Rioja Wine Tour

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Rioja in Spain — exciting wines, breath-taking scenery and amazing architecture

— Come with us on this exciting tour to Rioja, a wine region that is both classic and modern in a way that you find only in Spain. Wineries market themselves not only with excellent wines but also with the breath-taking and extraordinary architecture. The landscape is mountainous and scenic. We start in the elegant city of Bilbao, famous for the Guggenheim Museum, and we stay two nights in the capital of Rioja, the city of Logroño, famous for its many tapas bars.

Tour Highlights

  • 4 nights
  • Private tastings, approx. 10
  • Bilbao with Guggenheim
  • Logroño
  • Price: [sample programme]
  • Both modern and traditional Rioja
  • Magnificent landscapes
  • Spanish gastronomy
  • Organic wineries

Book Now!

Please Note: This Is A Sample Programme

This is a sample programme, an example. Every wine and food tour that we organise is different and specially adapted for the season and the circumstances. Details in the programme, e.g. which producers we visit, will be different each time.

Next Wine Tour To Rioja With Bilbao

  • This tour is currently not on our tour schedule. Contact us for information about future dates or to discuss a custom tour.

The Rioja wines are better than ever today. Rioja has undergone several transformations over the last few decades. It was one of the most popular wines in many countries for a long time in the 1980s and 1990s. But then Rioja was over-taken by the New World and they have struggled to come back. But now they are back, with a vengeance. Join us on this trip and discover The New Rioja. And as an added benefit, enjoy the Spanish gastronomy, today one of the world’s most respected.

We meet in Bilbao where we will stay the first and the last night. It is easy to fly to Bilbao and maybe you will spend an extra day here so you get the chance to visit the fantastic Guggenheim Museum and the beautiful city.

The dramatic Cantabrian Mountains and vineyards in Rioja
The dramatic Cantabrian Mountains and vineyards in Rioja, copyright BKWine Photography
The dramatic Cantabrian Mountains and vineyards in Rioja
The dramatic Cantabrian Mountains and vineyards in Rioja, copyright BKWine Photography

On Thursday morning, our bus will pick us up at the hotel and we will drive to the Rioja region, just under two hours from Bilbao, over the Cantabrian Mountains. During our days in Rioja, we will visit both large, well-known wine producers and smaller family bodegas. We will see examples of different styles of Rioja.

Rioja today is by no means a predictable wine. You can safely say that the excessively soft and vanilla-oaked wines of the 1980s belong to a bygone era. The new generation of winemakers has arrived.

As usual, on our wine tours, we will also devote a great deal of attention to the local gastronomy. Spanish cuisine is today renowned all over the world and the talent of Spanish chefs to innovate is famous. We will eat three lovely lunches at the wineries we visit. The evenings are free to explore Bilbao and Logroño.

The tour is led by one of BKWine’s wine and travel expert guides.

The Guggenheim museum in the evening sunshine and Bilbao's tallest building
The Guggenheim museum in the evening sunshine and Bilbao's tallest building, copyright BKWine Photography
The Guggenheim museum in Bilbao on the in the Nerviòn river flowing out in the Bay of Biscay
The Guggenheim museum in Bilbao on the in the Nerviòn river flowing out in the Bay of Biscay, copyright BKWine Photography

Programme — Rioja wine tour

Preliminary programme.

Contact BKWine for more details.

Sample programme

This is a sample programme, an example. You can find the wine tours currently on the schedule here, or you can explore a custom designed wine tour by contacting us.

There may be changes to some details of the programme, e.g. which wineries we visit. We put great effort into making your visits both exceptional and memorable. For this reason we often visit other than the most obvious, big-name producers (where there are often a number of guides employed). Instead we chose to give you a more unique, personal experience at our carefully selected estates, often (but not always) meeting the owner or the winemaker.

