Guide to the wine regions of Spain, part 2

The wine regions of Spain

Our guide to the wine regions of Spain began in Part 1 covering the wine regions of Alto Ebro including La Rioja, the Andalusian wine region, the Aragonese wine region, the Balearics wine region, the Canarian wine region, and the Cantabrian wine region.

Here in Part 2 we will cover:

The map below shows the locations of the 12 wine regions, as they are divided into the 88 wine appellations called DOPs in Spain. In the Part 1 of our guide to the wine regions of Spain, the map shows the 12 wine regions.

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. This article covers the main quality wine regions that use the DOP appellation, while another of our articles covers the wine production for all of the Spanish appellations.

Wine regions of Spain, listing the DOs / DOPs (Denominación de Origen Protegida), VCs (Vino de Calidad con indicación geográfica), and VPs (Vino de Pago). Main cities and the Spanish Autonomous Regions marked
Wine regions of Spain, listing the DOs / DOPs (Denominación de Origen Protegida), VCs (Vino de Calidad con indicación geográfica), and VPs (Vino de Pago). Main cities and the Spanish Autonomous Regions marked

Catalan Wine Region

Poblet Monastery and vineyards, Catalonia. The Monastery, Reial Monestir de Santa Maria de Poblet in Catalan, is a UNESCO world heritage site
Poblet Monastery and vineyards, Catalonia. The Monastery, Reial Monestir de Santa Maria de Poblet in Catalan, is a UNESCO world heritage site

The Catalan region is highly diverse in terms of topography and climates, allowing the Catalan wine region to excel in growing both world class red grapes for red wines, and white grapes used mainly to produce Cava, the sparking wine of Spain produced with the traditional Champagne method.

Viticulture in Catalonia has deep roots, with its wines celebrated in Roman times and exported around the Roman Empire. The roots go back even further, with pre-Roman archaeology sites in the Penedès region near Barcelona with evidence for wine dating back 2,700 years. This ancient start shows that winemaking, and wine culture, was introduced by the Phoenicians.

As in other wine regions of Spain, the wine trade grew substantially in the medieval period, with the monasteries among the important wine growers – great examples are Cistercian monasteries of Poblet and Santa Creus, and the Priorat – the “Priory” in English – wine region, centred on the Carthusian monastery of Cartoixa d’Escaladei.

A second growth spurt took place at the end of the 17th century when a large increase of vineyards fed a burgeoning industry for making and exporting of wine and spirits (distillates) to Britain and northern Europe. This began the new phenomenon of intensive cultivation geared towards commercial production and exportation of wines and spirits from Catalonia.

This was helped along in the late 18th century by King Charles III’s opening up of the markets in the Americas that had previously been controlled by the southern port of Cadiz. This trade liberalisation allowed Catalan ports to dramatically increase exports, especially wine spirits. Land for vineyards was in high demand, and vineyards spread across the territory, into the hills and forests that could only produce low yields, but nevertheless were profitable. By the late 18th century, wine and wine spirits accounted for 30% of the region’s exports, and comarcas (counties) such as Penedès and Camp de Tarragona had become monocultures.

A third great expansion of vineyards occurred with the invasion of phylloxera in the late 19th century in France that decimated the wine industry there, with vineyards planted across Catalonia, and especially in Tarragona, to provide France with wine. This explosion in viticulture continued until the phylloxera eventually made its way into the vineyards of Catalonia, leading to the widespread abandonment of vineyards, especially in the areas outside the traditional wine growing zones.

In the traditional wine growing zones sucha as the Penedès, Camp de Tarragona, Conca de Barbera, and Alt Emporda, the vineyards were re-planted on American rootstock that helped avoid further decimation by phylloxera. This allowed viticulture to continue and expand in the 20th century.

A critical point in Catalan viticulture was 1872 when Josep Raventós produced the first sparkling wine bottles in Catalonia using the traditional method. used to make the sparkling wine from Champagne. The wineries were centred on the small town of Sant Sadurni d’Anoia in the Penedès, which continues to be the heartland of Catalan, and Spanish, sparkling wines. Originally sold as Champagne, in the 1970s EU regulations would restrict the name Champagne to sparkling wines produced in the Champagne region, and Spanish producers called the Spanish Champagne ‘Cava’ after the Catalan word for wine cellars. The production of Cava would eventually dominate the vineyards of Catalonia, with today 69% of the Catalan wine produced is sparkling wine.

While Cava clearly dominates the Catalan wine region, a very important addition to the wine region was the renaissance of viticulture in the Priorat in southern Catalonia. From the 1970s, the rugged hills of the Priorat were identified as region capable of making superb wines. A group of winemakers thus began to revolutionise the wine making in the area, leading to the Priorat being catapulted to the top of the wine world in the early 1990s, and becoming only the second Spanish DOP to receive the denomination of DOCa (called DOQ in Catalan).

DOP Appellations

The Catalan wine region has one DOCa, the Priorat, and eleven DOs.

Alella DOP

The Alella DOP lies to the north of Barcelona city and is one of Spain’s smallest DOPs. It was formed as a DO in 1932. The climate is a typical Mediterranean climate with mild winters and warm, dry summers. The hill range protects it from northern winds and helps condense moisture from the nearby sea.

On the interior slopes of the hills the soils are clays, while closer to the coast the are very white soils with high permeability and great capacity to retain the sun’s rays, which helps with the ripening of the grapes.

Notable wineries are Alella Vinícola, Alta Alella, and Raventos D’Alella.

Authorised Varieties

Red

Preferred: Garnatxa Negra.

Authorised: Cabernet Sauvignon, Garnatxa Peluda, Merlot, Monastrell, Pinot Noir, Samsó, Sumoll Negre, Sirah, Ull de Llibre.

White

Preferred: Garnatxa Blanca, Pansa Blanca, Moscatell.

Authorised: Chardonnay, Chenin, Macabeu, Malvasía, Moscatell gra menut, ParelladaPicapoll Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc.

Catalunya DOP

The Catalunya DOP is the largest DOP in Catalonia and the third largest in Spain by hectarage. The DOP was set up in the 2001 to cover high quality wineries in Catalonia that were otherwise outside the traditional DOPs of the region, and to allow the mixing of grapes from other DOPs. As Robinson and Harding note, this was a controversial move for a DOP, and the large bottlers such as Torres were both the chief proponents and beneficiaries of the DOP rules. The umbrella nature and wide geographical spread of the DOP is demonstrated by the long list of authorised white and red grape varieties. About half of the wines produced are white, made primarily with native Catalan grapes of Macabeu, Parellada, and Xarel·lo. The international market accounts for 53% of the wine sales.

Some notable wineries include Bodegas Puiggròs, Ca N’Estruc, Can Grau Vell, Mas Gil SLU (Bodegas Clos d’Agon), Sant Josep Vinos, and Vins de Taller.

Authorised Varieties

Red

Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Garnatxa Negra, Garnatxa Peluda, Garnatxa Roja (Garnatxa Gris), Garnatxa tintorera, Merlot, Monastrell, Petit Verdot, Picapoll Negre, Pinot Noir, Samsó / Carinyena, Sumoll, Sirah, Trepat, Ull de llebre, Xarel·lo Vermell.

White

Albarinho, Chardonnay, Chenin, Garnatxa Blanca, Gewürtztraminer, Macabeu, Malvasía, Malvasía de Sitges, Moscatell d’Alejandria, Moscatel de Frontignan, Parellada, Pedro Ximénez, Picapoll Blanc, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Sumoll Blanc, Viognier, Vinyater, Xarel·lo.

Cava DOP

The Cava DOP was formed as a DO in 1986. While the DOP is in fact supra-regional and also made in Aragón, The Basque Country, Navarra, Rioja, and Valencia, 95% is made in Catalonia so it is described here in the Catalan wine region section. The international market accounts for 63% of the Cava DOPs wine sales.

As noted above, the introduction to Spain of the traditional method for making sparkling wines was by Josep Raventós in 1872, to the Penedès in Catalonia. Thus began the tradition of Spanish Champagne, christened Cava, Catalan for cellar, in the 1970s after EU regulations restricted the name Champagne.

The trinity of grapes used for Cava is Macabeo originating in the Penedès region; Parellada, native to the neighbouring province of Aragón; and Xarel·lo, also originating in the Penedès. Other white varieties such as Chardonnay and Malvasía / Subirat Parent are also permitted, as are red varieties of Garnatxa Tinta, Monastrell, Pinot Noir, Trepat.

