The gift of history

The civilisation of the vine and wine was already a reality in Riojan lands two thousand years ago, as evidenced by numerous archaeological remains of wine presses and wineries dating to Roman times. This winemaking culture was maintained in the Middle Ages under the protection of the monasteries of San Millán de la Cogolla, where Gonzalo de Berceo, the first poet in the Spanish language, praised the virtues of wine in his verses: “Ca non so tan letrado por fer otro latino: Bien valdrá, como creo, un vaso de bon vino.” (“For I am not learned enough to write one in Latin: It would indeed be worth, as I believe, a glass of good wine.”)

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The adventure of being a pioneer

Rioja was the first Designation of Origin in Spain and, in addition, the first to earn Calificada status.

The modern Rioja was born in the late 19th century, establishing a clear link between the identity of Riojan wine and the place where it was made. Then came the concern of Rioja grape growers and winemakers to protect the identity from “usurpers and counterfeiters.” These concerns where finally addressed with the official recognition of the Rioja Designation of Origin.

In 1991, it became a Denominación de Origen Calificada. It was the first to achieve this. Today, among the 70 Spanish designations of origin, only Rioja and Priorat have the higher Calificada status.

Read more about the D.O


Guarantee of an excellent product

The Control Board monitors, audits and controls the entire Rioja production process, from the vineyard to the market. Plantation density, for example, is restricted to at least 2,850 vines and no more 10,000 per hectare, while no more than 6,500 kg of red grapes or 9,000 kg of white grapes can be produced per hectare. The Board’s Technical Service carry out frequent inspections to check stock volumes by wine type and vintage, number of barrels and bottles, back labels, etc., and so verify the accuracy of the statements made by the wineries. The origin, vintage and type of vinification of a wine are guaranteed through secure back labels and seals and control is extended to the marketing stage as well.

This is the control process

Rioja Wine in figures