Programme overview

  • Day 1, Wednesday — Arrival in Bilbao
  • Day 2, Thursday — To Rioja and its capital Logroño
  • Day 3, Friday —Haro, Rioja’s second city
  • Day 4, Saturday — Impressive cellars and back to Bilbao
  • Day 5, Sunday — Heading back home

Wednesday, day 1 — Arrival in Bilbao

You arrive in Bilbao and check-in at our elegant centrally located 4-star hotel.

Bilbao is a fascinating city. It is a mix of old and modern with a few hundred thousand inhabitants in the central parts of town. The construction of the Guggenheim museum has given a big boost to Bilbao. Today it is a prosperous and dynamic city with plenty of shopping, art and restaurants. Very elegant.

You can find world-class gourmet restaurants as well as more humble ones with excellent Basque specialities that include fine seafood, excellent pork and meat products like the famous Spanish charcuteries.

The Old Town has narrow winding streets between medieval houses. You can buy a genuine Basque beret in a hat shop in the historic centre, a few blocks from the Plaza Nueva. In the “modern” part of town (from the 19th century) there are many streets filled with outdoor cafés and tapas bars. Everything is within convenient walking distance, even the Guggenheim Museum. If you have time you can hop on the metro and in a few stops you’re at the coast, the Bay of Biscay.

Free evening in Bilbao. A walk along the river when the sun is setting is a must.

A winding road through the autumn colours in a vineyard in Rioja
A winding road through the autumn colours in a vineyard in Rioja, copyright BKWine Photography
A winding road through the autumn colours in a vineyard in Rioja
A winding road through the autumn colours in a vineyard in Rioja, copyright BKWine Photography

Thursday, day 2 — To Rioja and its capital Logroño

In the morning our bus picks us up at the hotel and we start our journey to Rioja which takes approximately 2 hours.

The road trip is actually a bit of an experience in itself. On the seaside, in the Basque Country, the landscape is green and lush. The wind from the sea brings with it a lot of humidity. To get to the Rioja wine region we go over the Cantabrian Mountain range.

When we pass over the summit the landscape changes dramatically. It changes colour, it is not nearly as green. Instead, in the distance, you can see the imposing mountain range. Old villages are dotting the landscape and we will see more and more vineyards. On today’s program, we have for instance the spectacular Bodega Baigorri in Samaniego. The winery has a truly eye-catching position in Rioja Alavesa. They also have an excellent restaurant (open only to private guests). From there we can enjoy views of the vineyards on one side and the view over the oak barrel cellar on the other.

The afternoon visit will be at the well-known Bodegas Franco Españolas, located on the outskirts of Logroño. It was founded in the late 19th century when French wine growers fled a Bordeaux that was ravaged by the phylloxera. An interesting visit from both a historical perspective and from a wine perspective. Late afternoon we arrive at our hotel in Logroño. Logroño is the undisputed capital of Rioja and the biggest city in the region. Our hotel is centrally located, just at the edge of the old city centre.

The evening is free for your own gastronomic adventures. A stone’s throw from our hotel you have the old food market and just next to it the famous “tapas street”, Calle Laurel and also Calle San Juan. Every bar has its speciality: ham, grilled prawns, foie gras, omelettes, etc.

Pumping over a wooden vats in a wine cellar in Rioja
Pumping over a wooden vats in a wine cellar in Rioja, copyright BKWine Photography
Pumping over a wooden vats in a wine cellar in Rioja
Pumping over a wooden vats in a wine cellar in Rioja, copyright BKWine Photography

Friday, day 3 — Bodegas in Haro, Rioja’s second city

Our bus picks us up in the morning at our hotel. We head west to Haro. Haro is much smaller than Logrono but it is no less important from a wine point of view in Rioja.

Almost all the bodegas in Haro are clustered around the old railway station. It is strange with such a concentration of wineries in a very small area. This is where we will spend the day. In El Barrio de la Estación. In Rioja, it is not only the grape varieties that give their character to the wines but also the barrel ageing. The tempranillo grape needs some time in oak to bring out many of the typical aromas, or so it is thought.

