, even from almond or mushroom, all products that enrich our gastronomy and delight the palates of citizens and visitors.
Can you briefly describe the route and the territories of cultural and wine tourism interest it crosses?
In the last twenty years we have been able to look at a certain distance and organize activities that have consolidated in the tourist calendar of the Autonomous Community. Entreviñas in Aldeanueva de Ebro is a good example of this, as well as the Short October Film Festival or the Fárdelej Rioja Live Festival in Arnedo, the Munilla Jazz Festival, the BQ days of the Bodegas de Quel district, the day of the cellars in Calle de Alfaro, the Ocón Grinding Festival, the Mushroom and Mushroom Days of Autol and Pradejón or the Medieval Crafts Days of Cornago. This does not mean that we should not continue to think of activities that can continue to attract the attention of tourists and potential public, thinking of attractive, cultural, artistic, sporting or enotourist proposals that make known everything that La Rioja Oriental can offer to the visitor. . Our cellars will open their doors to show you the details and curiosities of the production of our wines, offering you in many cases the opportunity to get to know the vineyards from which this precious raw material comes.
Likewise, the wineries of the La Rioja Eastern Wine Route are increasingly recognized and the notoriety of the wines of the area, commonly associated with Aldeanueva de Ebro, extends today to numerous countries that have been able to find a way to make themselves known for the quality of their wines. The formula of wine tourism, which we defend and promote from the Rioja Oriental Wine Route, is one of the assets of important tourist value that currently attracts many visitors throughout the country, taking advantage of the activities related to wine and linking them to other cultural or food and wine activities activities, such as oleotourism, which allows them to get to know this unique territory better.
In addition to these various and interesting wineries, with their particular wine tourism offers and cultural and leisure proposals, in the La Rioja Eastern Wine Route you can find very different landscapes, depending on the valley in which you are located, large extensions and vineyards, mountains and rivers, groves, woods, clayey soils … and which have given rise to very different resources, caves, Celtiberian sites, castles, monasteries, natural areas, thermal springs … with the advantage of being able to stay in structures for all tastes, rural houses, hostels, rural apartments, hotels … and, of course, our restaurants, which offer our wines to accompany a rich and varied gastronomy, vegetables from Calahorra, mushrooms in Pradejón and Autol, oil in Ocón, Alfaro or Arnedo, pears from Rincón, or fardelejos, a tasty and traditional dessert made with local almonds. In short, landscape, territory, gastronomy, rest and, above all, good wine, will be a visit in which you will not miss anything.
The wealth of the La Rioja Eastern Wine Route is centered on its landscapes, its municipalities and its people, but it is much more. The area has gradually claimed its place in heritage and culture, as well as in the field of wine tourism. La Rioja Eastern Wine Route has, in its vast territory, numerous tourist resources. From nature itself that offers us its beauty all year round, with mountain bike trails, equestrian or hiking trails, panoramic points and unique natural spaces, such as the Sotos del Ebro; to the archaeological wealth of Contrebia Lefkada, the Icnitas sites scattered around Aguilar del Río Alhama, Cornago, Igea, Préjano, Peroblasco, Munilla or Enciso, the caves of Ajedrezado in Santa Eulalia and Los Cien Pilares de Arnedo and the castles of Cornago, Herce, Préjano , Quel, Autol, Arnedo or Arnedillo, some of them can be visited and all have interesting history and history. Or singular and unique places, such as Picuezo and Picueza in Autol or the only reconstructed windmill in La Rioja, in Ocón. All this, also taking into account the religious heritage, with enclaves such as the Collegiate Church of San Miguel de Alfaro, the Cathedral of Calahorra or the hermitage of Salvador, Herce, which offers spectacular views over the Cidacos Valley.
Why choose La Rioja Eastern Wine Route?
The diversity of its landscape and geography allows you to choose between the city or the mountain; the Riojano garden offers us delicacies that, in a traditional or unusual way, we know how to put on the plate to obtain spectacular flavors; our wines are the best way to accompany these dishes; our cities are friendly, easy to walk and better cityscapes; and our rural environment, largely declared a Biosphere Reserve, a peaceful place to rest and enjoy the culinary riches that are produced and made there. All this, accompanied by our people, who know how to make those who arrive feel at home, makes La Rioja an exceptional place to visit, but also to live, with the quality of life as its flag.
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