Wine tourism has been on vogue for some years now and is expected to remain fashionable for a long time. Wine has something special about it that is attracting more and more people every year. Most world-class wineries in Spain are open to visitors, offering luxury beauty treatments and 5-star stays. This is a business that involves much more than grapes, and where you can even participate in the wine harvest. For free, of course. There are also museums where you can learn the best of wine culture without having to bend down to pick grapes.
These museums, where you will be able to enjoy a free wine tasting at the end of your visit, are less tiring than grape harvesting, but also less relaxing than a bath or massage with wine therapy based on red wine. Polyphenol and resveratrol aside, wine lovers cannot miss more than 8,000 years of wine history and culture, declared World Heritage by UNESCO. In Spain, there are so many wine museums and all of them are so interesting, that they even formed an association. Here you can find some of the most interesting Spanish wine museums for your next vacation:
- Museo del Vino (Briones, La Rioja): Wine as a key element to civilization. Over 4,000 square meters of permanent and temporary exhibitions focusing on the relationship between man and wine during its 8,000 years of history. Its highlight is the Jardín de Baco, a collection of more than 200 varieties of vine brought from around the world, including those used in DO Rioja winemaking.
- Museo del Vino (Malaga): Smaller than the previous one but also really interesting. Visit the eighteenth-century Palace of Biedma and discover old labels, signs, advertisements and more in order to understand the origin of this winery in the nineteenth century. In addition, get to know the DO Malaga (sweet) and DO Sierra de Malaga (white and rosé) with this complete tour. Virtual tours and tastings are offered.
- Museo del Vino de Valdepeñas (Valdepeñas, Ciudad Real): La Mancha has the world’s greatest vineyards and here you can also find one of the most comprehensive wine museums in Spain. In the old Leocadio Morales wine cellar, visitors will find everything that has to do with wine: from learning about harvest processes with different farming tools to an extensive collection of carts. You will even find a wine bar featuring the best wines in the area, and you will also be able to see transfer pumps, presses, an interactive lab… A highly recommended experience!
- CIAVIN Interpretation Center of Wine Architecture (Aranda de Duero, Burgos): This town has always had a great relationship with wine as evidenced by its architecture. Here you will find more than 7 km of old underground galleries where wine was stored during the Middle Ages. In Las Animas winery, for example, they still recreate wine activities. CIAVIN also gathers extensive information about the history and origin of one of the most appreciated Designations of Origin in Spain, DO Ribera del Duero.
- Museo de la Manzanilla (Sanlucar de Barrameda, Cadiz): Also known as Museo Barbadillo, it is a tribute to this family and their important cultural heritage explained through the history and evolution of the Manzanilla wine. Its permanent collection is complemented by a temporary exhibition: discover the work of German pop cubism artist Uta Geub, strongly inspired by bullfighting, flamenco and Manzanilla wine. At the end you will be able to enjoy some wine tasting. Don’t miss it!
- Museo de Peñafiel (Castle of Peñafiel, Valladolid): We come back to the DO Ribera del Duero. This time, however, we visit Valladolid’s Provincial Museum of Wine, hosted in the stunning ninth-century Castle of Peñafiel. Here you will also get to know the DO Tierra de León, DO Cigales, DO Toro, DO Rueda and Vinos de Castilla y Leon. Learn about the different wine production styles and find out their similarities. An inspiring landmark not to be missed!
- VINSEUM (Villafranca del Penedés, Barcelona): Villafranca is also a great wine tourism destination and the town that houses the Museum of Wine Culture of Catalonia, the oldest of them all (1943). It is not only an exhibition space but it also tries to stay active by organizing festivals, activities for children, screenings, and all you can think about that has to do with the region’s wines and cavas.
In Spain you can also find some wineries that are almost as extensive and informative as real museums. One of those is Bodegas Tradicion (Jerez de La Frontera , Cadiz), with over 350 years of history and walls that hold artworks by Velazquez, Goya, or Picasso. Bodegas Gonzalez Byass are also very popular in Jerez. The home town of Tio Pepe is the third most visited place in Andalusia, right after the Alhambra in Granada and the Mosque of Cordoba… and it even has a quaint sightseeing train for visitors! The wineries of Bodegas López de Heredia (Haro, La Rioja), Marqués de Riscal (Elciego, Álava) or Portía (Gumiel de Izán, Burgos) are also worth a visit.