We will talk about ageing in oak and many other things during the day. We may for example visit Muga. This is one of the old well-known names in Haro, a family winery that successful combines tradition with modernity. They also have their own cooperage.

On today’s program, we also have one of the smaller wineries in Haro, the excellent Gomez Cruzado. They have a very talented winemaker, brimming with ideas. At one of the wineries, we will enjoy a lovely lunch with classic Rioja specialities paired with several delicious wines.

Late afternoon we are back in Logroño. The evening is free to stroll around in town and to discover some new tapas bars. Kick off with fino sherry as an aperitif (although people here tend mostly to drink red rioja, of course) and the rest will go smoothly.

A village, a church, the Cantabrian Mountains and vineyards in Rioja
A village, a church, the Cantabrian Mountains and vineyards in Rioja, copyright BKWine Photography
A village, a church and vineyards in Rioja
A village, a church and vineyards in Rioja, copyright BKWine Photography

Saturday, day 4 — Impressive cellars and back to Bilbao

After breakfast, we check out from our hotel and load our luggage on the bus. We don’t have far to go as our first bodega is just outside of Logroño.

We start the day with a visit to Bodegas Campo Viejo, a large and well-known bodega with a magnificent wine cellar that was inaugurated in 2011. We will visit the winery and the cellars and we’ll have an interesting tasting of some of their best wines. Campo Viejo is one of the largest producers in Rioja, perhaps the largest. Their winery is huge and filled with modern technology. Both their bottle cellars and barrels cellars have impressive dimensions. They are said to have more than 60,000 barrels filled with wine.

We then move on to a smaller family bodega in Fuenmayor. The family did not start bottling their wines themselves until 1984. They now have 60 hectares of vineyards. After a short visit, we will sit down for an extraordinary tapas lunch. Not far from Fuenmayor is Bodegas Marques de Arviza where we will have our afternoon. This is one of the oldest wineries in Rioja. The underground cellars are deep and impressive.

We then move on to Bilbao and we expect to arrive at our hotel around 7 pm. In other words, plenty of time for an aperitif before dinner; dinner time in Spain is late (read our country FAQ on Spain!). We are happy to recommend restaurants and wine bars. Free evening.

Harvesting tempranillo grapes in the vineyard in Rioja
Harvesting tempranillo grapes in the vineyard in Rioja, copyright BKWine Photography
Harvesting tempranillo grapes in the vineyard in Rioja
Harvesting tempranillo grapes in the vineyard in Rioja, copyright BKWine Photography

Sunday, day 5 — Heading back home

The tour ends after breakfast. Departure.

There may be changes to some details of the programme, e.g. which wineries we visit. We put great effort into making your visits both exceptional and memorable. For this reason we often visit other than the most obvious, big-name producers (where there are often a number of guides employed). Instead we chose to give you a more unique, personal experience at our carefully selected estates, often (but not always) meeting the owner or the winemaker.

Go For It!

We’d love to have you with us.

Taking a pause at a café in an old village in Rioja
Taking a pause at a café in an old village in Rioja, copyright BKWine Photography
Taking a pause at a café in an old village in Rioja
Taking a pause at a café in an old village in Rioja, copyright BKWine Photography

More travel information

Here are some useful pages and guides about this travel destination:

Even more info

We have written a lot about Rioja and Spain and about wine touring in the region, what to do and what to expect.

Wine books

We have written more than ten wine books. They have won both national and international wine writing awards.

No other wine tour organiser has a comparable knowledge, competence and experience.

A collection of wine books written by BKWine

Tour Details — Rioja with Bilbao Wine Tour

Dates: [this is a sample programme]

Price per person: [this is a sample programme]

Single room supplement: [this is a sample programme]

Sample programme

This is a sample programme, an example. You can find the wine tours currently on the schedule here, or you can explore a custom designed wine tour by contacting us.

