The wine regions of Spain
Spain’s wine country covers a bewildering array of landscapes, regions, and wine styles, from the Albariño white wines of the Atlantic Galicia in the northwest, to the sherries of Andalucía in the south, to the Tempranillo red wines of Rioja, to the sumptuous Cavas – sparkling wines – of Penedès, Catalonia in the northeast.
This guide to the wine regions of Spain is divided into two parts, covering the 12 traditional wine regions. Part 1 covers:
- the Alto Ebro Wine Region including La Rioja
- the Andalusian wine region
- the Aragonese wine region
- the Balearics wine region
- the Canarian wine region
- the Cantabrian wine region
The Catalan wine region, the Central wine region, the De Levante wine region, the Del Duero wine region, the Extremaduran wine region, and the Galician wine region are covered in Part 2 of the wine regions of Spain.
The map below shows the locations of the 12 wine regions. These wine regions are also divided into wine appellations called DOPs in Spain. In the Part 2, the map shows how the 12 wine regions are divided into the 88 DOPs.
The tables below give an overview of the wine trade of Spain. Table 1 shows that the total hectarage of vineyards is over 650,000 ha. This number includes vineyards growing grapes destined to make quality wines within the DOP, VP, and VC appellations, with around the same hectarage grown under the lesser quality appellations of Indicación Geográfica Protegida (IGP) and Vino de Mesa (table wine). In another article, we cover the wine production for all of the Spanish appellations.
Table 1 shows that the hectarage of the wine regions is very different from the volume of wine produced, due to extreme differences in yield. At one extreme the vineyards of Extremadura in the south of Spain only produce 2 hectolitres per hectare, and at the other extreme the vineyards of the Alto Ebro (that includes La Rioja) that produce 48 hectolitres per hectare. With such a high yield it is no surprise that the Alto Ebro region produces by far the greatest volume of wine at over 3.5 million hectolitres.
Just to the north of the Alto Ebro region, the Cantabrian wine region produces the lowest volume of wine of the mainland regions at under 40,000 hectolitres. The Cantabrian region has the lowest hectarage of the mainland wine regions at under 1,000 hectares, while the Central wine region has the largest hectarage at over a quarter of a million hectares.
Table 2 shows the breakdown of wine types per wine region, showing how the the Andalusian wine region is dominated by liquors – their world famous sherries. The colder, damper northern regions of Galicia and the Cantabrian wine region are dominated by white wines, while the Catalan wine region is the home of Cava, the Spanish Champagne.
The wine regions of Spain grow a bewildering array of both native and foreign grape varieties, and the various DOPs have their own particular varieties that they are authorised to use. The first time a grape variety is mentioned here, there is a link to our Guide to the wine grape varieties in Spain.
|Region||Vintners||Vineyard (ha)||Production (hl)||hl/ha|
Table 1. Spain Wine Regions, 2016 / 2017 Production for DOP, VP and VC winesSpain Wine Region. Statistics for 2016 / 2017 Season per DOP, VP, and VC. Land under cultivation by hectare; Production by hectolitre; Quantity of wine produced per hectare.
Table 2 Spanish Wine Regions, by wine type and salesSpanish Wine Regions. Statistics for 2016 / 2017 Season per DOP, VP, and VC. Total volume sold by hectolitre, and percent of type of wine sold.
Alto Ebro Wine Region
The Alto Ebro region (meaning the Upper Ebro River) is formed by the lower parts of the Logroño and Navarra provinces on both sides of the Ebro River. This region contains the world renowned Rioja, one of two wine regions in Spain, alongside Priorat, with the highest quality mark of DOCa.
This region is the start of the Great Ebro Depression, as the Ebro leaves the mountainous lands to the west. To the north the region is framed by the hills of the pre-Pyrenees, and to the south by the Sierra de la Demanda. The rolling hills of the Alto Ebro are between 200 and 500 m (650 to 1650 ft).
Even though it is only 100 km (60 miles) from the Atlantic, the climate is continental, protected on the north by the Pyrenees, the west by the Mountains of Urbasa and Cantabria, the south by the Sierra de la Demanda, and open on the southeast by the Ebro Depression. The temperature does not vary much over the year with an average of 5ºC (41ºF) in winter and 20ºC (68ºF) in summer, with 400 mm (158 in) annual precipitation.
The Alto Ebro wine region has one DOCa (Denominación de Origen Calificada), one DO (Denominación de Origen), and three VPs (Vino de Pago).
The main DOP of the Alto Ebro region is Rioja, which is a DOCa (Denominación de Origen Calificada). Rioja was formed as a DO in 1932, when the Spanish appellation was first formed. It became a DOCa in 1991, when the new DOCa category was developed. The Rioja DOCa holds the second largest DOP hectarage of vineyards in Spain (la Mancha in the Central Region contains the largest DOP hectarage), and is by far the biggest DOP wine producer by hectolitre in Spain at over three million hectolitres in 2015. International sales accounts for 38% of Rioja’s wine sales.
The Ebro is Spain’s greatest river, and the Alto Ebro has a very long tradition of wine making along this important natural transport corridor. Importantly, La Rioja and France were well connected, especially from the medieval period, with the French pilgrims making their way along the Camino de Compostela to Galicia via the Ebro and La Rioja.
The name Rioja comes from the River (río) Oja, a small tributary of the Ebro, where a medieval monastery along the pilgrimage route – the Camino Francés, or French Way – was founded by the bridge over the Río Oja.
The French method of long ageing wine in oak barrels was thus introduced to the region in the 18th century, while in the nineteenth century they began a new method – more economical – of importing oak from North America, and coopering it themselves into small barrels, thus beginning their own tradition that lasts to this day.
Around the time of the adoption of their new method of using American oak, viticulture exploded in Rioja and elsewhere in Spain due to the collapse of the French vineyards in the mid-nineteenth century (due to phylloxera, and an earlier parasitic fungus). French vintners sought out sources of grapes south of the border, encouraging the planting of thousands of acres of new vineyards, or actually moved themselves, and set up wineries.
