Galicia is, and will always be a land of great wines. Romans knew it, hundreds of years ago they transferred from the ancient Gallaecia to Rome enormous amounts of this precious liquid. At present millions of people know it, either for a light meal or a special celebration they put food a bottle of Galician wine on the table.
In Galicia, we are lucky enough to have a landscape, climate and soil that allow us to produce wines of greater quality. Centuries of tradition together with the commercial and technological boost that are experimenting wine areas and the modernisation efforts undertaken by the wineries during the last years has brought our wines to international recognition.
Beyond this current reality, Galician wines hide many secrets and provide experiences that can only be discovered and enjoyed among vineyards on steep slopes or at the edge of the sea, the place where more than 20 native grape varieties that exist in our land are cultivated. The wine tourism in Galicia, that represents the present and future of our wine, takes its first steps with strength and opens the doors to a different approach to everything that has to offer this green corner of northern Spain.
Although the word wine tourism is pretty recent, actually it refers to an older phenomenon that consists of showing the vineyards to tourists. This practice started in the decade of the ’70s during the past century in the United States and soon arrived at the old continent, where France is the greatest exponent at the moment: it has over 10.000 wineries and welcomes almost 10 million tourists in its vineyards each year. Numbers that overwhelm us in a region where to put it colloquially, we are still in diapers. Wine tourism in Galicia is very recent. However, far from being an inconvenience, at Galician Roots we only advantages in this situation, since the many experiences that are already working were developed from the heart, the opposite to mass tourism, as they have a particular care in each activity offered and they allow a direct contact with producers and wine-producers which allows the visitor to feel like in a family.
We can state without a shadow of a doubt that wine tourism in Galicia is high-quality tourism. Opting for it will allow you to discover the five winemaking regions protected with the designation of origin that exist currently, and what is best: get into them doing guided trips in Galician wineries, from the most innovative ones to the most majestic, passing through those who still preserve the essence of family tradition. A guided visit to any winery in Galicia open to the public usually includes a wide variety of activities: tastings, sensory analysis, notions about cine cultivation techniques, walks through the vineyards, visits to museums…
But wine tourism is much more than that. It cannot be dissociated from the environment where it is made and this is why there is a continuous dialogue with the cultural heritage and the landscape, facets that Galicia can boast about due to its richness and spectacularity. Depending on the region you visit you will find closely beaches and seafaring villages (for example near to the production area of the famous white wine albariño) or also rugged mountains carved out by the river (whose hillsides grow, among others, the red grape Mencía). In any case, you always have the opportunity to do hiking routes, by horse or bike too, you can approach the mystery enclosed in the monasteries, discover the hidden details of the medieval fortresses, get to know how lived the first settlers of these lands in the Celtic forts and enjoy the old quarter of our cities.
Having said that we cannot forget to add the gastronomy, another great cornerstone of Galicia tourism and so closely linked to wine culture. Tasting at the vineyards are very common, in these, they will explain to you the combinations and perfect marriages between the different wines and groceries. Nevertheless, you won’t have any problems to find a vast number of restaurants that will advise you and where you will be able to enjoy an exquisite menu accompanied by a magnificent wine of our land. So have a try! It’s our recommendation.
As you can see, wine tourism is an open window with endless leisure possibilities, an offer that is not only made for wine experts. You only need to be curious and have the urge to enjoy an authentic experience in family, with friends or with your partner. And even in that, depending on everyone’s taste, you can choose. For all these reasons we believe that wine tourism is a great option for your vacation and also a suitable option for pilgrims. Some of the routes of the Camino de Santiago pass by territories within the designations of origin. With a bit of planning everything can be compatible.
If two wines put the name of Galicia on the world map, these are the Ribeiro and Albariño. The latter one has gained a solid reputation in the last decades, a result of a clear commitment to quality, the unification of criteria, promotion, growth and institutional support. It is produced in coastal areas and low altitude valleys facing the Atlantic, territories grouped in the Designation of Origin Rías Baixas, the largest in extension and also in the number of wineries. This conjunction of factors has turned the albariño into a national reference for white wines. Step by step it is succeeding in establishing a worldwide benchmark. The DO Rías Baixas has its wine route, perfectly designed and consolidated. It is the area that has had greater development.
The Ribeiro variety is another famous Galician wine. It has been produced since the Roman times and it was served on almost all the European noble tables between the XI and XVI century. Furthermore, it was the first Western wine to reach America thanks to Christopher Columbus. Nowadays this historical baggage has created a legendary reputation to this wine, reinforced by the job done by the Designation of Origin Ribeiro (created in 1932), one of the most historical in Europe. Each year 8 million litres are produced in this area, 90% of the white wine production.
It would be unfair to shade the quality of other great wines produced in Galicia with the brightness of these two varieties. Therefore, beyond the Albariño and Ribeiro, we also wish to list the other designations of origin of our region so you can know them, where amazing and worthy wines are produced: Ribeira Sacra, Valdeorras and Monterrei.
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