ADJUST TOUR DETAILS AS NEEDED, LUNCHES DINNERS ETC ETC ETC

Included in the price:

  • 4 nights hotel accommodation, double occupancy, including breakfast in Bilbao and Logroño
    • 2 nights in Bilbao at 5-star Hotel Lopez de Haro
    • 2 nätter in Logroño at 4-star Hotel Gran Via
  • Meals as described in the programme above (*):
    • 3 gastronomic multi-course lunches including a tasting of different wines; at wine estate or local restaurant
  • Start and end point: Bilbao
  • Bus transport during the whole trip
  • All vineyard and winery visits
  • Private, high quality tastings at wineries, approx. 3 per day
  • Interpretation from Spanish as needed, although most visits will be in English
  • Wine guiding and wine tutoring by an expert BKWine guide

(*) See below for more important information on our meals.

Not included:

  • Travel (flights etc) to the destination and back to your home location.

You are responsible for organising your travel to and from Bilbao yourself.

If you would like assistance organising your flight tickets etc, please contact us.

We warmly recommend that you plan a few extra days here if you have the time. It is a very interesting place and well worth some regular, non-wine related tourism too. We can assist you with booking additional hotel nights as needed.

For this tour to take place we must have a minimum of 4 participants registered by the “book before” date. Maximum number of tour participants: 10.

Book This Tour

Book before: [this is a sample programme]

Booking is confirmed by paying the booking fee of [sample programme, this varies by trip]. Full payment should be received at the latest [sample programme, usually one month or 60 days, depending on the trip] before the departure date (see our terms and conditions). Details on how to pay will be sent to you when you register.

It is important that your read our travel booking terms and conditions.

We also invite you to read more on why you should travel with BKWine, about customer protection, and about what you can expect from our wine tours in the section below “More on our wine tours”.

You book by contacting Britt Karlsson, BKWine:

  • phone: +33 1 58 88 04 66 or +33 6 80 45 35 70 (+33 is the country code for France)
  • Skype: “bkwine”. Call us on skype.
  • email: info@bkwine.com, or use the contact form below

“I want to book this tour” or “I want more info.”

(*) = required

Important: We automatically send you a copy of this email when you submit it. If you have not received it within a few minutes: 1) check your spam folder, 2) consider resending it, you might have misspelled your email address. Or simply send us a normal email using our address noted just above.

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More on our wine tours

Why travel with BKWine?

We are Britt and Per Karlsson. We are specialists in wine and food tours and wine tourism, but also experts in wine in general. We are internationally published wine writers and have written ten award-winning wine books.

No other tour operator has a comparable knowledge and experience of wine, wine regions, wine tourism and gourmet travel.

We have organised hundreds of wine and food tours, and this is what we love to do. We take it very seriously – it is not a sideline or a hobby – and what we want more than anything is to share all these wonderful experiences with you.

All our tours are led and managed by guides who have in-depth wine knowledge, and in many cases we lead the tours ourselves.

Read more on why you should choose BKWine for your wine and food tour.

Thousands of happy customers

Over the years, thousands of wine lovers have travelled with us. Many come back to tour again and again with BKWine to new wine regions. Our record-breaking client has been on more than ten BKWine tours. We are happy and proud to have such faithful customers.

Read more on what travellers have said about our tours.

Awards and Mentions

We’re pleased and proud to have received many accolades, including:

  • “World’s Top Wine Tours”, Travel+Leisure Magazine, the world’s biggest travel magazine
  • “Best wine tasting holidays”, AOL Travel’s list of top wine tours
  • “Recommended Wine Tours”, Munskänkarna, the world’s biggest wine appreciation association
  • “World’s Best Wine Book for Professionals” as well as “Best Wine Book of the Year”, Gourmand International awards, and many other book prizes
  • Three OIV book awards, International Organisation of Vine and Wine
  • “Wine Personality of the Year”, an honour bestowed on Britt Karlsson by Munskänkarna in 2011, the world’s biggest wine appreciation association
  • Inclusion on the Wine Media Power List, by Wine Business International magazine

About the wine producers and wineries we visit

Our aim is for you to experience some of the very best and most interesting aspects of the wine world, in terms of wine and food.