Thus began the boom in Rioja wine, and Spanish wine in general. By the end of the nineteenth century, however, the bubble burst, with phylloxera crossing the Pyrenees, and destroying the majority of the vineyards. In La Rioja, 70% were wiped out. By then, the antidote to phylloxera – grafting European vines onto North American root stock – had been discovered, entailing that the vineyards of France were once again productive, and didn’t need to rely on Spanish grapes.
It would not be until the 1970s that Rioja came out of the doldrums, and the wine trade took off once again, and Rioja came to be the centrepiece of Spanish wine. The traditional nineteenth century method of using small American oak barrels coopered in Spain continues to this day. And in many ways it typifies Rioja wine, especially with using old barrels to impart a softer flavour, and ageing them in the barrels for a very long time.
However, a new wave of wine making has begun – these ‘modernists’ use new French barrels and mature the wine in them for much shorter periods than traditionally, thus making the wines distinctly more oaky.
The maps above demonstrate the central place that the grape variety Tempranillo plays in La Rioja. Tempranillos accounts for 75% of the La Rioja’s vineyards. While Rioja is undoubtedly a red wine region, known especially for the red grape variety Tempranillo, it does produce white wines, especially using Viura (Macabeo) grape. It also produces rosés, and has recently introduced sparkling wines to the DOCa, under the name Espumoso de Rioja.
Some of the notable wineries include Bodegas y Viñedos Artadi, Finca Allende, La Rioja Alta, Viñedos de Páganos, and Viñedos Sierra Cantabria.
Tempranillo, Garnacha, Graciano, Mazuela, Maturana tinta.
Viura /Macabeo, Malvasía de Rioja, Garnacha Blanca, Tempranillo Blanco, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Verdejo, Maturana Blanca, Torrontés.
The rules of La Rioja DOCa state that ageing of their wines follows:
Generic – wines under two years.
Crianza – red wines in their third year, and having spent a minimum of one year in oak barrels. For white wines, the minimum barrel ageing period is 6 months.
Reserva – red wines with a minimum ageing between oak barrels and the bottle of three years, of which at least one has to be in barrels, with an additional minimum 6 months of ageing in the bottle. For white wines, the minimum ageing is 2 years, with at least 6 months in barrels.
Gran Reserva – These are wines of great vintages with a minimum of five years of ageing, with at least two years in oak barrels and two years in the bottle. For white wines, the minimum ageing period is 4 years, with at least 6 months in barrels.
In addition to the ageing requirements the Rioja DOCa brought in new categories in 2017 that cover the idea of terroir.
Viñedo Singular – a geographical indication designates wines from particular vineyards or estates.
Vinos de Municipio – a wine from a particular municipality.
Vinos de Zona – a wine from one of the three sub-zones of Rioja Alavesa, Rioja Alta, and Rioja Baja (now called Rioja Oriental).
Formed in 1933, and found to the north of La Rioja, Navarra DOP is the region’s poor cousin compared to the famed La Rioja. But Navarra produces some remarkable wines in its own right, and is in the top ten Spanish appellations. Compared to Rioja, Navarra holds much less hectarage and produces less, but Navarra is in the top ten Spanish DOs for wine production by hectolitre. At 47 hl/ha (hectolitres per hectare) it is amongst the higher yielding Spanish DOs. The international market accounts for 32% of its wine sales.
The Navarra DOP does not cover a particularly large area, but has a wide diversity of climates and soils. The south is drier than the north, and the soils are predominantly a range of limestones and alluviums. As with La Rioja, the majority of wines produced are reds, but Navarra is traditionally known for its rosés.
Some of the notable wineries are Bodega Inurrieta, Bodega Otazu, Domaines Lupier, J. Chivite Family Estate, and Señorio de Andíon.
Cabernet Sauvignon, Garnacha Tinta, Graciano, Mazuela, Merlot, Tempranillo, Syrah, Pinot Noir.
Chardonnay, Garnacha Blanca, Malvasía, Moscatel de Grano Menudo, Viura (Macabeo), Sauvignon Blanc.
Vino de Pago
The Vino de Pagos of the Alto Ebro wine region are Pago de Arínzano, Pago de Otazu, and Prado Irache.
|Type||Name||Vintners||Vineyards ha||Production hl||hl/ha|
|VP||Pago de Arínzano||1||133||-||-|
|VP||Pago de Otazu||1||107||-||-|
Table 3. Alto Ebro Wine Region, 2016 / 2017 ProductionAlto Ebro Wine Region. Statistics for 2016 / 2017 Season per DOP, VP, and VC. Land under cultivation by hectare; Production by hectolitre; Quantity of wine produced per hectare.
|VP||Pago de Arínzano||36%||-||64%||2,165|
|VP||Pago de Otazu||21%||-||79%||146|
Table 4. Alto Ebro Wine Region, by wine type and salesAlto Ebro Wine Region. Statistics for 2016 / 2017 Season per DOP, VP, and VC. Total volume sold by hectolitre, and percent of type of wine sold.
Andalusian Wine Region
The Andalusian region is formed by the southern Spanish provinces of Almería, Cádiz, Córdoba, Granada, Huelva, Jaén, Málaga, and Sevilla. This region includes the famous sherry region, and produces wines quite different from the rest of Spain.
Probably the first Spanish wine to reach global fame, sherry is a fortified wine from the coastal region of Jerez. Officially it still goes by the name jerez, xéres, and sherry, which is sherry in Spanish, French, and English – making probably the only multilingual drink name in the world, confirming its global reach. While the name used to be a generic term for fortified white wines, EU regulations have confined it in the EU to sherries coming from the Jerez DOP.
The Andalusian wine region has five DOPs and one VC (Vino de Calidad con indicación geográfica). (DO Granada was upgraded from a VC to a DOP in 2018).
Condado de Huelva DOP
The Condado de Huelva DOP is located to the northwest of the Jerez region, and historically was an important producer of the Andalusian sherries. Since 1963, however, it has been designated as a separate DOP, and produces sherry-style wines along with unfortified dry white wine. Today its wines are rarely exported, with 95% consumed nationally. The region is dominated by the Zalema variety, which accounts for 86% of the vines.
