Spain’s wine history dates back to pre-Roman times, but it is only over the past few decades that the quality of Spanish Wine has significantly improved throughout the whole country and led to Spanish Wine being exported, sought after and enjoyed all over the World. Wine is BIG in Spain and vines are cultivated all over the country!
Spain is a vast country with differing climates and soils and all of the autonomous communities of Spain produce wine with their own grape varieties, Regulatory Councils and specific types. Due to the expanse of the land – Spain has around 3 million acres of vines planted – climates and types of grapes, there are numerous Wine Regions in Spain resulting in a fantastic variety of Spanish Wine. The best-known Spanish wines, however, are Cava, Rioja, and Sherry which are three very different wines made in three very different wine regions.
Quality Spanish wines are classified using a system based on the “Denominación de Origen” or “DO”, designated origin, which determines where each wine has been produced. Spanish wine laws created the “DO” system in 1932 and it was later revised in 1970. The “DO” system is similar to the Appellation d’origine contrôlée “AOC” system of France, the Denominação de Origem Controlada “DOC” of Portugal and the Denominazione di origine controllata “DOC” of Italy.
In addition to the “DO” system in Spain there is also the Denominación de Origen Calificada “DOCa” or “DOQ” in Catalan, a status for DOs that have a consistent track record for quality. There are currently only two DOCa/DOQ regions in Spain: Rioja and Priorat.
In 2009, there were 79 Quality DO Wine regions across Spain, but undoubtedly, the most well-known Spanish DO Wine Region, especially for its red wine, is La Rioja – also a DOCa/DOQ Wine Region of Spain. There are, however, many other Spanish wine regions that produce high quality red wines, like Ribera del Duero or the other DOCa/DOQ wine region of Priorat.
Although the known type of Spanish wine is red wine, Spain also produces high quality white wines, especially in Galicia, Cava and Jerez (sherry) which is produced in the south, near Jerez in Andalusia.
Over the coming months we’ll be showcasing some of the DO Wine Regions of Spain in our “Gourmand Breaks DO the Vineyards – Wine Regions of Spain” series like:
- Bierzo Spanish Wine D.O. Region
- Catalunya Spanish Wine D.O. Region
- Cava Spanish Wine D.O. Region
- Conca de Barberá Spanish Wine D.O. Region
- Costers del Segre Spanish Wine D.O. Region
- Empordá Spanish Wine D.O. Region
- Jerez Spanish Wine D.O. Region
- Jumilla Spanish Wine D.O. Region
- Navarra Spanish Wine D.O. Region
- Penedes Spanish Wine D.O. Region
- Pla de Bages Spanish Wine D.O. Region
- Priorat Spanish Wine D.O.Q. Region
- Rias Baixas Spanish Wine D.O. Region
- Ribeiro Spanish Wine D.O. Region
- Ribera del Duero Spanish Wine D.O. Region
- Rioja Spanish Wine D.O.Ca. Region
- Rueda Spanish Wine D.O. Region
- Somontano Spanish Wine D.O. Region
- Tarragona Spanish Wine D.O. Region
- Terra Alta Spanish Wine D.O. Region
- Toro Spanish Wine D.O. Region
- Txacoli Spanish Wine D.O. Region
- Utiel-Requena Spanish Wine D.O. Region
- Valdepeñas Spanish Wine D.O. Region
- Valencia Spanish Wine D.O. Region
If you love Wine you can’t miss Spain!
Join us on a Private Wine Tour of Spain like our Wine Connoisseur Tour of Spain to explore the Ribera del Duero, La Rioja, Priorat and Penedes Wine Regions of Spain and enjoy expert guided visits to some fantastic wineries and taste some great Spanish wines.