We put great effort into creating outstanding winery visits, and in this way we are quite different to many wine tour organisers. It is not always the most renowned, internationally known estates that offer the best experiences. Organising a wine tour featuring famous names of the wine world is relatively easy: it is merely a question of making lists and ticking boxes. On those kind of “bucket list” wine tours, you rarely meet the winemaker or the owner. You will simply be one of thousands of visitors they receive each year.

We do things differently. With BKWine Tours, you will meet the people behind the label, often the winemakers and/or the owners. Thanks to them, you will have a unique, truly personal experience and an insight into the wine world that no one else can offer. When you travel with BKWine, you are more like a special guest than a tourist.

We have personal connections and unparalleled knowledge thanks to more than 20 years as wine journalists, with 10 wine books published, and as wine tour organisers with more than 30 years’ experience. You can be sure of getting the best wine travel experiences with BKWine Tours.

Read more on the wine producers and wineries we visit.

A true gourmet experience: food and gastronomy

For us, wine and food are intimately linked, and this is a fundamental part of our wine travel philosophy. For this reason, a wine tour with BKWine is always an outstanding culinary experience both for the wine enthusiast and for the gourmet. A BKWine tour is a gastronomic voyage that explores the deep relationship between food and wine.

Read more On Meals: Food and Gastronomy on Our Tours.

Customer Protection,  Financial Travel Guarantee, and Terms and Conditions

You can always feel safe when you book your tour with BKWine. BKWine has a bonded bank guarantee that gives full protection according to EU and Swedish law. BKWine is a Swedish limited company and as such is regulated by strict rules.

Read more on Customer Protection, Financial Travel Guarantee. and our Terms and Conditions.

When you book a tour it is important that you read the terms and conditions. BKWine’s booking terms and conditions follow the guidelines developed by the Consumer Protection Agency.

Health, vaccination and allergies

Our tours have no particular health requirements although inevitably we will be walking a certain amount in wine cellars and vineyards. Sensible footwear is a must.

Most of our travel destinations have no particular health guidelines or requirements for vaccinations or medical certificates, but if in doubt, you should always consult a medical professional, vaccination centre or relevant embassy in your country of origin.

We can always accommodate food allergies. However, in order for us to manage such requests you must let us know about any allergies before the tour starts.

Read more in our FAQ and in our Terms and Conditions.

Travel insurance

BKWine does not sell travel insurance. If you want travel insurance, check if your regular home insurance policy includes some kind of travel insurance, or contact your regular insurance company or a travel insurance specialist.

Custom Tours

We also offer custom wine and food tours if you want to travel on different dates, or if you want something different to what we currently offer on our scheduled tours. This tailor-made service can be offered for individuals, companies, professionals, wine tastings clubs etc.

Important information

Our groups are always small. The number of people in the group may vary. The maximum can range from 8 to around 20; check the details in each programme. But our groups are always modest in size. This is important because it guarantees a quality experience and a personal welcome at the wineries we visit.

Read the BKWine Booking Terms and Conditions here. They are important to you!

You are expected to organise your travel independently to the destination for most of our tours, but once you are at the location, we take care of everything.

For more inspiration

Read our wine travel blog. For more, read our online wine magazine the BKWine Magazine with articles from all over the wine world.

And also:

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Subscribe to our free wine and travel newsletter, the BKWine Brief. Each month, it gives you news from the world of wine, restaurant recommendations, tips on our favourite wine producers and much more. It will also keep you updated on forthcoming wine and food tours.

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