The climate is Mediterranean with Atlantic influences. Winters and Springs are mild, with long, hot summers. Rainfall is around 550mm per year, with average relative humidity of 60-80%. The terrain is generally flat to slightly rolling, with neutral loamy soils and aluvium towards the Guadalquivir River.
Some of the notable wineries include Bodegas Oliveros, Bodegas Sauci, and Bodega Privilegio del Condado.
Merlot, Syrah, Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc.
Zalema, Palomino, Listán de Huelva, Garrido Fino, Moscatel de Alejandría, Colombard, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pedro Ximénez.
The Granada DOP is in Eastern Andalucía. From 2009 it held the VC appellation, and in 2018 became a DO. The DOP is small, at just 213 ha, and it mainly produces red wines. The average altitude of the vineyards of Granada is about 1,200 m, with soils that are slates and clays. The climate has both Mediterranean and continental influences.
Some of the notable wineries include Bodegas Fontedei, Horacio Calvente Almendros, and Bodega Los Barrancos.
Tempranillo, Garnacha tinta, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Syrah, Pinot Noir, Monastrell, Romé, Petit Verdot.
Vijiriega, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Moscatel de Alejandría, Moscatel de Grano Menudo or Morisca, Pedro Ximénez, Baladí Verdejo, Palomino, Torrontés.
Vijiriega, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Moscatel de Alejandría, Moscatel de Grano Menudo o Morisca, Torrontés.
On the south coast of Spain, by the ancient port city of Cadiz, Jerez DOP takes its name from the nearby city of Jerez de la Frontera. That city is one of the three centres of sherry production along with Sanlúcar de Barrameda, and El Puerto de Santa María, with each producing its own type sherry. The Jerez-Xérès-Sherry DOP is in the top ten producers of Spanish wine by volume, but as its vineyards are high yielding (55 hl/ha) it is only in the top twenty DOPs by hectarage at around 7,000 ha.
The rolling hills are formed of a variety of soils, but the most common, and prized, is the chalky white soil called albariza that absorbs and holds the winter rains, allowing a supply of water during the dry summer months. Barros is another soil richer in clay and humus but of lesser quality for vines, and arenas is a sandy soil. The three main grapes used for sherry production are Palomino / Palomino Fino, Pedro Ximénez, and Moscatel de Alejandría, with Palomino the predominant.
The Atlantic climate is a strong influence on the wine growing in the region, with relatively wet and mild in the winter and spring, and hot in the summer, but the heat is mitigated in the later summer during harvest time by the Atlantic winds. The average winter temperature is 12ºC (53ºF) and summer temperature is 25ºC (77ºF), with annual precipitation of 570 mm (22.4 in).
As a fortified wine, sherry begins its life as a white wine, and then is fortified with grape spirit. By using different grapes to begin with, and also altering various steps in the production, sherry makers can produce different styles of sherry, divided into three main groups – finos (meaning ‘fine’), olorosos (meaning ‘aromatic’), and dulces (meaning ‘sweet’).
The Jerez-Xérès-Sherry DO was formed in 1932, and added two new categories were added to the DO in the last few decades.
- VOS meaning Vinum Optimum Signatum, also bastardised in English as Very Old sherry, for blends over 20 years.
- And VORS meaning Vinum Optimum Rare Signatum, also bastardised in English as Very Rare Old Sherry, for blends over 30 years old.
Some of the notable wineries include Bodegas Osborne, Equipo Navazos, Fernando de Castilla, González Byass Jerez, and Valdespino.
Palomino, Pedro Ximénez, Moscatel de Alejandría, Moscatel de grano menudo.
The Lebrija VC is in Sevilla Province. It was formed in 2010 and to date only contains one winery, Bodegas González Palacios. It is the smallest VC, and second smallest DOP in Spain. Lebrija VC produces fortified wines, red wines, and a minor amount of white wines.
Moscatel de Alejandría, Palomino, Palomino Fino, Sauvignon Blanc.
Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Tempranillo, Merlot, Tintilla de Rota.
Manzanilla Sanlúcar de Barrameda DOP
From 1932 the Manzanilla Sanlúcar de Barrameda DOP was under the DOP of Jerez-Xérès-Sherry, and became its own DOP in 1964. The DOP produces Manzanilla sherry in the town of Sanlúcar de Barrameda. The sherry is typically very pale, light, and dry.
The wineries are Bodegas Barbadillo, Bodegas Barón, Bodegas La Guita, and Bodegas Hidalgo La Gitana.
Palomino, Pedro Ximénez, Moscatel de Grano Menudo, Moscatel de Alejandría
Málaga y Sierras de Málaga DOP
The Málaga wine region was the second largest wine region in Spain in the 19th century. Today it is one of the smallest Spanish DOPs, and one of the top ten Spanish wine appellations. Historically, Málaga produced a dried-grape wine, whereby grapes were picked and sun-dried for one to three weeks to concentrate the sugars. This practice continues to a certain extent today, along with other methods. Málaga DOP was formed as a DO in 1932, and in 2001 the DOP of Sierras de Málaga was introduced, which is in effect a sub-appellation of Málaga DOP.
The soils range from slates on the steep slopes of the Axarquía Mountain, to the red Mediterranean soils with limestone in the northern part. The climate in the northern part consists of a short hot summer, with average rainfall of 500mm. The southern slopes of the Axarquía Mountain is milder and more Mediterranaean due to its protection from the northern winds.
There are four types of Málaga classic wines:
Liqueur wines – 15 to 22% vol.
Natural sweet wines – 15 to 22% vol. made from Moscatel or Pedro Ximénez varieties, from musts with a minimum sugar content of 244 g/l.
Naturally sweet wines – Same as above but over 13% vol. and from musts with 300 g/l.
Still wines – 10 to 15% vol.
Some of the notable wineries include Jorge Ordóñez Málaga, Cortijo Los Aguilares, Compañía de Vinos Telmo Rodríguez, Bodegas Dimobe, and Finca La Melonera.
Red ( Málaga)
Red (Sierras de Málaga)
Romé, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Garnacha Tinta, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Tempranillo, Graciano, Monastrell, Tintilla de rota, Petit Verdot.
Doradilla, Pero Ximén / Pedro Ximénez, Moscatel de Alejandría, Moscatel Morisco / Moscatel de grano menudo.