In recent years, the best Cavas have been produced by smaller wineries, and to avoid been lumped with lesser quality Cavas, many of the wineries have abandoned the Cava DOP. They joined the Penedès DOP, selling their sparkling wine under the label of “Classic Penedès” rather than Cava. Another more recent split is that a number of the top producers of Catalan Cava have again removed themselves from the DOPs of Cava and Penedès and the label “Classic Penedès”, and are selling their sparkling wines from the Penedès as “Corpinnat”, with the possibility that they will eventually set up a new DOP with their own stringent regulations for this grouping.

Some of the notable Cava DOP wineries include Parés Baltà, Codorniu, Pere Ventura, Juvé & Camps, and Alta Alella.

Authorised Varieties

Red

Garnatxa Negra, Monastrell, Pinot Noir, Trepat.

White

Macabeu / Viura, Xarel·lo, Parellada, Malvasía / Subirat Parent, Chardonnay.

Conca de Barberà DOP

The Conca de Barberà DOP is in the north part of Tarragona Province. The DOP produces a wide range of wines from reds, whites, rosés, and semi-sparkling wines, but is known especially for red wines made with the native grape Trepat. The international market accounts for 23% of the wine sales.

The history of viticulture goes back to the Roman period, but the vineyards were abandoned for centuries during the Moorish occupation in the region which ended in the 12th century. The great expansion of the vineyards began in the end the 18th century that continued to the arrival of phylloxera a century later. The DO was formed in 1989.

The climate has both Mediterranean and Continental influences, since the vineyards are in a river valley surrounded by mountain ranges without direct contact with the Mediterranean Sea. The annual rainfall is 450-550 mm. The soils are mostly brown-calcareous with slatey soils (llicorella) found at the foot of the Prades mountains. The vineyards are grown on hillsides protected by forests and important aspect is the altitude (350 to 600 m) that produce wines with a fresh and light character.

Some notable wineries include Abadía de Poblet, Bodega Vega Aixalá, Cara Nord Celler, Celler Carles Andreu, Celler Rendé Masdéu, and Familia Torres.

Authorised Varieties

Red

Trepat, Ull de Llebre, Garnatxa Negra, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Monastrell, Sumoll Negre, Pinot Noir, Syrah.

Rosé

Trepat.

White

Xenin, Sumoll Blanc, Parellada, Macabeu, Garnatxa Blanca, Moscatell de Gra Petit, Chardonnay.

Costers del Segre DOP

The Costers del Segre DOP is in Western Catalonia, along the Segre River Basin. The DO was formed in 1988, and the area is new to viticulture, going back only to the twentieth century. The international market accounts for 23% of the wine sales.

The vineyards are located between 200 and 1100 m asl, and the soil is mainly calcareous sand and granitic soils. The semi-arid zone’s vineyards are reliant on irrigation. The climate is Continental – quite dry in all sub-zones (385 mm per year in Lleida and 450 mm per year in the rest of the zones), with minimum winter temperatures frequently below zero and maximum summer temperatures frequently exceeding 35 C.

Some of the notable wineries are Castell D’Encus, Celler L’Olivera, Cérvoles Celler, Clos Pons, Familia Torres, Lagravera, and Tomás Cusiné.

Authorised Varieties

Red

Garnatxa Negra, Ull de llebre, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Monastrell / Garrut, Trepat, Mazuela / Samsó, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Garnatxa Tintorera, Petit Verdot, Malbec.

White

Macabeu, Xarel·lo, Parellada, Chardonnay, Garnatxa Blanca, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Moscatell de Gra Gran, Moscatell d’Alexandria, Malvasia / Subirat Parent, Gewurztraminer, Albarinho, Chenin, Viognier, Verdejo, Godello.

Empordà DOP

The Empordà DOP, formed as a DO in 1972, is the northeastern part of Catalonia, meeting the border with France. The international market accounts for 23% of the wine sales. The comarca’s name Empordà comes from the ancient Greek port town of Emporiae founded 2,500 years ago, located near to present day Empuries. Emporiae, which gives us the English word emporium was an important trading port along the coast, and the burgeoning wine trade in the region was undoubtedly an important commodity, and demonstrates the ancient roots of viticulture in Empordà.

The DOP is divided into the northern zone, Alt Empordà, on the slopes of the Rodes and Alberes mountains close to the French border, and the southern zone, Baix Empordà, on the slopes of the Gabarres Massif and Montgrí Massif. The vineyards in both zone range from sea level to 260 m asl, with predominantly sandy soils, low in organic matter. In the plain, the soils are predominantly alluvial soils, and in the mountainous areas the soils are slatey and granitic.

The weather is conditioned by the tramontana, a strong north wind that affects the vines beneficially. Otherwise, the winters are mild, with few frosts, and summers hot but moderated by the action of the sea breeze. The annual rainfall is around 600 mm.

Some notable wineries include Celler Cooperatiu D’Espolla, Mas Llunes Vinyes i Cellers, Mas Oller, and Masia Serra.

Authorised Varieties

Red

Recommended: Samsó, Garnatxa Negra / Lledoner Negre.

Authorised: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Monastrell, Ull de llebre, Syrah, Garnatxa Peluda.

White

Recommended: Garnatxa Blanca / Lledoner Blanc, Garnatxa Roja, Macabeu / Viura, Moscatell d’Alexandria.

Authorised: Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Malvasia, Moscatell de Gra Petit, Picapoll Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Xarel·lo.

Montsant DOP

The Montsant DOP, formed as a DO in 2002, is the the northern part of the Priorat comarca and lies to the north of the Priorat DOCa. The international market accounts for 30%. The vineyards are found on the steep slopes of the Montsant Mountain, around 200 – 700 m asl. There are three main soil types: calcareous and compact with pebbles on the borders of the DOP; granitic sands around the town of Falset; and siliceous slates (the same licorellas of the Priorat) around Falset and Cornudella.

Although located close to the Mediterranean Sea, the surrounding mountains of the area isolate it somewhat from the sea, and giving it more of a Continental climate. However, it also receives humid sea winds, which helps compensate for the dry summers. The annual rainfall is 500 – 600 mm.

While the DOP produces white wines, rosés, and liquors, the DOP is most renowned for its red wines, especially using the Garnatxa (Garnacha / Grenache) grape in both varietal and bended wines.

Some of the notable wineries include Acústic Celler, Celler Laurona, Josep Grau Viticultor, Spectacle Vins, and Vinyes Domènech.

Authorised Varieties

Red

Garnatxa Negra, Carinyena, Ull de Llebre, Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon.

White

Garnatxa Blanca, Macabeu, Chardonnay, Moscatell, Xarel·lo.

Penedès DOP

The Penedès DOP, formed as a DO in 1932, is one of Spain’s leading wine DOPs and home to Cava, the Spanish sparkling wine. While geographically the Penedès area is home to Cava, the sparkling wines only account 1% of the DOPs production, that is otherwise dominated by white wines. By hectarage it is in the top ten DOPs of Spain, and in the top twenty by volume of wine produced. The international market accounts for 31% of its wine sales.

Wine growing in the Penedès is amongst the oldest dated in Spain, with archaeology sites such as the Iberian Iron Age Olèrdola town, dating back 2,700 years, to the pre-Roman Iron Age, when the Phoenicians introduced wine culture to the peninsula. Xarel·lo is the most widely planted variety in the Penedès DOP, which is also one of the trinity of grapes used for Cava. In the Penedès DOP wines, Xarel·lo is used as a varietal, blends, and sparkling wines.

The vineyards are nestled between the Catalan Pre-Coastal Mountain Range and the plains along the Mediterranean Sea. The Penedès is divided into three sub-zones: Alt Penedès, inland, with the vineyards on slopes of the regions mountains, characterised by relatively high quality, low yield vineyards; Penedès Central, that accounts for the majority of the region’s total production; and Baix Penedès, comprising mostly low-lying, coastal areas. In general the soils are sandy clays, poor in organic matter, and not very fertile.

The climate is a Mediterranean climate, generally warm and mild; warmer in the Baix Penedès sub-zone, with slightly lower temperatures in the Penedès Central and in the Alt Penedès. Rainfall can be up to 950 mm annually.

Some of the notable wineries of the Penedès DOP are Albet i Noya, Mas Comtal, Parés Baltà, Gramona, and Can Ràfols dels Caus.

Authorised Varieties

Red

Garnatxa, Merlot, Monastrell, Pinot Noir, Samsó / Mazuela, Cabernet Sauvignon, Ull de llebre, Syrah.

White

Macabeu, Xarel·lo, Parellada, Moscatell d’Alejandria, Malvasía de Sitges, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling.

