La Rioja Field Trip: “Where Tourism is Wine Tourism”
Our wonderful winesionaries hit the road once again!
From 28 November to 2 December, the students of the Wintour programme participated in a field trip to a wine region that requires no introduction, the world-famous La Rioja. The field trip was organised by Rovira i Virgili University in collaboration with Universidad de La Rioja (UR) and served to give students practical experience in one of Spain's largest wine producing regions and one of only two DOC (Qualified Designation of Origin) wine regions in the country.
Students were treated to a comprehensive tour of the region, visiting a vast range of wineries, heritage sites and cultural centres. Led knowledgeably and with panache by UR lecturer and Rioja wine expert, Marta Dizy, students visited a treasure chest of La Rioja's most interesting wineries. Some highlights included an enchanting guided tour around the multigenerational winery Bodegas López de Heredia Viña Tondonia and a special tasting session at Bodegas Valentin Pascual of both a mid-fermentation red wine and a secret family recipe vermouth, providing much warmth on a bitterly cold day. Students were also given a whirlwind tour of the scenic landscape and abundant heritage in and around the town of Laguardia in the Rioja Alavesa region.
As passionate students (and consumers) of wine, the winesonaries found their Mecca when they visited the superb combination winery and museum Vivanco. The exhibits at the museum were accompanied by a guided tour and tasting, which gave students a wine tourism experience described by Wintour tourism lecturer Salvador Anton as "the best wine tourism experience of its kind in Spain".
Local gastronomy was also on the menu, quite literally, with students sampling cuisine from some of the finest dining establishments in the area. Standout restaurant La Vieja Bodega boasted a wine cellar that dreams are made of and the owner, Mr Angel Perez Aguilar, even took some time to talk to the students about the conception and development of his business project.
Furthermore, an exclusive presentation from the regulatory council of DOC Rioja gave the students an insight into the regulatory and marketing strategies that have made the area such a successful wine region and wine tourism destination.
No trip to La Rioja would be complete, however, without sampling the traditional tapas and wine culture of Logroño. After a long day of field trip activities, a large group of enthusiastic winesionaries took part in an extracurricular activity, a wine tasting and tapas pairing "crawl", visiting multiple establishments on the famous tapas and wine bar-lined streets of central Logroño. This gave participating students valuable first-hand experience of a wine tourism product offered in the area and, as you can see below, proved highly enjoyable for all involved!
Overall, the field trip was a huge success and the Wintour programme would like to thank all the staff at Universidad de la Rioja and the local stakeholders who helped make this a memorable experience for our students.
Photo credits (in alphabetical order): Aaron Gilling, Olga Karakich, Paolo Russo, Vinka Woldarsky