White (Sierras de Málaga)
Chardonnay, Gewürtztraminer, Riesling, Verdejo, Viognier, Pero Ximen / Pedro Ximénez, Macabeo, Sauvignon Blanc, Colombard, Moscatel de Alejandría, Moscatel Morisco / Moscatel de grano menudo, Lairén, Doradilla.
Montilla – Moriles DOP
Inland from Jerez, and just south of Cordoba the vineyards of Montilla – Moriles cover a small area, owned by just a few dozen wineries. The DO was formed in 1932, and it is today one of Spain’s top ten wine appellations. Most of the wine is consumed nationally, with just 10% exported. The vineyards are found in the lowlands, with the higher quality vines grown on the arid limestone hills in the upper region. There, the better soils are similar to the chalky soils of nearby jerez, while the lowlands comprise sandy soils. The climate is semi-continental Mediterranean, with short winters and long, hot, dry summers.
The majority of wines produced are fortified and unfortified sherry-style wines, with the native grape of Pedro Ximénez dominating. The region is most famous for its sweet, white dessert wines. The traditional method of wine making begins with the first fermentation in small clay jars, and once finished, they begin a second fermentation like the sherries of Jerez. The wines are graded similarly to sherries:
Finos – pale, dry, slightly bitter, with a range of 15-17 alcohol.
Finos-olorosos – corresponds to the amontillado style of sherry. Smooth, but with less body, and dark yellow or dark golden colour.
Olorosos – More body, and slightly sweeter, very aromatic, with a range of 15-17 alcohol.
Dulces – Similar to the Pedro Ximénez, the wines have a minimum of 16 alcohol.
Some of the notable wineries include Alvear, Bodegas Delgado, Pérez Barquero, La Inglesa S.A. and Equipo Navazos.
Sauvignon Blanc, Baladí Verdejo, Pedro Ximénez, Moscatel de Grano Menudo, Moscatel de Alejandría, Macabeo, Torrontés, Verdejo, Chardonnay, Lairén.
|Type||Name||Vintners||Vineyards (ha)||Production (hl)||hl/ha|
|DOP||Condado de Huelva||1,336||2,384||77,431||32|
|DOP||Jerez-Xérès-Sherry y Manzanilla S.B. (1)||1,642||6,989||384,350||55|
|DOP||Málaga y Sierras de Málaga (2)||488||996||11,602||12|
Table 5. Andalusian Wine Region, 2016 / 2017 ProductionAndalusian Region. Statistics for 2016 / 2017 Season per DOP, and VC. Land under cultivation by hectare; Production by hectolitre; Quantity of wine produced per hectare. (1) Jerez-Xérès-Sherry DOP and Manzanilla Sanlúcar de Barrameda DOP shown together. (2) Málaga DOP y Sierras de Málaga DOP shown together. (3) Granada was upgraded from VC to DO in 2018
|DOP||Condado de Huelva||63%||-||2%||36%||100,679|
|DOP||Jerez-Xérès-Sherry y Manzanilla S.B. (1)||-||-||-||100%||264,341|
|DOP||Málaga y Sierras de Málaga (2)||9%||1%||16%||74%||31,547|
Table 6. Andalusian Wine Region, by wine type and salesAndalusian Wine Region. Statistics for 2016 / 2017 Season per DOP, and VC. Total volume sold by hectolitre, and percent of type of wine sold. (1) Jerez-Xérès-Sherry DOP and Manzanilla Sanlúcar de Barrameda DOP shown together. (2) Málaga DOP y Sierras de Málaga DOP shown together. (3) Granada was upgraded from VC to DO in 2018
Aragonese Wine Region
The Aragonese wine region is formed by Aragón’s three provinces of Huesca, Teruel, and Zaragoza, with the majority of the vineyards located to the south of the Ebro as it cuts across Aragón on its way to the Mediterranean. All of the vineyards are within the Ebro Basin, and lie between 200 and 400 m, and protected from the wetter Atlantic conditions by the Cantabrian Mountains to the north, and from the Mediterranean climate by the range of mountains bordering Catalonia to the east and south.
The resultant climate is a Continental climate of extremes – hot summers with an average temperature of 35 C and cold winters with an average of 5 C, with little rain (300 mm per year). Together, these provide aptly suitable conditions for grape maturation, producing robust, high alcohol, and high quality wines.
The origins of wine cultivation are traced back to Roman times if not earlier. With a fall off in production during the centuries of Moorish rule in the region, the Christian reconquest of the lands saw an increase in vine cultivation. In the medieval period, the monasteries were important centres of wine production.
Aragón is the claimed home of the red grape variety Garnacha (Grenache), one of the ‘noble grapes’, and the claimed home of Parellada the white grape variety that is one of the trinity of grapes for Cava. The above maps demonstrate the dominance Garnacha in the Aragonese wines.
The Aragonese wine region has four DOs and one VP.
The Calatayud DOP was formed in 1990, making it the youngest of Aragón’s DOs. It is in the western part of the province of Zaragoza, in the foothills of the Sistema Ibérico mountains, marked by the river network of different tributaries of the Ebro: Jalón, Jiloca, Manubles, Mesa, Piedra and Ribota. Most (85%) of its wines are consumed domestically.
The area is the most rugged in Aragón and the vineyards lie between 550 m and 880 m. The soils in general have a high lime content and low nutrients, and are formed by scree coming from the nearby mountain ranges and accompanied, in many cases, by reddish clays.
The climate is semi-arid and dry, although cooler than Cariñena and Borja, with cold winters, and an average annual temperature between 12 and 14 ° C. A period of frost between five and seven months has an important impact on the production. Rainfall ranges from 300-550 mm annually.
Some of the notable wineries include Bodegas Ateca, Bodegas Breca, Bodegas Langa, Bodegas San Alejandro, Galgo Wines, and Pagos Altos de Acered.
Garnacha Tinta, Tempranillo, Mazuela, Monastrell, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Bobal, Syrah.
Macabeo, Malvasía, Moscatel de Alejandría, Garnacha Blanca, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Gewürztraminer.