Pla de Bages DOP

The Pla de Bages DOP was formed as a DO in 1997. Located in the Central Catalan Depression to the southwest of Barcelona, it is the seventh smallest mainland Spanish DOP by hectarage and the fifth smallest mainland Spanish DOP by wine volume produced. The international market accounts for 20% of its wine sales.

The soils in the area are loamy clay and calcareous soils, and the climate is a Mediterranean climate with low rainfall of 500-600 mm annually average, with more pronounced thermal oscillations than in the nearby Penedès.

Some notable wineries include Abadal, Celler Grau i Grau, Collbaix – Celler El Molí, and Les Acàcies.

Authorised Varieties

Red

Mandó, Sumoll, Picapoll Negre, Garnatxa Negra, Ull de Llebre, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Syrah.

White

Macabeu / Viura, Parellada, Picapoll Blanc, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Gewurztraminer, Malvasía.

Priorat DOCa / DOQ

The Priorat DOCa / DOQ was formed as a DO in 1932, and promoted to DOCa in 2009. Along with Rioja, is one of the only Spanish appellations to achieve this highest Spanish wine category of DOCa, called DOQ in Catalan. The international market accounts for 52% of the Priorat’s wine sales.

The Priorat DOCa wine region’s roots go back to the pre-Roman period, demonstrated by the Iberian Iron Age hilltop villages in the area that saw the introduction of wine culture to the region almost 3,000 years ago. In the Roman period, the Roman capital of Hispania (effectively half of Spain) was Tarragona, a day’s walk from the Priorat. Therefore, it seems likely that the Priorat helped supply the Roman capital with wine. In the medieval period that greatest landlord, and consequently the largest wine maker, was the Carthusian Monastery of Escaladei founded in the 12th century, from which the region gets the name of Priorat (“Priory”).

The modern renaissance of Priorat wine making began in the 1970’s when various wine makers began making wine in a French style in the region, using the Aragonese grape varieties of Mazuelo / Carignan and Garnacha, along with French varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah. Within a generation, the Priorat was catapulted to the top of the wine world, and the area witnessed an explosion of wineries.

The Priorat DOP is formed around 12 towns and their surrounding vineyards: Bellmunt del Priorat, Gratallops, el Lloar, la Morera de Montsant, Porrera, Poboleda, Scala Dei, Torroja del Priorat, la Vilella Alta and la Vilella Baixa, and the grape growing zones of Masos de Falset and Solanes del Molar.

The Priorat lies close to the Mediterranean Sea, nestled between Montsant Mountain and the Prades Mountains to the north and northeast, and the Serra de Llaberia is a mountain chain to the south. The vineyards are found on terraces and steep slopes in the very rugged terrain. The soils are probably the most distinctive element of the area – the soils are poor and of volcanic constitution, and formed by the crumbling slate bedrock called llicorella in Catalan, that imparts a strong mineral character to the wines.

The climate is Mediterranean, and influenced by the mountain ranges to the north and south. One of the important characteristics is the practical absence of rains during the summer, which favors healthy vineyards. The average annual rainfall is between 500 and 600 mm.

Some of the notable Priorat wineries include Clos de l’Obac, Terroir al Límit, Mas Doix, Clos Mogador, and Mas Martinet.

Authorised Varieties

Red

Preferred: Garnatxa Negra, Carinyena.

Authorised: Garnatxa Peluda, Ull de Llebre, Picapoll Negre, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Syrah.

White

Garnatxa Blanca, Macabeu, Pedro Ximénez, Chenin, Moscatell d’Alejandria, Moscatell de Gra Petit, Pansal / Xarel·lo, Picapoll Blanc, Viognier.

Tarragona DOP

The Tarragona DOP was formed as a DO in 1945. The international market accounts for 20% of the wine sales. The DOP is divided into two subzones: el Camp and Ribera.

In the Roman period Tarragona city was the capital of Roman Hispania, in charge of half of Spain. Tarragona’s (Tarraconense) wines were noted as high quality during the Roman period, and wineries were built near the port of Tarragona, ready for exporting the Tarragona wine to Rome and elsewhere across the Roman Empire.

Today, a lot of the area’s grapes are sold to the neighbouring wineries to make Cava, and in 2002 the Tarragona DOP lost the neighbouring Montsant sub-region, when it formed its own Montsant DOP. What is left of the Tarragona DOP is focused on the traditional wines that are sweet and dry liquors, reds, whites, and rosés.

The soils of el Camp are calcareous, light soils, and the Ribera has calcareous and other alluvial soils. The climate is a Mediterranean type climate in the area of el Camp, with average annual rainfall of 500 mm. The Ribera area enjoys a somewhat more extreme Mediterranean climate with cold winters and hot summers, and lower annual rainfall of less than 400 mm.

Some notable wineries are Bodega Cooperativa Vila-Rodona, Celler Sanromà, De Muller, and Molí de Rué.

Authorised Varieties

Red

Ull de Llebre, Sumoll, Carinyena, Garnatxa Negra, Merlot, Syrah, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon.

White

Macabeu, Cartoixà / Xarel·lo, Parellada, Moscatell Frontignan, Moscatell d’Alexandria, Garnatxa Blanca, Malvasia de Sitges, Subirat Parent / Malvasia, Xarel·lo Vermell, Sumoll Blanc, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Vinyater.

Terra Alta DOP

The Terra Alta DOP, formed as a DO in 1972, is in the southwest of Catalonia within the province of Tarragona. The international market accounts for 60% of the wine sales.

The vineyards are located on an extensive plateau slightly above 400 m asl. The soils are calcareous with a clayey texture, and poor in organic matter. The climate is a Mediterranean climate with Continental influences. It is characterised by its hot, dry summers and very cold winters, especially in the highest areas to the east. The average annual rainfall is 400 mm. Another determining climatic feature is the winds: the Cerç (north-westerly) and the Garbinades (strong southerly winds off the sea) which gives the area’s climate a Continental influence..

Some notable wineries include Altavins, Celler Bàrbara Forés, Celler Piñol, Edetària, and Herència Altés.

Authorised Varieties

Red

Garnatxa Negra, Garnatxa Peluda, Samsó / Mazuela / Carignan, Ull de Llebre, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Garnatxa Tintorera, Syrah.

White

Garnatxa Blanca, Macabeu, Parellada, Sauvignon Blanc, Moscatell de Gra Menut, Moscatell d’Alejandria, Chenin blanc, Pedro Ximénez, Chardonnay.

Catalan Wine Region, 2016 / 2017 Production

TypeNameVintnersVineyards (ha)Production (hl)hl/ha
DOPAlella----
DOPCataluña5,45942,431379,7369
DOPCava6,23633,1101,906,66658
DOPConca de Barberá8074,1856,1721
DOPCosters del Segre5254,08129,8037
DOPEmpordà2871,75635,96520
DOPMontsant8081,84445,54925
DOPPenedés2,40016,637147,1579
DOPPla de Bages824803,6898
DOP / DOCaPriorat5721,97214,4177
DOPTarragona1,4064,87413,2003
DOPTerra Alta1,2426,06655,5869
Total19,824117,4362,637,94014
Catalan 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.
TypeDOPsWhiteRoséRedLiquorSparklingSemi-sparklingOtherTotal (hl)
DOPAlella (1)--------
DOPCataluña49%10%41%----485,491
DOPCava----100%--1,889,520
DOPConca de Barberá32%9%59%--1%-7,394
DOPCosters del Segre37%7%54%-1%--53,050
DOPEmpordà24%15%58%3%<1%--49,542
DOPMontsant6%3%89%1%---46,176
DOPPenedés51%11%35%-1%2%-131,124
DOPPla de Bages27%5%68%----5,502
DOP / DOCaPriorat4%-95%---<1%34,991
DOPTarragona26%4%62%6%2%--12,812
DOPTerra Alta18%10%72%<1%---38,677
Total2,754,279

Central Wine Region

Vineyard near Montes de Toledo, Castilla-La Mancha. Image by Mssoller CC BY 4.0
Vineyard near Montes de Toledo, Castilla-La Mancha. Image by Mssoller CC BY 4.0

The Central wine region, as its name suggests, is found in on the high plateau of central Spain, with its northern borders just below Madrid, and extends eastwards to Valencia, and includes the Autonomous Community of Castilla-La Mancha. The Central wine region is by far the largest wine region by hectarge at 227,373 ha, making it practically twice as large the next largest wine region, the Catalan wine region. But with its low yield of 6 ha/hl due to very wide spacings of vines in the vineyards, it is only the fourth largest DOP by wine volume produced.

