3,000 Years of Wine History in Spain’s Rioja Alavesa Region

When contemplating why someone would want to visit or invest in a destination, the answer should include the destination’s competitive advantage. For the Basque wine region of Rioja Alavesa, that competitive advantage is history and people. With a history dating back to the Phoenicians 3,000 years ago, and a population that speaks a language that predates all European languages, this wine region has a unique set of qualities that cannot be duplicated elsewhere.

My wife, Tricia, and I recently had the chance to explore the Rioja Alavesa region with Thabuca Wine Tours. Our guide, Carol, provided an excellent overview of the dynamics of this fascinating wine region, including the large scale investments in wine tourism that have been made in recent decades.

Following the turmoil of the late 19th century and the first half of the 20th, the Rioja wine industry was in shambles. However, with an incredible vintage in 1970, awareness of Rioja blossomed into a hearty demand for the region’s predominantly red vino. A brilliant synergy between the Basque Regional Government and private enterprise helped to nurture demand for wine from the Rioja Alavesa, resulting in a wine route worthy of large tourism numbers. Awareness of this region should only escalate in the years ahead, particularly for its sustainable practices. I look forward to returning to see how it has developed.

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For more on our experience in Rioja, check out Tricia’s blog post: “Where Tempranillo & Tradition Meet: A Wine Tour of Rioja Alavesa, Spain”

A special thank you to Carol with Thabuca Wine Tours for hosting us during this event.

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