Campo de Borja DOP
The Campo de Borja DOP is to the northwest of Zaragoza, Aragón’s capital, and lies in a transition zone between the Ebro Valley and the Sistema Ibérico mountain range. The DO was formed in 1977. While its hectarage is not particularly high, its relatively high yield entails that Campo de Borja is in the top twenty Spanish DOPs for wine production by volume (248,509 hl). The international market accounts for 70% of its wine sales.
The vineyards are found between 350 m to 700 m on rolling hills and terraces on the foothills of the Moncayo Mountain. The soils range from limestone soils in the lower valley, to stoney clays in the middle and upper altitudes. The continental climate is quite extreme, with cold winters and hot, dry summers, with average rainfall between 350 to 450 mm. The ‘Cierzo’, a cold and dry northwesterly wind plays a large part of the growing conditions.
Campo de Borja is noted mostly for its red wines, with Garnacha dominating, and it also produces some rosés and whites, and small amounts of Cava and liqueur wines (muscatels and mistelas).
Some of the notable wineries are Bodegas Alto Moncayo, Bodegas Aragonesas, Bodegas Santo Cristo, and Pagos del Moncayo.
Garnacha, Tempranillo, Mazuela, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah.
Macabeo, Garnacha Blanca, Chardonnay, Moscatel, Sauvignon Blanc, Verdejo.
The Cariñena DOP is in the Ebro Valley to the southwest of Zaragoza. The DO was first formed in 1932. The name Cariñena comes from the village of Cariñena in the heart of the wine region, and also the old name of the grape variety called Carignan in French and now officially called Mazuela in Spanish.
The Cariñena DOP mainly produces red wines with Garnacha, and the traditional variety of Cariñena / Mazuela has lost importance. It has high yielding vineyards (47 hl/ha), and by volume Cariñena DOP is the sixth largest DOP in Spain at 642,055 hl. International exports account for 68% of the Cariñena DOP’s wine sales.
The vineyards are found between 400 and 800 m. The soils are mostly poor; they can be brown-limestone or reddish brown limestone over a subsoil of gravels from the Sistema Ibérico mountain range, or brown soils of alluvial deposits. The region has a Continental type climate, with cold winters, hot summers and low rainfall rates. Viticulture is also marked by the effect of the ‘Cierzo’ winds.
Some of the notable wineries are Bioenos, Bodegas Care, Dominio de Longaz, Bodegas Solar de Urbezo, and Grandes Vinos.
Preferred : Garnacha, Tempranillo, Mazuela, Cabernet, Merlot, Syrah.
Authorised: Juan Ibañez, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, Monastrell, Vidadillo.
Authorized: Garnacha Blanca, Moscatel de Alejandría, Parellada, Chardonnay.
The Somontano DOP lies to the northeast of Zaragoza, mainly in the comarca of Somontano in the foothills of the Pyrenees. The DO was formed in 1984. While the Somontano DOP is not particularly large, it’s high yielding vineyards (47 hl/ha) entail that it’s in the top twenty Spanish DOPs by hectolitre. The majority of the wines produced are reds, made with Moristel and Tempranillo. The whites traditionally use Macabeo, and Chardonnay is becoming more popular. International exports account for 25% of the Somontano DOP’s wine sales.
The soils are mainly brown-limestone, with low fertility and good drainage. The climate is characterised by cold winters and hot summers, with an average annual rainfall of 500 mm with rainfall decreasing from the north to the south and from the west to the east of the DOP.
Some of the notable wineries include Blecua, Bodegas El Grillo y La Luna, Bodegas Obergo, Enate, and Viñas del Vero.
Cabernet Sauvignon, Garnacha Tinta, Merlot, Moristel, Parraleta, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Tempranillo.
Alcañón, Chardonnay, Garnacha Blanca, Gewürztraminer, Macabeo, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc.
Vino de Pago
Aylés Vino de Pago is the one VP in the Aragonese wine region.
|Type||Name||Vintners||Vineyards (ha)||Production (hl)||hl/ha|
|DOP||Campo de Borja||1,150||6,242||248,509||40|
Table 7. Aragonese Wine Region, 2016 / 2017 ProductionAragonese Wine Region. Statistics for 2016 / 2017 Season per DOP, VP, and VC. Land under cultivation by hectare; Production by hectolitre; Quantity of wine produced per hectare.
|DOP||Campo de Borja||7%||10%||82%||155,354|
Table 8. Aragonese Wine Region, by wine type and salesAragonese Wine Region. Statistics for 2016 / 2017 Season per DOP, VP, and VC. Total volume sold by hectolitre, and percent of type of wine sold.
Balearics Wine Region
The Balearics wine region is the second smallest of the 12 Spanish regions at just over 1,000 ha of vineyards growing on the four islands of Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza, and Formentera. Only the largest island of Mallorca has DO vineyards.
The Balearics wine region has two DOs.
The Binissalem DOP is in the central area of the island of Mallorca. The DO was formed in 1990. The international market makes up just 14% of the wine sales. The climate is a Mediterranean climate with dry and hot summers and short winters. The average annual rainfall is around 450 mm. The soils are formed by sands, limestones and clays on subsoils of clays and marls.
Some notable wineries include Bodega Biniagual, Bodegas José L. Ferrer, Jaume de Puntiró, Vins Nadal, and Vinyes i Vins Ca Sa Padrina.
Manto Negro, Callet, Tempranillo, Syrah, Monastrell, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Gorgollassa, Giró Ros.
Moll or Prensal Blanc, Macabeo, Parellada, Moscatel de Alejandría, Moscatel de Grano Menudo, Chardonnay.
Pla i Levant DOP
The Pla i Levant DOP is located in the eastern part of Mallorca. The DO was formed in 2001. The international market accounts for just 10% of the wine sales. The climate is a Mediterranean climate, with dry and hot summers and slightly cold winters. The sea breeze during the summer has an important influence on the vineyards near the coast. The average annual rainfall is between 450 and 500 mm. The soil is formed by limestone bedrock that form limestone-clay soils.
Some notable wineries include Armero i Adrover Vinicultors, Bodegas Pere Seda, Miquel Oliver Vinyes i Bodegues, and Vins Miquel Gelabert.
Callet, Manto Negro, Fogoneu, Tempranillo, Monastrell, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah.