The wines are dominated by reds, especially those using Tempranillo (which go under the synonyms of Cencibel and Tinto Fino), and using Bobal and Monastrell varieties towards the east of the region. For its white wines, the region traditionally use Airén, along with minor amounts of Pardillo, Verdejo, Macabeo, and Albillo.

The region is a semi-steppe plateau, with an average altitude of 500 to 800 m, with hot summer, cold winters, and low annual rainfall of about 400 mm that explains the the very low yields obtained from the vines.

DOP Appellations

The Central wine region has nine DOs and eight VPs (Vino de Pago).

Almansa DOP

The Almansa DOP is in the southwest corner of the province of Albacete, the easternmost area of ​​Castilla-La Mancha. With its roots going back to the sixteenth century the area’s vineyards have been a DO since 1966. The majority of the wine produced is red, with the Garnacha Tintorera variety it’s signature grape. The international market accounts for 74% of wine sales.

The area has a Continental type climate, that is somewhat less extreme La Mancha, but with very hot summers as they reach easily 40 ° C. Precipitation, on the other hand, is scarce at around 350 mm annually. The vineyard sits at an altitude of about 700 meters, with most of the vineyards in the plain, although there are some in hilly areas. The soils are mainly calcareous, poor in organic matter, and with some clayey areas.

Some notable wineries include Bodegas Atalaya, Bodegas Volver, Santa Cruz de Alpera Soc. Coop. de C-L-M, and Venta la Vega Territorio Ecológico.

Authorised Varieties

Red

Monastrell, Garnacha Tintorera, Tempranillo, Garnacha, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot.

White

Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Verdejo, Moscatel de Grano Menudo.

La Mancha DOP

La Mancha DOP, formed as a DO in 1932, is located in the southern part of the plateau within the provinces of Albacete, Ciudad Real, Cuenca and Toledo. It the largest wine region by hectarage in Spain and the world, but with its very low yield per hectare due to wide plantings (4 hl/ha), it is fifth largest Spanish wine DOP by volume. The international market accounts for 57% of the wine sales.

The land is flat and the vineyards are located about 700 m asl (above sea level) on sandy, calcareous, and clayey soils. The climate is an extreme Continental climate with temperatures ranging between 40 / 45 ºC in summer and -10 / 12 ºC in winter and low quite low rainfall at 375 mm annually.

Some notable wineries include Bodegas Bastida S.L., Bodegas Campos Reales, Bodegas Volver, and Finca Antigua.

Authorised Varieties

Red

Cencibel / Tempranillo, Pinot Noir, Garnacha Tinta, Graciano, Malbec, Mencía, Merlot, Monastrell, Moravía Dulce / Crujidera, Petit Verdot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Bobal.

White

Airén, Moscatel de Grano Menudo, Parellada, Pedro Ximénez, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Torrontés, Verdejo, Viognier, Macabeo / Viura, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer.

Manchuela DOP

The Manchuela DOP was formed as a DO in 2004, and its production area is located southeast of Cuenca Province and northeast of Albacete, between the Júcar and Cabriel rivers. The DOP produces mainly red wines and international exports account for 80% of the wine sales.

The vineyards are located between 600 and 700 m asl on mainly flat lands of the plateau. The soils are clayey, gravelly or sandy, with a calcareous bedrock. The climate is Continental, with cool winters and hot summers, although during the summer the cool and humid winds coming from the Mediterranean allow night temperatures to fall, providing day / night thermal differences especially favorable for the slow ripening of the grapes.

Some notable wineries include Altolandón, Bodegas y Viñedos Ponce, Finca Sandoval, and La Cepa de Pelayo.

Authorised Varieties

Red

Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Frasco, Garnacha, Garnacha Tintorera, Graciano, Malbec, Mazuelo, Merlot, Monastrell, Moravia Agria, Moravia Dulce, Petit Verdot, Pinot Noir, Rojal, Syrah, Tempranillo.

White

Albillo, Chardonnay, Macabeo, Moscatel de Grano Menudo, Pardillo, Sauvignon Blanc, Verdejo, Viognier.

Méntrida DOP

The Méntrida DOP is in the northern area of ​​Toledo Province. The DO was formed in 1976 and the international market accounts for 25% of the wine sales. The vineyards are located between 400 and 800 m asl, and the soils are sandy-clay. The climate is a dry and extreme Continental climate, with long and cold winters and hot summers. Late frosts are quite common during spring. The average annual rainfall is low at between 300 and 450 mm, with the rains distributed irregularly throughout the year.

Notable wineries include Bodegas Alonso Cuesta, Bodegas Arrayán, Bodegas Canopy, Bodegas Jiménez Landi and Daniel Landi Viticultor.

Authorised Varieties

Red

Cabernet Franc, Cencibel / Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Garnacha, Graciano, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Syrah.

White

Albillo, Chardonnay, Moscatel de Grano Menudo, Sauvignon Blanc, Verdejo, Viura / Macabeo.

Mondéjar DOP

The Mondéjar DOP is in Guadalajara Province, lying in the transition zone between the southern edge of the Alcarria, and the northern limit of the Mesa de Ocaña plateau at around 800 m asl. The DOP was formed in 1996.

Two broad soil types are the loamy-sandy red soils on limestone in the northern part, and brown soils on sandstone and conglomerates in the southern part. The climate is temperate Mediterranean climate, with an annual average temperature of around 18 ºC, and around 500 m annual rainfall.

Authorised Varieties

Red

Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Garnacha.

White

Malvar, Macabeo, Sauvignon Blanc, Torrontés.

Ribera del Júcar DOP

The Ribera del Júcar DOP was formed in 2003. The international market accounts for 70% of the wine sales. The vineyards are characterised by very low yields of just 1 hl/ha, making it the Central wine region’s second smallest DOP by wine volume produced, but third largest by hectarage. Dominated by red wines, the traditional varieties include Bobal, and Moscatel de Grano Menudo for its whites.

The soils are pebbly clays on limestone bedrock, and it sits on a high plateau with an average altitude of around 750 m. The climate is a temperate Mediterranean type climate, with annual temperatures of 14 ºC and average annual rainfall between 450 and 550 mm.

Notable wineries include Bodega Las Calzadas, Bodegas y Viñedos Illana, Ícala Bodegas y Viñedos, and Viñedos y Bodega La Magdalena.

Authorised Varieties

Red

Cencibel / Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Bobal, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc.

White

Moscatel de Grano Menudo, Sauvignon Blanc.

Uclés DOP

The Uclés DOP, the Central wine region’s newest DO, was formed in 2006. The international market accounts for 38% of the wine sales. It is located in the northeastern part of the Central wine region, on the border of the Alcarria. The DOP is found in two different provinces with different soil components, but both are deep with a sandy texture and sandy loam, with abundant clays, as the DOP nears the Riansares and Bendija rivers. The climate is a Continental climate, but less extreme than neighbouring areas, with a more temperate and Mediterranean component. Rainfall is scarce, and more typical of a semi-arid climate.

Some notable wineries are Bodega Soledad, Bodegas Finca La Estacada, and Fontana Bodegas & Viñedos.

Authorised Varieties

Red

Cencibel / Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Garnacha Tinta.

White

Verdejo, Chardonnay, Moscatel De Grano Menudo, Sauvignon Blanc, Macabeo / Viura.

Valdepeñas DOP

The Valdepeñas DOP is located in Ciudad Real Province, on the southern end of the southern plateau. Formed in 1932, the international market accounts for 40% of the wine sales. The soils are mainly brown-reddish and brown-calcareous soils with a high lime content and quite poor in organic matter. The area has a Continental climate with cold winters, very hot summers, and low rainfall of between 250 and 400 mm annually.

Notable wineries include Bodegas Megía e Hijos and Bodegas Navarro López.

Authorised Varieties

Red

Tempranillo / Cencibel, Garnacha, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Petit Verdot.

White

Airén, Macabeo, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Moscatel de Grano Menudo, Verdejo.

Vinos de Madrid DOP

The Vinos de Madrid DOP was formed in 1990. The international market accounts for 16% of the wine sales. The DOP encompasses three different subregions in Southern Madrid Province: Arganda, Navalcarnero, and San Martín de Valdeiglesias. The Arganda subregion is characterized by loamy to clay-loam textures on limestone, while the Navalcarnero has loam – clay textures on limestone, and the San Martín subregion has oam- clay texture on granite, gneiss, and filonian rock. The climate is an extreme Continental Type climate with severe winters and hot summers. The annual rainfall rate ranges between around 450 mm in Arganda and 650 mm in San Martin.

