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Rioja wine tours

Christian

10+ Posts
Contest 2019 Winner!
We're off to Spain next month and will be based in San Sebastian for just just over a week. We would like to go on one of those organized day-long wine tours, usually done with a minivan and 6-8 people. From what I see online, it may be easier to find someting leaving from Bilbao than San Sebastian, and that would be fine. I have found some inetersting ones, but I find they much more expensive than the ones in Italy!

Any suggestions for the Rioja region? Has anyone been on one of those?
 

Colo

500+ Posts
Contest 2019 Winner!
Christian,

It looks like my wife and I are headed back to Salamanca next month for a couple weeks. We have not returned since 1972 when we were summer exchange students. Wine is a passion in our house, and I was looking for day trips to Toro, Rueda, and maybe Ribera del Duero. However, I must admit I had a little sticker shock on pricing for a driver, two wineries, and lunch. I think we may be renting a car and relying on our own knowledge. Hoping others that read your post have good experiences with independent local guides... with recommendations
 

Christian

10+ Posts
Contest 2019 Winner!
Thank you Colo, I hope we'll find options. Perhaps it's possible to find something while we're there, rather than online in advance. I don't think we're interested in paying 300€ per person to visit one or two wineries! We did amazing tours in Tuscany for around 100-150€ as recently as last summer!
 

Dennis

100+ Posts
We have only travelled la Rioja by rental car. Friends used a company based in Logrono for a tour and thought it good value for money. Unfortunately I can't get the name now. A quick Google search shows many companies based there.

You may wish to rent a car for the day or two to visit wineries of your choice. We found Laguardia to be a good base for visiting the area. Driving in the area is easy. We found Mirabel's guides an excellent reference: http://www.maribelsguides.com/mg_larioja.pdf . Her guide on the Basque country is also good.

There are some earlier threads on sights in La Rioja on this forum that may be of assistance.
 

Christian

10+ Posts
Contest 2019 Winner!
Thanks Dennis. Problem is...we don't drive! That's why we rely on organized tours. They're usual quite good. We've done them in Italy, France and California.
 

Christian

10+ Posts
Contest 2019 Winner!
Thanks for the article, Dennis. Sure looks great but unfortunately, we don't drive!
 

rogers

10+ Posts
Almost two years ago we had so much fun spending the day touring Rioja with Jose -- https://www.instagram.com/winetastelovers/
Jose picked us up promptly at our hotel in his van at the agreed time. He drove us to historical sites, wineries and other destinations to give us the full Rioja experience. Jose is super knowledgeable about the wine makers, the wine making processes/regulations and the history of the region. We visited really cool caves and numerous wineries of all different sizes and styles. Jose also cooked us an amazing lunch in a house in a village - meat and vegetables over an open fire, accompanied by great wine of course.

We were with two other couples - 6 of us all together. We had a lot of wine and a lot of fun. A wonderful experience
 

Shannon

100+ Posts
Rioja tours are expensive. You could check out:

Thabuca Wine Tours

There are so many big, glitzy wineries in the Rioja.. I would rather pay more and get a more intimate, private experience. If you want to explore that idea a bit more, check out:
Epicurean Ways
Tours By Basques

You could also reach out to Javier at TripNavarra.. he is in Pamplona (one hour from San Sebastian by bus) and he can do tours in the Rioja - but the wineries in his area are really great, and he does a very good wine tour with small wineries in Navarra. Tell him I sent you.

I met a guide from San Sebastian last month- her name is Amana and perhaps she could help you, though I believe her expertise is more in the Txacoli wineries. You can reach her through San Sebastian Guides.
 

Christian

10+ Posts
Contest 2019 Winner!
I love this Forum! Just got up and found the last two postings waiting for me (thank you Roger and Shannon!). Since I'm off work today and we're leaving in less than a month, I will be going through these possibilities this afternoon, a glass of Rioja by my side! ;)
 

marshajc

10+ Posts
Contest 2019 Winner!
We will be in San Sebastian in Sept. and want to spend 2-3 nights in Rioja (probably basing in Laguardia) before going on from San Se to Barcelona. We would like a guide for a day who will meet us in Laguardia and take us to 2-3 interesting wineries. I, too, am not happy about the prices I've seen for day tours. I hope you have a wonderful trip; please let me know about your Rioja experience and whether or not you were able to find an affordable guide.
 