Prensal Blanc, Macabeo, Parellada, Moscatel, Chardonnay.
|Type||Name||Vintners||Vineyards (ha)||Production (hl)||hl/ha|
|DOP||Pla i Llevant||70||439||15,189||35|
Table 9. Balearics Wine Region, 2016 / 2017 ProductionBalearics Wine Region. Statistics for 2016 / 2017 Season per DOP, VP, and VC. Land under cultivation by hectare; Production by hectolitre; Quantity of wine produced per hectare.
|DOP||Pla i Llevant||39%||18%||43%||-||13,777|
Table 10. Balearics Wine Region, by wine type and salesBalearics Wine Region. Statistics for 2016 / 2017 Season per DOP, VP, and VC. Total volume sold by hectolitre, and percent of type of wine sold.
Canarian Wine Region
The Canarian wine region is the third smallest of the 12 Spanish regions at just under 6,000 ha of vineyards growing on five islands of the Canaries. The wines from the Canaries are especially known for their Malvasías, the sweet wines. The distinctively black volcanic soils are sometimes sheltered with small walls to retain moisture, forming very distinct vineyards.
In total the four Canarian islands of El Hierro, Gran Canaria, La Palma, and Lanzarote have 10 DOs.
The Abona DOP is in the southern part of the island of Tenerife, with vineyards from the slopes of Mount Teide volcano to the coast. The DO was formed in 1996. The domestic market consumes 100% of the wine.
The vineyards are located at altitudes ranging from 300 to 1,750 m with harvest dates varying from the beginning of August to October. The soils on the lower sections are sandy and calcareous soils and the highlands are clay and well-drained soils, due to their volcanic influence. Soils called “jable” are typical that is a fine whitish volcanic sand that the local winemakers cover the vineyards to retain moisture and suppress weeds. The climate is a Mediterranean climate on the coast, and cooler moving inland due to the influence of the trade winds. The annual rainfall ranges between 350 mm on the coast and 550 mm inland.
Notable wineries include Altos de Trevejos, Bodega Frontos, and Soc. Cooperativa Cumbres de Abona.
Bastardo Negro, Listán Negro, Listán Prieto, Malvasía Rosada, Moscatel Negro, Negramoll, Tintilla, Vijariego Negro, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Ruby Cabernet, Syrah, Tempranillo, Castellana Negra.
Bastardo Blanco, Bermejuela, Forastera Blanca, Gual, Listán blanco de Canarias, Malvasía Aromática, Malvasía Volcánica, Moscatel de Alejandría, Pedro Ximénez, Sabro, Torrontés, Verdello, Vijariego, Albillo, Doradilla.
El Hierro DOP
El Hierro DOP is on the Canarian Island of El Hierro and effectively covers the whole island, and is the second smallest Canarian DOP by hectarage. It was formed as a DO in 1995. The international market accounts for only 5% of the wine sales. Traditionally the vineyards were in the upper reaches of the mountain, but they have expanded to the lower altitudes. The climate is mild with little rainfall, and with increasing humidity with height in the mountain. The soils are volcanic with good water retention and storage.
Notable wineries include Sdad. Cooperativa del Campo Frontera – Vinícola Insular.
Bastardo Negro, Listán Negro, Negramoll, Tintilla, Vijariego Negro.
Bastardo Blanco, Bermajuelo, Burrablanca, Gual, Listán Blanco de Canarias, Malvasía Aromática, Malvasía Volcánica, Moscatel de Alejandría, Pedro Ximénez, Vijariego.
Gran Canaria DOP
The Gran Canaria DOP is amongst the smallest DOPs of the Canary Islands, and was formed as a DO in 2009. The DOP covers the entire island, with vineyards found from close to sea level to up to 1,500 m in the mountain on the volcanic soils. The climate is influenced by trade winds, especially at higher elevations. The differences in altitude give rise to diverse microclimates that create specific characteristics for the cultivation of the vine.
Notable wineries include Bentayga, Bodegas Tunte, and Vega de Gáldar.
Preferred: Listán Negro, Negramoll, Tintilla, Malvasía Rosada.
Authorised: Moscatel Negro / Listán Prieto.
Preferred: Malvasía Volcánica, Gual, Marmajuelo or Bermajuela, Vijariego Blanco, Albillo, Moscatel de Alejandría.
Authorised: Listán Blanca, Burrablanca, Torrontés, Breval Blanca, Pedro Ximénez.
La Gomera DOP
La Gomera DOP is the smallest of the Canarian DOPs by hectarage, and the smallest in Spain by hectolitre at just 469 hl. It was formed as a DO in 2009.
Castellana Negra, Listán Negro, Malvasía Rosada, Negramoll, Listán Prieto, Tintilla, Bastardo Tinto, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Ruby Cabernet, Syrah, Tempranillo, Vijariego Negro, Merlot, Moscatel Negro.
Albillo, Bermejuela, Forastera Blanca, Gual, Doradilla, Malvasía Volcánica, Malvasía Aromática, Moscatel de Alejandría, Sabro, Verdello, Vijariego, Breval, Listan blanco, Pedro Ximénez, Bastardo Blanco, Torrontés.
La Palma DOP
La Palma DOP covers the entire Canarian island with vineyards from sea level to 2,400 m, and the mountainous island has many micro-topographies and microclimates. It was formed as a DO in 1994. Half of the wines produced are red, and a characteristic red wine is the “vino de tea” made with Negramoll grape and aged in barrels of Canarian oak called ‘tea’. The international market accounts for just 1% of the wine sales.
Notable wineries include Bodegas Llanovid (Teneguía), Llanovid, S.C.L. (LLanos Negros), Victoria Torres Pecis.
Listán Negro, Bastardo Tinto, Malvasía Rosada, Moscatel Negro, Listán Prieto, Negramoll, Tintilla, Vijariego, Cabernet Sauvignon, Castellana Negra.
Albillo Criollo, Bastardo Blanco, Bermejuela, Vijariego, Doradilla, Burrablanca, Forastera Blanca, Gual, Listán Blanco, Malvasía Aromática, Moscatel de Alejandría, Pedro Ximénez, Sabro, Torrontés, Verdello.