Some notable wineries include 4 Monos Viticultores, Bernabeleva, Bodega Marañones, Bodegas Licinia, and Comando G Viticultores.

Authorised Varieties

Red

Garnacha Tinta, Tinto Fino / Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Graciano, Merlot, Negral / Garnacha Tintorera, Petit Verdot, Syrah.

White

Albillo Real, Malvar, Airén, Macabeo / Viura, Moscatel De Grano Menudo, Parellada, Torrontés / Alarije, Sauvignon Blanc.

Vino de Pago

The eight Vino de Pagos of the Central wine region are Calzadilla, Campo de la Guardia, Casa del Blanco, Dehesa del Carrizal, Dominio de Valdepusa, Finca Élez, Florentino, and Guijoso.

TypeNameVintnersVineyards (ha)Production (hl)hl/ha
DOPAlmansa7607,20039,8416
DOPLa Mancha14,942165,470642,0764
DOPManchuela8366,70952,0038
DOPMéntrida1,2435,80031,0715
DOPMondéjar3004461,5193
DOPRibera del Júcar9009,0005,4261
DOPUclés5321,70032,56419
DOPValdepeñas2,45021,832616,01728
DOPVinos de Madrid3,1298,86028,4873
VPCalzadilla11670744
VPCampo de la Guardia1812,10226
VPCasa del Blanco1921,02511
VPDehesa del Carrizal12199547
VPDominio de Valdepusa2491,50631
VPFinca Élez13993024
VPFlorentino158
VPGuijoso1581,69429
Total25,101227,4311,457,96318

Central Wine Region, 2016 / 2017 Production

Central 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.
TypeDOPsWhiteRoséRedSparklingOtherTotal (hl)
DOPAlmansa2%<1%98%--175,405
DOPLa Mancha19%5%75%1%-800,783
DOPManchuela18%6%77%--14,338
DOPMéntrida4%6%90%--7,020
DOPMondéjar20%8%72%--1,380
DOPRibera del Júcar10%2%88%--4,987
DOPUclés18%4%78%--30,260
DOPValdepeñas14%3%83%--502,237
DOPVinos de Madrid25%5%68%-2%28,473
VPCalzadilla--100%--444
VPCampo de la Guardia28%-72%--1,030
VPCasa del Blanco31%-69%--574
VPDehesa del Carrizal8%-92%--686
VPDominio de Valdepusa--100%--2,417
VPFinca Élez5%-95%--3,144
VPFlorentino-100%--713
VPGuijoso<1%-100%--321
Total1,574,212

Central Wine Region, by wine type and sales

Central Wine Region. Statistics for 2016 / 2017 Season per DOP, VP, and VC. Total volume sold by hectolitre, and percent of type of wine sold.

De Levante Wine Region

DOP Alicante vineyard De Levante Wine Region
DOP Alicante vineyard De Levante Wine Region

The De Levante wine region is located in southeast Spain, and formed by the the old medieval kingdom of Valencia – present day provinces of Valencia, Alicante, and Castellón – and Murcia Province. It is the third largest wine region by hectarage, and with a relatively low yield (16 hl/ha), it is the fifth largest region by volume of wine produced.

The most important red grape variety of the region is Monastrell – thought to be native to Valencia – along with Garnacha Tintorera, while for its white wines, the white grape variety Merseguera is the most important grape. The region holds six DOs, of which two – Alicante DOP and Jumilla DOP – are among the leading Spanish wine appellations.

DOP Appellations

The De Levante wine region holds six DOs and 2 VPs.

Alicante DOP

The Alicante DOP, formed in 1932, is in Alicante Province and a small part in Murcia Province. It is one of Spain’s leading wine appellations, and the international market accounts for 27% of the wine sales. The DOP extends from near the coast to the interior of the province. Near the coast the climate is a Mediterranean climate, while in the interior it is a Continental climate with lower annual rainfall. In general most of the soils in the area are loamy sand or sandy on limestone bedrock, with little clay and little organic matter.

Notable wineries include Bodegas E. Mendoza, Bodegas Francisco Gómez, Bodegas Volver, Bodegas y Viñedos El Sequé, and Brotons V & A.

Authorised Varieties

Red

Monastrell, Garnacha Tintorera / Alicante Bouschet, Garnacha Tinta / Gironet, Bobal, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Petit Verdot, Syrah, Tempranillo.

White

Moscatel de Alejandría, Airén, Subirat Parent / Malvasía, Chardonnay, Macabeo, Merseguera, Planta Fina de Pedralba, Sauvignon Blanc, Verdil.

Bullas DOP

The Bullas DOP is in Murcia Province, and was formed as a DO in 1994. The international market accounts for 38% of the wine sales. This small DOP has a Mediterranean climate with an average annual temperature of 16 ºC and low rainfall (average of 300 mm per year). The soils are brown calcareous soils and alluvium. The terrain is rugged and formed by small valleys with their own microclimates. There are three distinct zones: one to the northeast at 400-500 m asl; another in the central part, located at 500-600 m asl; and the third in the western and northwestern part, at 500-810 m asl, with the latter having the greater concentration of vineyards and better quality.

Some notable wineries include Bodega Balcona, Bodega San Isidro, Bodega Tercia de Ulea, Bodegas del Rosario, and Bodegas Lavia.

Authorised Varieties

Red

Cabernet Sauvignon, Garnacha Tinta, Monastrell, Syrah, Tempranillo, Merlot, Petit Verdot.

White

Airén, Chardonnay, Macabeo, Malvasía, Moscatel de Alejandría, Sauvignon Blanc, Moscatel de Grano Menudo.

Jumilla DOP

The Jumilla DOP, first formed as a DO in 1966, is one of Spain’s leading DOPs. It is technically a supra-regional DO, as part of it lies within the Central wine region. Lying across the provinces of Murcia and Albacete, this DO encompasses a large region in southeastern Spain. It is the ninth largest Spanish DOP by hectarage, but its low yields (5 hl/ha) mean that it is only the 19th largest in terms of wine volume produced. The international market accounts for 45% of its wine sales.

Brown / calcareous and calcareous soils predominate, and in general they are poor in organic matter, with high water retention capacity and medium permeability. The climate is a Continental climate with Mediterranean influences – cold winters, dry and quite warm summers, and low rainfall (around 250 mm annually), which is mainly concentrated in spring and autumn.

Some of the notable wineries include Bodegas El Nido, Bodegas Juan Gil, Bodegas Olivares, Bruto, Casa Castillo, and Paco Mulero.

Authorised Varieties

Red

Monastrell, Cencibel, Garnacha Tintorera, Garnacha, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Petit Verdot.

White

Airén, Macabeo, Pedro Ximénez, Malvasía, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Moscatel de Grano Menudo.

Utiel-Requena DOP

The Utiel-Requena DOP, formed in 1932, is situated in the western part Valencia Province. It is the fifth largest Spanish wine DOP by hectarage, and the twelfth largest by wine volume produced. The area is home to the red grape variety Bobal, that accounts for 80% of the red grape production in the DOP. The international market accounts for 70% of wine sales.

The vineyards are on a high plateau, around 750 m asl, and the soils are mostly reddish-brown and calcareous, poor in organic matter, and with good permeability rates. The climate is a Continental climate with Mediterranean influences, having cold winters and summers somewhat milder than in other areas of the province. The rainfall rate is quite low with an annual average of 400 mm.

Notable wineries include Bodega Dussart Pedrón, Bodega Pago de Tharsys, Bodega Vera de Estenas, Bodegas Hispano Suizas, and Bodegas Pasiego.

Authorised Varieties

Red

Bobal, Tempranillo, Garnacha Tinta, Garnacha Tintorera, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Pinot Noir, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc.

White

Tardana / Planta Nova, Macabeo, Merseguera, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Parellada, Verdejo, Moscatel de Grano Menudo.

Valencia DOP

The Valencia DOP, formed in 1932, is in the province of Valencia. The international market accounts for 67% of the wine sales. The DOP comprises four distinct subzones. Alto Turia, the highest altitude subzone at 700 – 800 m asl; Valentino, in the central part of the province, at an altitude of 250 – 650 m asl; Muscat of Valencia, also in the central part where the historical wine of the region was made; and Clariano to the south, with an altitude of 400 – 650 m asl.

The soils are mostly brown soils, with limestone content. The climate is a Mediterranean climate, marked by strong storms and downpours during the summer and autumn. The average annual temperature is about 15 °C and an average annual rainfall of 500 mm.