Christian

10+ Posts
Contest 2019 Winner!
Thank you!! I must say, I really hope to find something while we're there. We don't drive, so it's a bit limiting for us to go from one vineyard to the next, so we have to rely on organized tours, especially the small ones in a minivan. We have been on may of them and the best ones so far were in Tuscany (I so "so far" because we're off to Bordeaux next month, before going down to the Rioja region!). I'll keep you posted either way!
 

Shannon

100+ Posts
We will be in San Sebastian in Sept. and want to spend 2-3 nights in Rioja (probably basing in Laguardia) before going on from San Se to Barcelona. We would like a guide for a day who will meet us in Laguardia and take us to 2-3 interesting wineries. I, too, am not happy about the prices I've seen for day tours. I hope you have a wonderful trip; please let me know about your Rioja experience and whether or not you were able to find an affordable guide.
If you are staying in Laguardia, there are a couple of wineries you can visit without going anywhere. Casa Premicia is in the historic center and is very interesting. There are other wineries within walking distance, such as Luis Alegre.

Just outside the old town is a place called Villa Lucia where you can buy and taste several wines... the manager there is an Italian guy (Alessandro) and maybe he knows some local guide not charging too much. If you want, I can ask him.
 

Christian

10+ Posts
Contest 2019 Winner!
We will be in San Sebastian in Sept. and want to spend 2-3 nights in Rioja (probably basing in Laguardia) before going on from San Se to Barcelona. We would like a guide for a day who will meet us in Laguardia and take us to 2-3 interesting wineries. I, too, am not happy about the prices I've seen for day tours. I hope you have a wonderful trip; please let me know about your Rioja experience and whether or not you were able to find an affordable guide.
Wonderful trip for sure!! :)
We decided to give up on the idea of a Rioja wine tour after all. The first week of our trip was in Bordeaux, from where we visited fantastic Saint-Émilion. Needless to say, it was a day of incredible wine tastings! Incredible! And the town itself in absolutely amazing! By the time we reached San Sebastian, the desire to do a wine tour sort of died! We were able to sample many, many incredible wines in San Sebastian and Bilbao and it's dirt cheap. We don't regret anything, but it would have been nice to visit a Rioja winery. Oh well. I hope you find something not too crazy expensive!
 

marshajc

10+ Posts
Contest 2019 Winner!
If you are staying in Laguardia, there are a couple of wineries you can visit without going anywhere. Casa Premicia is in the historic center and is very interesting. There are other wineries within walking distance, such as Luis Alegre.

Just outside the old town is a place called Villa Lucia where you can buy and taste several wines... the manager there is an Italian guy (Alessandro) and maybe he knows some local guide not charging too much. If you want, I can ask him.
Thanks, Shannon. I hadn't seen this until today. If you are willing to ask Alessandro about a local guide, that would be great.
 

Shannon

100+ Posts
Marcia, Alessandro wrote me back, but his suggestions are all wine tour companies and therefore on the more expensive side. Maybe you (or someone else) will be able to use the info in the future.

  • Rioja Wine Trips (www.riojawinetrips.com). Inma Bezunartea & Mel Evelyn Mob.: 0034 652726119). They are the Winners of “Wine Experience of the Year 2018” by Luxury Travel Guide
  • Thabuca Wine Tours (www.thabuca.com). Carol Gutierrez T.: 0034 945331060
  • Rioja Like a Native (www.riojalikeanative.com). Rebeca Perez Mob.: 0034 629548075
  • Rioja Treck – Wine Tours (www.riojatrek.com). Marina Grijalba Mob.: 0034 679010804
Hope this helps!
 

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