The Lanzarote DOP is the largest of the Canarian DOP by hectarage. It was formed as a DO in 1994. Lanzarote has a dry sub-tropical climate with just 200 mm rainfall annually. The island is relatively flat – max. altitude of 670 m). The soils are the volcanic soils that excel at water retention. Most of the vineyards are grown in “hoyos”, semicircular walls to protect the vines from the winds. This entails that the yield per hectare of 2 hl/ha is the lowest of the Canarian DOPs, and amongst the lowest in Spain.
Some notable wineries are Bodega Vulcano de Lanzarote, BTL Lanzarote (Bodega Stratvs), El Grifo, and Los Bermejos.
Preferred: Listán Negra / Almuñeco, Negramoll / Mulata, Malvasía Rosada, Tintilla.
Authorised: Bastardo Negro / Baboso Negro, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Moscatel Negro, Pinot Noir, Ruby Cabernet, Syrah, Tempranillo, Vijariego Negro.
Preferred: Malvasía Volcánica, Moscatel de Alejandría, Vijariego / Diego, Albillo, Gual, Verdello.
Authorised: Listán blanco, Burrablanca, Breval, Pedro Ximénez, Torrontés.
The Tacoronte-Acentejo DOP on the northern slope of Tenerife is the second largest DOP of the Canary Islands by hectarage and the largest by volume. It was the first DO of the Canary Islands, formed in 1992. The international market accounts for just 1% of the wine sales. The climate is Atlantic, with the topography creating many microclimates. Rainfall is scarce, but the trade winds provide relatively high humidity.
Notable wineries include Bodega Domínguez Cuarta Generación, Bodegas Cráter, Bodegas Insulares Tenerife, Cándido Hernández Pío, and LoHer Lorenzo Pedro Hernández Martín.
Listán Negro, Negramoll, Tintilla, Malvasía Rosada, Castellana Negra, Moscatel Negro, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Ruby Cabernet, Syrah, Tempranillo, Bastardo Tinto, Listán Prieto, Vijariego Negro.
Gual, Malvasía Volcánica, Malvasía Aromática, Doradilla, Bermejuela, Verdello, Moscatel de Alejandría, Vijariego, Forastera Blanca, Albillo, Sabro, Listán Blanca, Pedro Ximénez, Torrontés, Bastardo Blanco, Breval, Burrablanca.
Valle de Güímar DOP
The Valle de Güímar DOP is a small DO on the southeast of Tenerife Island, formed in 1996. The vineyards grow on the slopes from close to sea level to the heights of 1,400 m giving many microclimates. The vines grow in traditional rows along borders of vegetable plots and also in canopied trellises. The soil is the typical volcanic soil of the island.
Some notable wineries are Cándido Hernández Pío, Juan Francisco Fariña Pérez, and Viña Gómez.
Castellana Negra, Listán Negro / Almuñeco, Malvasía Rosada, Negramoll / Mulata, Tintilla, Bastardo Negro / Baboso Negro, Cabernet Sauvignon, Listán Prieto, Merlot, Moscatel Negro, Pinot Noir, Ruby Cabernet, Syrah, Tempranillo, Vijariego Negro.
Albillo, Bermejuela / Marmajuelo, Forastera Blanca, Doradilla, Gual, Malvasía Volcánica, Malvasía Aromática, Moscatel de Alejandría, Sabro, Verdello, Vijariego / Diego, Burrablanca, Breval, Listán Blanco, Pedro Ximénez, Bastardo Blanco, Torrontés.
Valle de la Orotava DOP
The Valle de la Orotava DOP is located in northern Tenerife, and was formed in 1995. The international market accounts for 21% of the DOP’s wine sales. The climate is Atlantic, with the humidity helping to compensate for scarce rainfall. The vineyards are found between 250 and 750 m in elevation and the soils are volcanic.
Notable wineries include Bodega Tajinaste, Suertes del Marqués, La Haya, and Bodegas El Penitente.
Preferred: Castellana Negra, Listán Negro / Almuñeco, Malvasía Rosada, Negramoll, Tintilla.
Authorised: Bastardo Negro / Baboso Negro, Cabernet Sauvignon, Listán Prieto, Merlot, Moscatel Negro, Pinot Noir, Ruby Cabernet, Syrah, Tempranillo, Vijariego Negro.
Preferred: Albillo, Bermejuela / Marmajuelo, Forastera Blanca, Doradilla, Gual, Malvasía Volcánica, Malvasía Aromática, Moscatel de Alejandría, Sabro, Verdello, Vijariego / Diego.
Authorised: Bastardo Blanco / Baboso Blanco, Breval, Burrablanca, Listán Blanco, Pedro Ximénez, Torrontés.
The Ycoden-Daute-Isora DOP is located in the northwest part of Tenerife and is the second smallest Canarian DOP by volume produced. It was formed as a DO in 1994. The international market accounts for 15% of the DOP’s wine sales. The vineyards range from 50 to 1,400 m in altitude, resulting in a myriad of micro-topographies and microclimates. In general it has a Mediterranean climate with around 500 mm rainfall annually. The soils are clayey at lower elevations and ashes and volcanic rocks at higher elevations.
Notable wineries include Bodegas Insulares Tenerife S.A. and Envinate.
Tintilla, Listán Negro, Malvasía Rosada, Negramoll, Castellana, Baboso Negro, Bastardo Negro, Moscatel Negro, Vijariego Negra.
Bermejuelo / Marmajuelo, Gual, Malvasía Volcánica, Malvasía Aromática, Moscatel de Alejandría, Pedro Ximénez, Verdello, Vijariego, Albillo, Baboso Blanco, Bastardo Blanco, Forastera Blanca, Listán Blanca, Sabro, Torrontés.
|Type||Name||Vintners||Vineyards (ha)||Production (hl)||hl/ha|
|DOP||Valle de Güímar||319||160||1,449||9|
|DOP||Valle de la Orotava||608||329||2,140||7|
Table 11. Canarian Wine Region, 2016 / 2017 ProductionCanarian Wine Region. Statistics for 2016 / 2017 Season per DOP, VP, and VC. Land under cultivation by hectare; Production by hectolitre; Quantity of wine produced per hectare.
|DOP||Valle de Güímar||88%||4%||6%||-||3%||1,791|
|DOP||Valle de la Orotava||34%||6%||60%||-||-||3,289|
Table 12. Canarian Wine Region, by wine type and salesCanarian Wine Region. Statistics for 2016 / 2017 Season per DOP, VP, and VC. Total volume sold by hectolitre, and percent of type of wine sold.