Notable wineries include Casa Los Frailes, Celler del Roure, Clos Cor Ví, Rafael Cambra, and Valsangiacomo.

Authorised Varieties

Red

Bobal, Bonicaire, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Forcallat Tinta, Garnacha, Graciano, Malbec, Mandó, Marselán, Mencía, Merlot, Monastrell, Mazuelo, Petit Verdot, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Tempranillo, Garnacha Tintorera.

White

Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Macabeo, Malvasía, Merseguera, Moscatel de Alejandría, Moscatel de Grano Menudo, Planta Fina de Pedralba, Planta Nova, Pedro Ximénez, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillón Blanc, Tortosí, Verdejo, Verdil, Viognier.

Yecla DOP

The Yecla DOP was formed as a DO in 1975. The DOP is in the northeast part of the Murcia Province, within the Altiplano region. Traditionally it is known as the home of Monastrell, the red grape variety, in Spain. There are two subzones. Yecla Campo Arriba, dominated by Monastrell grapes, and with wine strength of up to 14 degrees; and Yecla Campo Abajo, which gives grapes of lower strength of around 12 degrees for reds and 11.5 for whites. The international market accounts for 92% wine sales, making it the highest DOP in terms of international exports.

The vineyards lie in an undulating landscape at 400 – 800 m asl, and the soils are mainly deep limestone-type soils with good permeability. The climate is a Continental climate with some Mediterranean influence – hot summers, cold winters, and low annual rainfall at around 300 mm.

Some notable wineries include Atlan & Artisan, Barahonda, Bodegas Castaño, Bodegas La Purísima, and Bodegas Trenza.

Authorised Varieties

Red

Monastrell, Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, Garnacha tinta, Garnacha Tintorera, Petit Verdot.

White

Macabeo, Airén, Merseguera, Malvasía, Chardonnay, Moscatel de Grano Menudo, Sauvignon Blanc.

Vino de Pago

The two Vino de Pagos of the De Levante wine region are El Terrerazo and Los Balagueses.

TypeNameVintnersVineyards (ha)Production (hl)hl/ha
DOPAlicante2,10010,379147,20614
DOPBullas4281,81117,62310
DOPJumilla1,82818,682102,6375
DOPUtiel-Requena5,51534,510327,8429
DOPValencia6,15013,100635,43249
DOPYecla4174,83082,79117
VPEl Terrerazo4631,46623
VPLos Balagueses11899956
Total16,44383,3931,315,99623

De Levante Wine Region, 2016 / 2017 Production

De Levante 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.
TypeDOPsWhiteRoséRedLiquorSparklingSemi-sparklingOtherTotal (hl)
DOPAlicante22%7%68%1%1%--133,776
DOPBullas12%9%79%----13,758
DOPJumilla5%2%92%<1%---216,862
DOPUtiel-Requena11%11%78%----216,425
DOPValencia28%7%53%7%1%1%3%507,255
DOPYecla5%2%92%----65,118
VPEl Terrerazo--100%----1,744
VPLos Balagueses20%-80%----166
Total1,155,104

De Levante Wine Region, by wine type and sales

De Levante Wine Region. Statistics for 2016 / 2017 Season per DOP, VP, and VC. Total volume sold by hectolitre, and percent of type of wine sold.

Del Duero Wine Region

DOP Ribera del Duero vineyard
DOP Ribera del Duero vineyard

The Del Duero wine region is located on the northern part of Spain’s great central plateau, with Madrid to its south, Rioja to its east, Portugal to its west, and the Cantabrian Mountains to the north. This high plain, with an average altitude of around 900 m asl, is dissected in half by the Duero River -the region’s namesake – that flows westwards to the Atlantic via Portugal.

The Del Duero wine region is the fifth largest by hectarage, but with its relatively high yield of 34 hl/ha, it is the third largest Spanish wine region by volume of wine produced. The Del Duero wine region has nine DOs, including four of Spain’s leading DOPs – Bierzo, Ribera del Duero, Rueda, and Toro.

DOP Appellations

The Del Duero Wine Region holds nine DOs and three VCs.

Arlanza DOP

Based in Lerma, the Arlanza DOP was formed in 2007, and comprises the central area of Burgos Province, and extends into the middle and lower valleys of its namesake the Arlanza River and its tributaries. Arlanza DOP is the third smallest mainland DOP by hectarage and volume produced. International sales account for just 13% of wine sales. The soils are clay-sandy, siliceous, granitic, and limestone marls, that are generally deep with a subsoil of soft rocks. The climate is a Continental climate, and one of the harshest in Castile and León.

Authorised Varieties

Red

Tempranillo / Tinta del País, Garnacha, Mencí­a, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot.

White

Albillo, Viura.

Arribes DOP

The Arribes DOP, formed in 2005, lies within the Las Arribes Natural Park, and is split between the provinces of Salamanca and Zamora. It is the smallest Spanish mainland DOP by volume produced, and second smallest mainland DOP by hectarage. The international market accounts for 20% of the DOP’s wine sales. The vineyards extend through gently sloping valleys that cross the Duero River. The soils are mainly shallow, sandy soils with an abundance of loose stone and quartz, which can run into granite rock formations in the Fermoselle area. Slate bedrock abounds in the Salamanca area as a projection of the Portuguese Douro.

The area has a Continental climate, marked by a Mediterranean influence. Rains are scarce throughout the grape ripening cycle, with very dry and hot summers.

Some notable wineries include Bodega Arribes del Duero, Bodega Pardal y Punto, Bodegas Pastrana, Bodegas Viña Romana, and El Hato y El Garabato.

Authorised Varieties

Red

Tempranillo, Juan García, Rufete, Garnacha Tinta, Mencía, Bruñal / Albarín Tinto.

White

Malvasía Castellana / Doña Blanca, Albillo Mayor, Albillo Real, Verdejo.

Bierzo DOP

The Bierzo DOP was formed as a DO in 1989. The region is amongst the top 20 Spanish wine appellations, and is dominated by red wines, with the red grape variety Mencía dominating wine production. The international market accounts for 23% of Bierzo’s wine sales.

Located in the northwest of León Province, and occupies several valleys in the mountainous area and a flat depression located at a lower altitude than the Leon plateau, with higher temperatures but with a higher rainfall. It is a transition zone between Galicia, León and Asturias. In general, the soils are formed by a mixture of minerals, quartzites and slates.

The climate is temperate with some moisture due to the Galician influence, but also dry like Castilian region. The average annual rainfall rate is 721 mm. Due to the low altitude, late frosts are avoided, and the harvest is usually one month ahead of the rest of Castile.

Some of the notable wineries include Bodega Verónica Ortega, Casar de Burbia, Descendientes de J. Palacios, Dominio de Anza, and Dominio de Tares.

Authorised Varieties

Red

Mencía, Garnacha Tintorera.

White

Godello, Doña Blanca, Palomino, Malvasía.

Cigales DOP

The Cigales DOP, formed as a DO in 1991, extends north of the Duero depression and on both sides of the Pisuerga River, limited by the Cérvalos and the Torozos mountains. The international market accounts for 20% of wine sales. The vineyards are at an average altitude of 750 m. The soils are formed by sands, limestones and marls, on a subsoil of clay and loam.

The climate is a Continental climate with Atlantic influences, marked by large thermal oscillations both throughout the year and between day and night, and irregular rainfall. There is a strong summer drought; winters are raw and prolonged, with frequent frosts and mists.

Some notable wineries are Bodega Carlos Moro, Bodega César Príncipe, Bodega Valdelosfrailes, Bodegas Salvueros, and Bodegas Sinforiano.

Authorised Varieties

Red

Tempranillo, Garnacha, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot.

White

Verdejo, Albillo, Sauvignon Blanc.

Ribera del Duero DOP

The Ribera del Duero DOP was formed in 1982 and is one of Spain’s leading DOP’s, famous for its red wines made with the Tempranillo grape variety. It is Spain’s third largest DOP by wine volume produced, and the seventh largest by hectarage. The international market accounts for 23% of the DOP’s wine sales.

The DOP lies across the four provinces of Burgos, Valladolid, Segovia and Soria. Centred on the River Duero valley in the Spanish northern plateau, the vineyards lie at an altitude between 750 and 911 m asl. The soils on this part of the plateau are tertiary sediments made up of layers of silty or clayey sands, alternating with layers of limestone, loam and calcareous concretions.

The climate is a Continental climate with Mediterranean influences – the winters are quite cold and the summers are hot. The important thermal variation between day and night contributes to a slower ripening of the grapes and favours excellent acidity indices. The annual rainfall is between 400 and 600 mm.

