If you traveled to Spain and if you are into wine tourism, you will known that Rioja is probably the most famous wine region of Spain, both for Spanish and international tourists. And within this wine region, one of the most well-known wineries is Vivanco.
Visitors can choose to visit the museum, the winery or both, which can be complemented with a lunch in the restaurant or a wine tasting course. We visited Vivanco in August and choose for the visit to the winery and museum.
We were recommended to take at least 1,5 hour to see the whole museum, so when we arrived early for the winery visit, we decided to already have a look at the first room of the museum. And it was impressive.
Before you enter the actual museum, you´ll be shown a short video. I already mentioned that this kind of videos are not my thing in one of my previous blogs, and this time it was not much different. It was informative, but as always a bit over the top. But as soon as we entered the first room of the museum I didn´t care much about the video anymore. The room contains a treasure of information from wine history, cultivation techniques, info about the phylloxera plague, types of grapes, export to the rest of the world, etc. It was also not only signs with information, but videos, touch panels, old machines and even games! I stomped grapes which were projected on the floor, and I won a game of grape football!
Since this room was so overwhelming, we lost track of time a bit and almost missed our visit to the winery. We booked a tour in English, not knowing that there were so many foreigners coming to this winery! We were with about 20 people and our guided mentioned there had been another visit in English that day already. This winery really receives mass tours. Maybe that was also why my experience with the visit wasn´t great. The guide was really nice but there were just too many people. The architecture of the winery looks very nice, but it is just another visit with explanations about the harvest, wine making process, barrel room etc. And the other visitors just kept asking and asking. I couldn´t wait to escape and run back to the museum. So when we were finished the wine tasting, I was happy to return to the treasures that were waiting for me.
After the visit I went to look at the rest of the first room and then continued to the other rooms. While the first room offers mostly general info about wine making, the rest of the rooms were a bit more focused on specific parts of the process. The second room shows the process of making a barrel, while the third shows historic ways of harvesting and making wine. The fourth room connects the wine to art, with paintings, statues, drawings etc., and the firth room contains an impressive collection of corkscrews. The last room is not really a room, since it is the grape garden outside. Since we already visited a winery before and spend several hours in Vivanco, I skipped this part.
What I also really liked about this winery, is that it is very focused on all kind of wine tourists. Outside you have a statue of a big hand holding u bunch of grapes with next to it a very nice view on the mountain range, where everyone loves to take photos (including me). For families with children there is a playground next to the restaurant, where children need to climb on ” grapes” in order to be able to use the slide). The store is also very complete, with not only wines but aroma kits, wine accessories, books about wine and so on.
After visiting both the winery and museum, I would really recommend to skip the winery and just opt for the museum, since the winery is not that impressive and the wines are actually not as great as you would expect of such a well-known winery (who is familiar with the wines of Vivanco?!). Tours are available only in Spanish, which seems a bit strange to me, but audio is available in English, French and German. I took the English audio with me, but it didn´t work as easy as I would have wanted, so eventually I just walked around at my own pace while reading the signs and looking around.
If you haven´t visited Vivanco yet, go there! And if you did, let me know how it was 🙂