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October 11, 2014updated Dec 20, 2023

Wine Takes Center Stage in Spain

By Neharika Padala

Spain has long been one of the world’s most popular tourism destinations, attracting visitors from students to sheiks. In recent years, however, the tilt has favored elite travelers, as the country has become popular for super yachts, seen hyper growth of luxury hotels both large and small, and its cuisines have come to the global forefront.  In fact, El Celler De Can Roca and Azurmendi ranked sixth and seventh on Elite Traveler’s 2014 World’s Best Restaurants list.


Another reason more elite travelers are visiting Spain are its wineries. While now we’re seeing great popularity, export of Iberian wines is not new. In fact, Spanish wines were favored throughout the Roman Empire.

American Ana Fabiano has made her career promoting wines of Rioja, which describes itself as “Spain’s premier winemaking region.”  Her book “Wines of Rioja” ranks as one of Amazon’s most popular books on the grapes. Recently, she joined with Turespana to give a New York group of journalists a wine led journey through Rioja, using some of the region’s top winemakers as a proposed route.

Among the wines sampled were a Bodegas Ontanon Crianza 2010, a blend of Tempranillo and Garnacha grapes; CVNE Vina Real Crianza 2010 with Tempranillo, Garnacha, Graciano and Mazuelo grapes, famed for its winery built to resemble a wine barrel from the outside; a rich Bodegas Ysios Reserva 2007; the Vivanco Reserva 2007, site of  “the best wine museum in the world,” and a La Rioja Alta 904 Gran Reserva 2001, a mix of Tempranillo & Graciano grapes. And by the way, 904 refers to the year the two owning families joined together to launch the winery.

In all, Spain has 22 wine routes, and for elite travelers who are interested, a new 15 page guide is available on

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