Some notable wineries are AALTO Bodegas y Viñedos, Bodegas Hnos. Sastre, Bodegas Vega Sicilia, Dominio de Atauta, Dominio de Pingus S.L., Dominio del Águila, and Protos Bodegas Ribera Duero de Peñafiel.

Authorised Varieties

Red

Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Garnacha Tinta.

White

Albillo.

Rueda DOP

The Rueda DOP, formed in 1980, is one of Spain’s major DOPs. It is the fifth largest by wine volume produced, eleventh largest by hectarage. The international market accounts for 14% of its wine sales. The DOP is dominated by white wines, with Verdejo the traditional grape variety used.

The DOP crosses the three provinces of Valladolid, Segovia, and Ávila. The vineyards are found in the undulating fields of the plateau, and are conditioned by the influence of the Duero River that runs through the northern part of the area.The average altitude of the area is between 600 and 700 m asl, and only in Segovia Province are the vineyards above 800 m asl.

The soils are generally brown soils that are stony and gravelly, with good aeration and drainage. The texture of the soils is variable, although in general sandy and silty soils predominate. The climate is a Continental type climate with cold winters and short, hot summers. Rainfall is mostly concentrated in spring and autumn.

Some of the notable wineries are Bodega Cuatro Rayas, Bodegas José Pariente, and Javier Sanz Viticultor.

Authorised Varieties

Red

Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Garnacha.

White

Verdejo, Viura, Sauvignon Blanc, Palomino Fino.

Tierra de León DOP

Located in the south of León Province, the Tierra de León DOP was formed as a DO in 2007. The international market makes up 15% of wine sales. The vineyards are found on a high plateau to the south of the Cantabrian Mountains. While influenced by the Atlantic, the climate is mainly a Continental type climate, with with long, cold winters and mild summers that can change between hot and cold periods frequently. The annual rainfall is quite low at around 500 mm, falling mainly in the summer and autumn. The soils are mainly brown soils on rocky subsoils and chalky soils on softer subsoils.

Some notable wineries include Albanto Wines, Bodegas Tampesta, La Osa, and Viñedos y Bodega Pardevalles.

Authorised Varieties

Red

Prieto Picudo, Mencía, Tempranillo, Garnacha Tinta.

White

Albarín Blanco, Verdejo, Godello, Malvasía, Palomino.

Tierra del Vino de Zamora DOP

Along with the Tierra de León DOP, the Tierra del Vino de Zamora DOP was formed as a DO in 2007. The international market accounts for 22% of wine sales. The DOP is in the southeast of Zamore Province on both banks of the Duero River that crosses the region. The average altitude is 750 m asl. With its very low yield (1 hl/ha) it is the second smallest mainland DO by volume produced, but only the ninth smallest mainland DO by hectarage.

The soils around the tributaries of the Douro River are usually clay, with easy water retention, varying in surface depending on the altitude. They can also be sandy on the plains and covered with pebbles in the upper levels. The climate is a Continental climate with very hot summers, very cold winters, and little rainfall at an annual average of around 400 mm.

Notable wineries include Viña Ver and Viñas del Cénit.

Authorised Varieties

Red

Tempranillo, Garnacha, Cabernet Sauvignon.

White

Albillo, Palomino, Godello, Malvasía, Moscatel de Grano Menudo, Verdejo.

Toro DOP

The Toro DOP, formed as a DO in 1987, is among the top ten Spanish DOPs .The international market accounts for 36% of its wine sales. The geography of the DOP is characterized by a gently undulating hills, with the vineyards lying between 620 and 750 m asl. The soils are mainly brown calcareous loams, with the superior soils being the gravelly alluvial soils. The climate is an extreme Continental type with Atlantic influences and quite arid, with annual average rainfall of 350-400 mm. The winters are severe, and the summers are short but not excessively hot and with significant thermal oscillations between day and night.

Authorised Varieties

Red

Tinta de Toro, Garnacha.

White

Verdejo, Malvasía.

Some of the notable wineries include Bodega Numanthia, Bodegas Ordóñez, Bodegas Vetus, Rodríguez Sanzo, and Teso la Monja.

TypeNameVintnersVineyards (ha)Production (hl)hl/ha
DOPArlanza2433301,3514
DOPArribes2072456973
DOPBierzo2,1802,85440,72914
DOPCigales4041,94838,35820
DOPRibera del Duero8,14322,395915,97841
DOPRueda1,49314,753678,88946
DOPTierra de León2991,37014,01310
DOPTierra del Vino de Zamora1866458031
DOPToro1,0805,55533,5136
VCSierra de Salamanca1111081,72716
VCValles de Benavente712441,9648
VCValtiendas14706009
Total14,44350,5171,728,62215

Del Duero Wine Region, 2016 / 2017 Production

Del Duero 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.
TypeDOPsWhiteRoséRedSparklingTotal (hl)
DOPArlanza1%26%73%-3,056
DOPArribes10%7%83%-3,223
DOPBierzo12%5%83%-88,482
DOPCigales2%66%33%-36,142
DOPRibera del Duero-2%98%-721,223
DOPRueda99%<1%1%<1%733,889
DOPTierra de León11%65%24%-16,245
DOPTierra del Vino de Zamora45%3%52%-1,985
DOPToro4%3%93%-95,716
VCSierra de Salamanca-5%95%-1,000
VCValles de Benavente15%51%33%-1,588
VCValtiendas-21%79%-1,004
Total1,703,553

Del Duero Wine Region, by wine type and sales

Del Duero Wine Region. Statistics for 2016 / 2017 Season per DOP, VP, and VC. Total volume sold by hectolitre, and percent of type of wine sold.

Extremaduran Wine Region

DOP Ribera del Guadiana vineyard, Extremadura
DOP Ribera del Guadiana vineyard, Extremadura

The Extremaduran wine region, located in the southwest of Spain, is found on the low, undulating fields of Extremadura, with an average altitude of 350 m asl. The six traditional wine districts of Extremadura are united under the Ribera del Guadiana DOP.

DOP Appellations

The Extremaduran wine region holds one DOP.

Ribera del Guadiana DOP

The Ribera del Guadiana DOP comprises the six wine districts of Extremadura, and was formed as a DO in 1999. The international market accounts for 30% wine sales. With 39 authorised varieties, around two thirds of the vineyards are made up of Cayetana Blanca and Tempranillo. The climate is a Continental climate, with average annual rainfall of 450 mm.

Authorised Varieties

Red

Bobal, Cabernet Sauvignon, Graciano, Garnacha Tinta, Garnacha Tintorera, Jaén Tinto, Mazuela, Merlot, Monastrell, Pinot Noir, Petit Verdot, Syrah, Tempranillo / Cencibel / Tinto Fino, Touriga Nacional, Castelão, Trincadeira, Malbec.

White

Alarije, Borba, Cayetana Blanca, Cigüente, Pardina, Viura / Macabeo, Chardonnay, Chelva / Montúa, Eva / Beba de los Santos, Malvar, Moscatel de Alejandría, Moscatel de Grano Menudo, Parellada, Perruno, Sauvignon Blanc, Pedro Ximénez, Verdejo, Antão Vaz, Arinto, Fernão Pires, Colombard, Xarel·lo.

TypeNameVintnersVineyards (ha)Production (hl)hl/ha
DOPRibera del Guadiana3,33635,79773,7952

Extremaduran Wine Region, 2016 / 2017 Production

Extremaduran 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.
TypeDOPsWhiteRoséRedTotal (hl)
DOPRibera del Guadiana5%2%93%52,624

Extremaduran Wine Region, by wine type and sales

Extremaduran Wine Region. Statistics for 2016 / 2017 Season per DOP, VP, and VC. Total volume sold by hectolitre, and percent of type of wine sold.

Galician Wine Region

DOP Ribeira Sacra vineyards, Galicia
DOP Ribeira Sacra vineyards, Galicia

Galicia forms the northwest part of the Iberian peninsula, bordered on two sides by the Atlantic Ocean, and by Portugal to the south. Galicia is also mostly a high plateau, with an average altitude of 480 m (1600 ft). Together with the jagged coastline, the low mountains, and the myriad of valleys and rivers, create a complex mosaic of landscapes and terrains. The geology is primarily granites, slates, and other metamorphic rocks.