The Cantabrian wine region comprises the three Northern Spanish autonomous regions of the Asturias, Cantabria, and the Basque Country. It is the smallest wine region in Spain with less than 1,000 hectares. The wine region lies between the Cantabrian mountain range and the Cantabrian Sea, the coastal sea of the Atlantic Ocean. The region’s climatic conditions of humidity, high rainfall (more than 1,300 mm annually), and relatively cold conditions hampers good grape maturation. While the wine region runs from the Asturies in the west to the Basque Country in the East, the region’s three DOs are all from the eastern Basque Country, and the region’s one VC is from the Asturias.
The Cantabrian wine region holds three DOs and one VC.
Chacolí de Álava – Arabako Txacolina DOP
The Chacolí de Álava – Arabako Txacolina DOP is in the northwestern area of Álava Province and in the Nervión river basin, and is the smallest of the region’s DOs. It was formed as a DO in 2002. The international market accounts for 21% of the wine sales.
Similar to DOP Bizkaiko Txakolina, the climate is determined by the Cantabrian maritime influence, but somewhat less humid and drier and cooler than Bizkaiko Txakolina. The wines are primarily whites, with some sparkling wines.
Notable wineries include Bat Gara and Vintae / Atlantis.
Hondarribi Zuri, Gros Manseng, Petit Manseng, Petit Courbu, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Chardonnay.
Chacolí de Bizkaia – Bizkaiko Txacolina DOP
The Chacolí de Bizkaia – Bizkaiko Txacolina DOP is the Vizcaya Province and is the largest DO in the Basque Country by volume of wine produced. The DO was formed in 1994. The international market accounts for just 3% of the wine sales. The climate is quite humid and temperate due to the influence of the Cantabrian Sea. Precipitation is abundant with 1,300 mm annual rainfall. The soils are generally clays with quite high organic content.
Notable wineries include Bodegas Itsasmendi, Doniene Gorrondona Txakolina, Gorka Izagirre, Oxer Wines, and Virgen de Lorea.
Ondarrabi Beltza / Hondarrabi Beltza.
Preferred: Ondarrabi Zuri / Hondarribi Zuri.
Authorised: Ondarrabi Zuri Zerratia / Petit Courbu, Mune Mahatsa / Folle Blanche, Izkiriota / Gros Manseng, Izkiriota Ttippia /Petit Manseng, Sauvignon blanc, Riesling, Chardonnay.
Chacolí de Getaria – Getariako Txacolina DOP
The Chacolí de Getaria – Getariako Txacolina DOP is in the Gipuzkoa Province of the Basque Country and is the wine region’s largest DOP by hectarage. It is the oldest Basque DO, formed in 1990. The international market accounts for 7% of the DOP’s wine sales. The climate is dominated by its maritime location with mild temperatures and high rainfall of around 1,600 mm annually. The vineyards are located in small valleys and gentle hills that can reach 200 m altitude, and rests on organic rich soils on limestone.
Preferred: Ondarrabi Beltza.
Preferred: Ondarrabi Zuri
Authorised: Ondarrabi Zuri Zerratia / Petit Courbu, Izkiriota / Gros Manseng, Riesling, Chardonnay.
The Cangas VC was formed in 2009. Located in the southwest of the Asturias, this part of the Asturias has less rainfall and more hours of sunshine than the rest of Asturias, allowing a wine region to thrive. The vineyards grow on siliceous, slate soils and very loose sand. The wines are primarily red wines.
Preferred: Garnacha Tintorera, Mencía , Verdejo Negro.
Authorised: Albarín Negro, Carrasquín, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Syrah.
Preferred: Albarín blanco, Albillo, Picapoll Blanco.
Authorised: Godello, Gewürztraminer, Moscatel de Grado Menudo.
|Type||Name||Vintners||Vineyards (ha)||Production (hl)||hl/ha|
|DOP||Chacolí de Álava||39||95||4,592||48|
|DOP||Chacolí de Bizkaia||210||403||18,062||45|
|DOP||Chacolí de Getaria||103||427||15,143||35|
Table 13. Cantabrian Wine Region, 2016 / 2017 ProductionCantabrian Wine Region. Statistics for 2016 / 2017 Season per DOP, VP, and VC. Land under cultivation by hectare; Production by hectolitre; Quantity of wine produced per hectare.
|DOP||Chacolí de Álava||93%||-||-||7%||2,539|
|DOP||Chacolí de Bizkaia||99%||-||1%||-||15,709|
|DOP||Chacolí de Getaria||93%||7%||-||-||23,921|
Table 14. Cantabrian Wine Region, by wine type and salesCantabrian Wine Region. Statistics for 2016 / 2017 Season per DOP, VP, and VC. Total volume sold by hectolitre, and percent of type of wine sold.
To learn more about the wines of Spain, take a look at Guide to the wine grape varieties in Spain, or book a private tour of one our wine tours that cover the three most important wine regions in Catalonia – the Priorat, the Cava (Spanish Champagne) of the Penedès, and Empordà.
Grupo Peñín, 2019. Peñín guide to Spanish wine 2020.
Ibar, L., 2011. La ruta del vino español. De Vecchi, Barcelona.
Ministerio de Agricultura, Pesca y Alimentación. 2019. https://www.mapa.gob.es/es/ministerio/default.aspx
Robinson, J., Harding, J., Vouillamoz, J., 2013. Wine grapes: a complete guide to 1,368 vine varieties, including their origins and flavours. Penguin UK.
Robinson, J., Harding, J. 2015. The Oxford Companion to Wine. OUP. Oxford. 4th ed.
Rodríguez-Torres, I. 2017. Variedades de vid cultivadas en Canarias. Instituto Canario de Investigaciones Agrarias (ICIA).
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