Best Rioja Wine Tours & Tastings in English: Logrono, Spain
July 20, 2019
Bodegas with English Tours In and Near Logroño, Spain
Prior to visiting Logroño, Spain, I never anticipated having to write this post. Being that Logrono is the capital of La Rioja, the wine region of Spain, I figured that even with just one full day in the city, I would have my choice of English-speaking tours and tastings at the wineries. Why English speaking? Even though I speak decent Spanish, I find that much of the dialogue goes over my head; consequently, if there is an English option, I prefer it. But, this is Spain after all and having lived in this glorious country for two years, I should have expected that it’s not always that simple. Many wineries close for the month of August because their personnel go on vacation. And while there are still many wineries to choose from, I was visiting in August, without a car, and traveling solo — it wasn’t worth the cost of a taxi to visit any wineries outside of the city center. You could say that these were all contributing factors to my Logroño bodega fail.
After arriving in the late afternoon, I looked up a couple of Bodega options and found that I could walk to Vina Ijalba for one of the English tours at either 10:30 or 1:00 the next day. I had been fighting off a lingering cold for the past week or so and decided to sleep in and take the 1:00 tour. I emailed them that night to reserve a spot, and received an email at around 10:15 the next morning (which was actually quite prompt) saying that they were under maintenance today and not allowing any visitors, but I could come tomorrow. Sure, it’s my fault for being so laissez-faire about the whole thing, but also very typical Spain. I went to speak to the woman at the front desk of the fabulous hostel I was staying at, Winederful, and she called all of the bodegas in the area. There weren’t any other tours that day starting after 11AM that I could get to using public transportation. I spent a few hours looking up possibilities and sending emails to different wineries to no avail. And online, there weren’t any helpful posts breaking down my options. So I resolved to create a post doing just that; here is the list of potential bodegas with English tours in and near Logrono that you can use to plan your visit to La Rioja, Spain.
BTW: If you are looking for organized wine tours of the region leaving from Logroño, be sure to check out the Boutique Rioja Wine Tour or the Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa Wine Tour. These are the most popular options on Viator.
Wineries in Logroño
Campo Viejo is an enormous winery as they produce millions of bottles of wine a year. On this wine tour, you’ll be guided through the vineyard and then underground down three levels to their facilities. The English tours are given Monday through Friday at 10:30AM and 1PM and cost 12 euros per person. Along with the tour, you will taste three wines and light tapas. You must take a taxi from the center of Logroño to get to this winery. It only takes 10-15 minutes and costs around 15 euros each way and the tour guide can help you to call a taxi to go back to the city after the end of the visit.
Marques de Murrieta dubs their tastings as “food and wine paired experiences” and as such, prices tend to be triple what your standard wine tour and tasting would be. All of the experiences include a guided tour of the vineyards of the Ygay Estate, 19th century winery-museum, and a visit to the facilities hosting the equipment, original labels, bottle racks, etc. There are a total of four experiences notated as A through D and just to give you a better idea, Experience A includes two wines each paired with an aperitif for 39 euros. The tour duration of Experience A is a bit longer than most of the others at an estimated time of 2 hours and 15 minutes. The winery has an online reservation request system in which they state will be answered within two working days. Without confirmation, the reservation is not valid. A taxi from the center of Logrono to the bodega will cost you around 15 to 17 euros. At time of writing, I noticed that written across the top of the reservation page in bright red lettering is a notice that the winery will be closed for most of August.
I was excited to visit this particular winery because they conduct twice-daily English tours and it is only a 20 minute walk from the center of Logroño. Tours are conducted at 10:30AM and 3:30PM from Monday to Saturday and cost 12 euros. Included in the tour is a visit through the vineyards, followed by a wine and tapas tasting in the Panoramic tower with views of Logroño and its surroundings. Vina Ijalba is also one of the few organic wine producers in La Rioja and maintains a strong level of commitment to sustainability. While they did have a quick response time, these hours are not set in stone — especially in August — so make sure that you make a reservation with a few days notice.
While I was unable to take the English tour, I did stop by Bodegas Franco Espanolas for a glass of wine since the bodega is so close to the city center of Logroño; it is just a 5-minute walk by bridge, Puente de Hierro, across the Ebro river. The one hundred year old winery isn’t set out in the vineyard, but you will be able to visit the bottle and barrel rooms as well as a room holding the original vats. Tours are 14 euros and I recommend looking at the website for times as they really vary by day. Generally, the English tours are given at either 10AM, 11AM, or 4:30PM Tuesday through Friday and include a wine tasting and Riojan tapas snack. I decided to just try a glass of wine after unsuccessfully finding an English tour for the day, and although it was a little awkward as I was the only person in the tasting room, I tried the Talla de Diamante which was incredible.
Wineries in Laguardia
After checking into my hostel, I was told that the city of Laguardia was accessible by public transport and a popular spot for wine tasting. To my surprise, although Laguardia, Spain can be reached by bus from Logroño, it actually isn’t part of the wine region, La Rioja. Laguardia is located in the Basque region, which you may have heard due to the popularity of cities like Bilbao and San Sebastian.
To get to Laguardia from Logroño using public transportation, you can take the Alava bus. I am linking to the bus schedule, but be sure to talk to the receptionist at your accommodation to confirm times haven’t changed. Once again, this is Spain, so chances are they probably will.
Casa Primicia is about a 10 minute walk from the bus station in Laguardia. It also just so happens to be the oldest building in the medieval town. On the tour, you will view the historical building and visit the underground caves and old production areas. The standard Casa Primicia tour costs just 10 euros and is offered three times a day, Wednesday through Sunday, at 11AM, 1:30PM, and 5:30PM during the summer. There are also morning tours available on Monday during the summer. The type on their website does contradict their online form a bit, so I would make sure to either call or reserve your spot a couple of days prior to arrival.
I would be remiss to not mention these next two wineries. While they are not accessible by public transport, they both do offer English tours and are located near Logroño. The first, Viña Real — part of Cvne — was designed by Bordeaux-based architect Phillipe Mazieras and is located atop the Cerro de la Mesa hill with a spectacular view of the valley below. The bodega offers daily tours in English on the hour from 10AM to 1PM for a price of 12 euros.
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The second is Marques de Riscal, designed by none other than Frank Gehry. The building was designed using titanium, similar to the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao, but also utilizes three colors representing the wine, bottle, and bottle top. You can book online for an English tour of the winery, hotel stay, or for a dining experience at the Michelin-star restaurant on the property. The tour costs 16 euros a person and is offered Monday through Sunday in the morning and afternoon at various times.
Have you had the opportunity to tour any of these wineries on an English tour and tasting in Logrono, Spain? Which was your favorite? Are there any other wineries with English tours a bit further out but worth the drive? Please let us know in the comments below!