The Atlantic Ocean has a great influence on the climate. The Atlantic creates a mild climate with little range between winter and summer – 10ºC (50ºF) in winter and 18ºC (64ºF) in the summer in the coastal zones, and 23ºC (73ºF) in the summer in the interior. The rainfall is relatively abundant throughout the year with on average 1000 mm (39 in) per year in the interior and 1500 mm (59 in) on the coast. The three winter months account for 40% of the rainfall, with another 40% in Spring and Autumn, and summer accounting for 20%.

The quite damp climate, very rare frosts, and uniform temperatures across the year, entail that Galicia can produce high quality wines. However, the region is on the limits of wine production, and the abundance of rainfall, and lack of sunlight can produce grapes with limited maturity and so the Galician wines, especially from the coast can be of low alcohol content with a slightly acidic taste.

With these conditions, it is not surprising that the shining star of Galicia is its white wines, especially the Albariño grape variety, and those from the Rías Baixas DO. While Galicia’s wine industry goes all the way back to Roman times, and it was a major exporter to the Americas during the heyday of the Spanish Empire, it wasn’t until the 1980s that Galicia became renowned as a region for high quality wines. A main reason for this explosion of high quality wines was the introduction of new technologies including stainless steel tanks with temperature control.

DOP Appellations

Galician wines have five DOP appellations.

Monterrei DOP

The Monterrei DOP is in Orense province and borders Portugal. The DO was formed in 1994, and the international market accounts for 13% of the wine sales. Wine making goes back to the Roman times, with an expansion in the medieval period by the religious orders. Monterrei’s wine industry traditionally produced high quality wines, with a focus on white wines, but the region suffered from emigration in the mid to late twentieth century. However, with the recognition of the DO appellation in the mid-90s, the region saw a resurgence. There are three principal soil types: slate and shale, granite and sandy from the degradation of granites, and clays. It is drier and hotter (and colder in winter) than the other Galician wine districts.

Some of the wineries include Adegas Tapias-Mariñán, Bodegas Gargalo, Bodegas Ladairo, Castro de Lobarzán, and Crego e Monaguillo.

Authorised Varieties

Red

Preferred: Mencía, Merenzao.

Authorised: Araúxa / Tempranillo, Caiño Tinto, Sousón.

White

Preferred: Doña Blanca, Godello, Treixadura.

Authorised: Albariño, Blanca de Monterrei, Caiño Branco, Loureira.

Rías Baixas DOP

Today the Rías Baixas DOP is Galicia’s most celebrated wine appellation, and among the top ten in Spain. It was formed as a DO in 1988, and the international marked accounts for 26% of the DOPs wine sales. Lying in the southwest of Pontevedra province, it’s formed by five distinct subregions, four of which are coastal. The region is famed for its white wines, but does produce many quality reds as well.

The region is intimately connected with the Albariño white grape variety. So much so, the area’s wine are generally known and labelled as Albariño wines rather than Rías Baixas. In contrast, most Spanish wines are usually called after the region such as Rioja or Priorat. Albariño may in fact be native to southern Galicia / northern Portugal, with both Portugal and Spain claiming the grape as theirs.

The Albariño grape is regarded as one of the best grapes from Spain. Given this fact, it’s not surprising that so many myths and tales have been spun about it. One story goes that Cistercian monks brought the grape to the region from Germany in the 12th century, while another give credit to 12th century French monks. Some claim the grape arrived much earlier, when the Germanic tribes such as the Visigoths invaded the area in the 5th century.

The bedrock is primarily granites, with a small amount of metamorphic rock. The soils include alluvial or alluvial-colluvial quaternary deposits, which are gravel, sand and clay deposits, and silt-clay deposits by the mouth of the Umia River. In some areas, the soils are primarily derived from the granite bedrock. The climate is Atlantic, with mid temperatures and quite high rainfall.

Some notable wineries include Adegas Eidos, Bodegas Albamar, Bodegas del Palacio de Fefiñanes, Bodegas la Val, and Pazo de Señorans.

Authorised Varieties

Red

Preferred: Caiño Tinto, Espadeiro, Loureira Tinta, Sousón.

Authorised: Mencía, Brancellao, Pedral.

White

Preferred: Albariño, Loureira Blanca / Marqués, Treixadura, Caíña Blanca.

Authorised: Torrontés, Godello.

Ribeira Sacra DOP

The Ribeira Sacra DOP is centred on the steep inland hills of the Miño and Sil river valleys in the provinces of southern Lugo and northern Orense. While it was only formed as a DO in 1996, it is today in the top fifteen Spanish wine appellations. The international market accounts for just 5% of its wine sales.

As with other areas of Galicia, the roots of wine making go back to Roman times, and during the medieval period most of the vineyards were controlled by monasteries. The vineyards are found on steep, stone built terraces. The soil is highly acidic, and formed on granite, slate, and limestone. The climate of the Miño valley is more Atlantic, while the Sil valley is more Continental, with less rain and slightly cooler.

Some of the notable Ribeira Sacra DOP wineries are Algueira, Dominio do Bibei, Envinate, Moure Viños Artesans, and Ronsel do Sil.

Authorised Varieties

Red

Preferred: Mencía, Brancellao, Merenzao, Sousón, Caiño Tinto, Tempranillo.

Authorised: Garnacha Tintorera, Mouratón.

White

Preferred: Godello, Loureira, Treixadura, Dona Branca, Albariño, Torrontés.

Ribeiro DOP

Ribeiro DOP was formed as a DO in 1932, making it the oldest Galician DOP. The international market accounts for just 5% of its wine sales. The vineyards are located along the valleys, with higher quality wines on the slopes of mountains, often on terraces. The most characteristic wines are whites made with the Portuguese Treixadura grape.

The soils are predominantly granite, with some of the soils clayey, while others are sandy. They are usually acidic, poor in organic material and low in calcium. The climate is an Atlantic type, with low temperatures in winter and high temperatures during the summer months. Annual rainfall is 800 to 1,000 mm.

Notable wineries include Adega Manuel Rojo, Adega Ramón do Casar, Bodegas el Paraguas, and Coto de Gomariz.

Authorised Varieties

Red

Preferred: Caiño Longo, Caiño Bravo, Caiño Tinto, Ferrón, Sousón, Mencía, Brancellao.

Authorised: Garnacha Tintorera, Tempranillo.

White

Preferred: Treixadura, Torrontés, Godello, Albariño, Loureira.

Authorised: Palomino, Albillo, Macabeo.

Valdeorras DOP

Valdeorras DOP was formed as a DO in 1945. The international market accounts for 9% of its wine sales. The DOP produces reds, whites, sparkling wines, and sweet wines, and is in the top fifteen Spanish wine appellations.

The soils are varied, from slate-based shallow soils to granite-based soils, richer in sand, to terraced sediment-based soils, abundant in stone. This soil diversity allows the region to boast two monovarietal wines. The most emblematic is a Godello white, and the most outstanding reds are made from Mencía. The climate is Continental, with Atlantic influences. The average temperature is about 11 °C, with annual rainfall of between 850 and 1,000 mm.

Some notable wineries include Alan de Val, Bodega la Tapada, Bodegas Avancia, Campañia de Vinos Telmo Rodríguez, and Valdesil.

Authorised Varieties

Red

Preferred: Mencía, Tempranillo, Merenzao, Brancellao, Sousón o Tintilla, Caíño Tinto, Ferrón, Espadeiro.

Authorised: Gran Negro, Garnacha Tintorera, Mouratón.

White

Preferred: Godello, Loureira, Treixadura, Dona Branca, Albariño, Torrontés, Lado.

Authorised: Palomino.

TypeNameVintnersVineyards (ha)Production (hl)hl/ha
DOPMonterrei42656628,53150
DOPRias Baixas5,343

4,021235,17858
DOPRibeira Sacra2,4381,24119,36816
DOPRibeiro5,7522,22088,54440
DOPValdeorras1,291
1,18235,78730
Total15,2509,230407,40839

Galician Wine Region, 2016 / 2017 Production

Galician 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.
TypeDOPsWhiteRedSparklingTotal (hl)
DOPMonterrei63%37%-28,533
DOPRias Baixas99%1%<1%240,343
DOPRibeira Sacra5%95%-34,881
DOPRibeiro95%5%-88,549
DOPValdeorras55%45%-35,788
Total428,094

Galician Wine Region, by wine type and sales

Galician Region. Statistics for 2016 / 2017 Season per DOP, VP, and VC. Total volume sold by hectolitre, and percent of type of wine sold.

Learn More

To learn more about the wines of Spain, keep reading Part 1 of the wine regions of Spain, take a look at our 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.

References

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/agricultura/temas/producciones-agricolas/vitivinicultura/

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.

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