Harvest in La Rioja and Rioja Alavesa: curiosities and traditions of the Land of the Wine

Speak about La Rioja and la Rioja Alavesa is to speak about their wine. The product that gathers part of its history linked to Romans, Phoenicians and Celtiberian primitives has become a symbol of international recognition for its quality and its excellent characteristics that preserve the trace of the past with modern nuances of the future.

The beginning of the harvest of the grape is the key moment of a long process that begins in the field and ends in the cellars with extreme care and affection to take to the homes a truly valued product. A good opportunity to organize a trip to the land of wine and know its stories and traditions while you rest in a rural house in La Rioja and Rioja Alavesa.

Harvest season in La Rioja

The beginning of the harvest in La Rioja is late. The first harvest begins in late September or early October and the Rioja Baja is the first territory where grapes are picked. One of the most frequent questions is how long the harvest lasts in La Rioja. It is a process that can last between 30 and 40 days, which means that the harvest can arrive well into the month of November.

Working in the grape harvest in La Rioja is not an easy task. We speak of a work where traditions demand to continue maintaining all its essence using the improvements that the passage of time puts in the hands of collectors. The process consists of detaching the grape bunches from the vine by using 'corquetes', a tool used by grape pickers, which is like a large curved knife.

The collected fruit are deposited in wicker baskets that usually have a capacity between 15 and 20 kilos. Once the grapes are harvested, they are taken directly to the wineries to begin the process of making red, white and rosé wines following the particular characteristics of each one of them. In Haro you can find some of the most prestigious wineries in the country, such as Bodegas Muga or Bodegas Ramón Bilbao.

Harvest feast in La Rioja Alavesa

The San Mateo's Feast and the Riojan harvest are born from the concern of some neighbors to promote wine, the most representative product that supposed a bond of social union and economic engine. These days have given way to a Festival of National Tourist Interest that is different from those held in other wine-growing localities of the national territory. The most striking thing is that they are characterized by a strong Alavese character and that they are itinerant, so that each year the venue is changed with the aim that the whole region participates and revitalizes the party.

In Logroño, coinciding with the festivity of San Mateo, a traditional act takes place in the Paseo del Espolón, which consists of collecting grape bunches from all the regions of La Rioja carried by children to be dumped in a tub where they will be trodden according to tradition. Two men dressed in the regional costume, barefoot and joined by the arms are spinning as if an ancestral dance was treated to extract the first Grape Harvest that is offered to the Virgin of Valvanera, employer of La Rioja. There are also parades of floats and gastronomic tastings to make known the most characteristic products of the area.

All you need to know about wine

If you travel to Logroño we recommend an incredible experience to get into the wine tradition as visiting the Vivancos Dynasty Museum of Wine Culture. A place where you will learn many curiosities about Rioja wines and know the whole process of making and aging.

It can also be a good opportunity to make a trip to any of the wineries scattered throughout the territory of La Rioja. Witness the process of winemaking and participate in organized tastings to learn to distinguish the different nuances and flavors of each wine are the perfect holidays for wine lovers. You have different routes through the Rioja Alavesa, the Rioja Alta and the Rioja Baja where in addition to savoring these delicious wines you can taste the local gastronomy rich in vegetables, vegetables and first quality meats.

In short, the harvest in La Rioja is something more than the process of harvesting the fruit that gives the vine. It is a way of life that identifies Rioja people, a way of knowing their customs and their history that have been maintained over the years, reaching our days as a reference product not only in Spain but worldwide.

Basque Destination is glad to offer you our best tour arround this magical area.

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