Rioja Region

Rioja Region

 

Rioja has a long and rich history of winemaking that can be traced back to Roman times. Located in northern Spain on either side of the Ebro River, the regions’ unique terrain sets it apart from surrounding territories. The wine-growing region of Rioja is made up of three sub-regions that straddle the Upper Ebro river; Alavesa, Alta, and Baja. The region is located in between two opposing climates—Atlantic and Mediterranean—both of which provide the area with mild temperatures and annual rainfall of 400 m2. The Alavesa’s climate is more influenced by the Atlantic and the land is made up of terraces and small plots composed of chalky-clay. The climate in the Alta is also more defined by the Atlantic influence, but has more varied soils of chalky-clay, ferrous-clay, and alluvial. Baja’s hotter and drier climate is more influenced by the Mediterranean with alluvial and ferrous-clay soil.

 

The soils of the Rioja region make it ideal for growing grapes of the highest quality that have balanced structure, high acidity, and moderate water availability during the summer months. Rioja is made up of several microclimates with extremely varied soils, which contributes to the unique traits of its wines. This, combined with the many different wine-growing practices and grape varieties means that winemakers in this region are able to make wines with very different personalities that still remain true to the history and characteristics of the region.

 

In order to ensure quality, the Consejo Regulador of the D.O.C.a. Rioja sets a maximum allowable yield of 6,500 kilograms per hectare for red varieties and a maximum amount of 9,000 kilograms per hectare for all white varieties. Presently, Rioja produces around 280-300 liters per year, 90 percent of which is red wine.