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The Rueda Wine Route, which takes its name from the river of the same name along which it winds, is located in the heart of Castile. The wines of the Rueda Designation of Origin are born in this symbolic region of Spain. A historical, cultural and wine-growing wealth that gathers thirty municipalities.
From the eleventh century to today, the care of the vine and the production of wine are the excellences of this land, as well as its artistic manifestations and gastronomy.
Let’s find out more from the words of Juan José Calvo, president of the Ruta de Vino de Rueda.
From when the Association was born to date, what goals has it achieved and what remains to be achieved?
Even if wine has been with us for more than one thousand years and the culture of wine is part of our DNA, Wine tourism is a concept that, in our territory, has been developing for about fifteen or twenty years. Our people, open-minded and straightforward, have always welcomed visitors with open arms, but the professionalization of wine tourism is something more recent.
In these eight years of work the private and public sectors have undergone a very important evolution, with common objectives and well-defined and shared quality criteria. The professionalization of the sector, the improvement of corporate competitiveness, the success of networking, greater communication and a better knowledge of our territory, are just some of achievements and progress we can see today. Looking back in time, we can proudly say that we have made this destination one of the top wine tourism destinations in Spain, thanks to the effort and dedication of the people behind each of the projects. However, there is still a long way to go. Among the main challenges we set ourselves for the future is that of continuing to grow in quality and being able to show the uniqueness of our territory inside and outside our borders, making differentiating projects, our entire history and our deep roots visible, winemaking, without forgetting that innovative spirit that has always distinguished us. Depopulation is a present and future threat and we want wine tourism to be a useful tool against it, which encourages young people to live and fight for their land.
Through which services/activities do you promote the dissemination of the Rueda Wine Route?
Being itself a Wine tourism destination, the visitor can make a complete journey through our Wine Route enjoying all kinds of tourist services and activities, always with wine as the backbone. The traveler will find on our route everything she/he needs to make her/his visit a success: from the professional service of travel agencies, to transport, to unique and charming accommodation, to the best local cuisine, to leisure and nature activities, to health and well-being but, of course, in a Wine Route, you can never miss all those proposals directly related to wine such as visits to our cellars, tastings and walks among the vineyards – enjoying a privileged natural environment -, guided tours through our underground galleries, – cellars dug underground with a centuries-old tradition of the territory, combinations of all kinds and an extensive itinerary through the history and the wine heritage of our land.
The union between wine – in the broadest sense of the term, history and gastronomy is a trinomial that makes us different that does not help to sell our territory with a certain ease.
What are the peculiarities of the territory and its wines?
This is the wine country par excellence. As I wrote before, history tells us more than 10 centuries of vine cultivation, 1000 years in which wine has been part of our life, our culture, our DNA, occupying a prominent place. The quality of our terroir with gravelly soils, our continental climate with strong contrasts and the uniqueness of our native vine, Verdejo, give us the ideal conditions for the production of high quality white wines. Today, large brands with international projection, family-run boutique projects, modern and technological wineries and other more traditional coexist on the territory, and all hide a little big story to discover, a landscape to explore, a terroir to savor and, above all, a nice experience to live.
With a versatile and very personal grape like Verdejo, we can produce young white wines – fresh and fruity -, historical wines – such as golden and pale ones that use techniques similar to Jerez wines -; Wines aged in cask or on yeasts, and also sparkling. All with a unique typicality that has made them the most consumed white wines in Spain.
Can you briefly describe the route and the territories of cultural and wine tourism interest it crosses?
The Rueda Wine Route is made up of about fifty municipalities that extend into the provinces of Valladolid, Ávila and Segovia, located in north-central Spain and only 1 hour from Madrid. In such a vast territory we find an enormous diversity of cultural and wine tourism proposals, but there is an identity common to all and this is history and it is our history and our heritage. We have fourty six monuments declared Assets of Cultural Interest by the government of Spain, including superb castles, impressive civil constructions and a vast collection of temples and hermitages, located in geographical points of compulsory visit such as Tordesillas, Medina del Campo, Olmedo, Nava del Rey, Rueda. Let’s not forget the Douro River, which crosses our lands, and which unites us with our Portuguese neighbors in a wine tour of great interest, or the European Route of Carlos V, which crosses several of our municipalities or that of Ysabel La Católica, which was born and died in this land, among many other history-related options.
Why choose the Rueda Wine Route?
In Rueda the visitor will find unique oenological singularities such as that perfect combination of tradition and innovation or our underground cellars, a magical world hidden under our feet; but I like to say that Rueda is the Strada delle Mille Vie. We have proposals for all audiences and tastes and this opens up a wide range of possibilities. Here, wine lovers who want to know all our details and singularities find their place, those who just want a light approach to wine, families looking for activities suitable for children and adults, lovers of nature, ornithology or excursions, those who travel on the trail of history or those who seek to know the stories that hide behind our artisans, winemakers and winemakers, in short. It is difficult to be left with only one reason to visit us but if you had to choose one, maybe, I would stay with the hospitality of our people, which gives meaning to our daily work.