The latest winery I visited has been Muga, an impressive bodega in the heart of Rioja. This family owned business is located in the barrio de la Estación (the train station district), where most of the wineries of Haro, the wine capital of Rioja, can be found. The reason for such a density of wineries is that this neighborhood was build when the phylloxera plague just started in Europe. Many of the vineyards in France, and later in Spain, were destroyed by the insects causing the plague and therefore these areas imported the grapes and wine of Haro, which were transported by train.
The visit of Bodega Muga started outside. The winery has no vineyard close to the winery, but there are some vines planted in order to explain the grape cultivation process. The harves, mainly done manually during the month of October, is explained by using pictures.
When entering the various elaboration rooms of the winery, it becomes clear that Muga mainly focuses on red wine. There are thousands of wine barrels, mostly of the standard 225 L size, but also some huge barrels of a few thousand liters. In order to store all these barrels, there are several rooms constructed especially for the wine aging process. Some of the employees are solely working with the barrels, checking and moving the wine from one barrel to another.
The highlight of the visitis definitely the “Toneleria”: the work place where wine barrels are being made. As far as I know, Muga is one of the few wineries that has its own toneleria. Almost every winery has wine barrels for the aging of the wine, so for wine tourists this won’t be anything special, but to see how those wine barrels are actualy made is a great experience. We visited Muga during the afternoon, when nobody is working in the toneleria. Therefore I would recommend to visit the winery during the morning.
After the visit we tasted 2 wines, both delicious! We received a bag with the logo of Muga on it, so we could take our wine glass home. Of course there is time to buy a bottle of wine in the shop after the visit.
Congratulations to our guide Carmen, who explained everything clearly and with a lot of passion!
For more information about Muga, click here.