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Discovering the wine heart of the Basque Country

Discovering the wine heart of the Basque Country

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06/09/2021

Discovering the wine heart of the Basque Country

When we talk about Euskadi, it is inevitable to think of its infinite gastronomic wealth, but that would not be the same if it did not feature spectacular wines belonging to the Rioja denomination of origin or the famous txakoli.

Much of the history of our wines is linked to Romans, Phoenicians, and Celtiberians, who cultivated and traded the vine and its juice. From them, we inherit the tradition of the grape harvest, a habit with strong family roots that is lived in an extremely unique way in Rioja Alavesa.

The grape achieves the ideal point of maturation in autumn, and the whole territory turns to its harvest to start producing the new vintage. It is teamwork, a tradition of thousands of years, transmitted from generation to generation, which maintains the mark of the past, but with modern and current nuances.

Vineyards placed on slopes of outstanding scenic beauty overlooking the sea
 
A tradition also lived with great exaltation in areas where the precious txakoli is made, whose acid touch is eminently characteristic of the autochthonous variety hondarribi zuri. Many of these vineyards are placed on slopes of outstanding scenic beauty overlooking the sea, where it is possible to enjoy many activities besides food and wine experiences.

Wine has marked the way of being and the history of many towns in Euskadi. Identify the character of each one and discover the proposals it offers to wine tourism lovers.

Wine-related festivals

In Euskadi, various festivals related to the grape harvest and wine culture are celebrated to extol the most ancient wine customs and traditions. During the last two years, some of these events have not been held due to sanitary restrictions, therefore, if you plan to attend, remember to gather updated information before your visit.

Next, we enumerate some of the festivities celebrated in Euskadi:

  1. One of the most popular is the Fiesta de la Vendimia de Rioja Alavesa, a massive event that began in 1994 in the town of Laguardia intending to make visitors aware of the life and customs of this wine region.

    In each edition, it is a different town in Rioja Alavesa that becomes the host. The next will take place in Lanciego, but we will have to wait until 2022.

    After stomping the grapes and tasting the first must, they carry out, among other activities: aizkolaris tournaments (athletes who take part in competitions consisting of cutting tree trunks with axes), popular food, live music, and even a fair where you can taste and buy artisan products with the Eusko Label.



  2. The Bizkaiko Txakolina Denomination of Origin Regulatory Council celebrates the vintage in spring by naming well-known people from the Basque Country as new ambassadors for txakoli. Each year it takes place in a different scenario.

  3. In Balmaseda the Harvest Festival is celebrated every third Sunday in October, with txakoli as the protagonist. More than a dozen wineries with the designation of origin of Bizkaiko Txakolina participate in it. The party consists of tasting this delicious drink while enjoying live music and children's workshops.

  4. San Jose’s Day has been a special day in Bakio since each year its three wineries with the Bizkaiko Txakolina designation of origin present their new vintage. Far from its traditional event, this 2021 they have had to celebrate it with an unusually small capacity due to the pandemic, although it has been enjoyed virtually on social networks. When normality is back, we can celebrate it again with tastings and concerts.

  5. Zarautz also celebrates its own Harvest Festival with an extensive program. It takes place in September, and in addition to presenting the new vintage, there are guided tours of wineries, pintxo-pote (consists of offering a pincho and a drink at the same time for a reasonable price) paired with txakoli, children's workshops, kalejiras (parades) with txistularis (person who plays the Basque musical instrument called “txistu”, usually in popular dances) and euskal dantzak (Basque dances), tastings of txakoli and bertsolaris (popular improvisers of verses in Basque).

    Basque dances

  6. On San Antón's day, the Txakolin Eguna is celebrated in Getaria where the new harvest is presented and tasted. The 17 wineries registered in the Denominación de Origen Txakoli de Getaria offer you a taste of their new wine. In addition, in recent years, the Mahasti Jauna sculpture has been given to people or institutions related to the world of txakoli.

Plans and activities related to wine

From a walk through the mountains with a guided visit to a winery, to a stellar pairing, the Basque wine tourism proposal is unique and amazingly diverse. We leave you with a selection of plans to learn more about our wines. Choose your favorite; it will be an unforgettable experience!

  1. Have you heard of wine therapy? Wine is not only consumed but is additionally used to treat our health: rich in antioxidants, good for circulation, and perfect for hydrating the skin. Do you want to discover its properties firsthand? You can do it in Laguardia, in Wine Oil Spa.

  2. Another way to get to know the wine world in depth is by going into vineyards and tasting their wines. At Bodegas Palacio they allow you to tour their vineyards in an SUV accompanied by a picnic, to participate in a real harvest, and/or to become a winemaker for a day. Discover all their proposals!

    Vineyards in an SUV

  3. The wine tourism experiences that you can have in the beautiful Bahía de Plentzia are spectacular. The Crusoe Treasure winery offers activities such as underwater wine tasting, boat trips with wine and pintxos tasting, and/or tailor-made visits. You cannot miss this!

  4. The Talai Berri winery in Zarautz also offers activities related to the world of wine, including a guided tour with tasting and live show cookings. After visiting the winery and its vineyards, chef Joan Ferré prepares several dishes of his creation, pairing them with different txakolis from the winery. An excellent idea to keep in mind if you want to offer something unique.

  5. How about a guided tour in the middle of a nature reserve? You can do it at the Berroja winery, in the middle of the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve. Enjoy a visit with lunch or dinner, txakoli tastings, tastings of artisan products, a barbecue, or a sarteneko (traditional dish presented in a pan and consisting mainly of potatoes, eggs, bacon, chorizo, and blood sausage). Choose the option that you like the most!

    Berroja winery

  6. A pleasant alternative to discover wine and its history is to take the Ruta del Vino y del Pescado, a route of 8 stages that begins in Oyón and ends in Bermeo. A proposal for lovers of wine tourism and nature. Discover the history of the vine at every step, and do not forget to taste its wines.

As you can see, you have more than one opportunity to get to know our wine culture, whether it is tasting our wines at a fair, visiting one of our wineries, following the footsteps of our ancestors, or pampering your skin in a spa. Which one do you dare to?

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info@euskadigastronomika.eus

La excelencia de los productos y el buen hacer de nuestros cocineros son señas de identidad de Euskadi. Para potenciar esta forma de entender la gastronomía hemos creado Euskadi Gastronomika, una red formada por restaurantes, bares, tiendas y otros establecimientos gastronómicos que cumplen una serie de criterios de exigencia y compromiso.

¡Si buscas calidad, busca el sello de Euskadi Gastronomika!

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