Wine D. O. RiojaDenominación de Origen Rioja
Rioja, the prestige of a name with ancient history
The traditional vocation of excellence of Rioja wines has allowed them to consolidate their image of prestige among consumers and to make them the reference in terms of quality for Spanish winemaking, both with their wines of more classic style, whose unique qualities for aging are admired by consumers around the world, and with a new generation of innovative wines.
Rioja has managed to stay at the forefront of innovation in wine with a great diversity of wines with personality differentiated, that have informed his success in the markets and have placed him in the elite of the appellations of origin historical european, and today the brand "rioja" is one of the five with the highest reputation among the wine-growing areas most prestigious in the world.
a millennial story
The civilization of Vine and wine was a reality in the Rioja lands more than two thousand years ago, as evidenced by the numerous archaeological remains of lagars and wineries dating back to the time of Roman domination. Maintained this wine culture during the High Middle Ages under the shelter of the monasteries, it would be in the one of San Millán de la Cogolla where Gonzalo de Berceo, the first poet of the Spanish language, extols in his verses the virtues of the Rioja wine, whose incipient local commerce controls the Emilian monacato. The economic importance that viticulture has had for centuries for the region, being its main crop next to cereal, has its origin when, like other great European wines, they begin to be a market product in the transition from the medieval to the modern age in order to meet the growing demand of an increasingly concentrated population in the cities, which required the modernization of the hitherto difficult and controlled wine trade, which increases considerably in those winegrowing areas, such as Rioja, they have increased production far above their self-sufficiency needs. A very significant milestone was the creation in 1787 of the Royal Harvest Board, whose objective was to promote the cultivation of the vine, to contribute to the improvement of the quality of the wines and to facilitate the commercialization in the markets of the north, so its priority dedication was to build and improve roads and bridges to unite the wine villages of riojano with Vitoria and with the port of Santander.
The riojana wine tradition begins to acquire a clearly differentiated profile when some aged men of wine introduce new methods of winemaking and aging and found the wineries today centenary in the second half of the 19th century. If the improvement of the marketing of Rioja would receive its definitive push with the arrival of the railway and the French buyers due to the crisis of the phylloxera, illustrious winemakers such as Luciano Murrieta, Camilo Hurtado de Amézaga or Rafael López Heredia, constitute the maximum exponent of the definitive introduction of the modern concept of quality in Rioja wines, with the specialization in the production of quality wines bred in the style of the Medoc and marketed in bottle.
Since then Rioja has been a model of denomination in constant process of modernization and adaptation to the requirements of the New Times, consumption habits and evolution of the markets. With its particular way of understanding innovation in tradition, the great development of Rioja's productive and commercial structure in the last years of the 20th century and the prestige achieved by the quality of its wines has made it one of the great denominations of the world. If the last decades of the NINETEENTH century were the starting point of the modern history of the wines of Rioja, thanks to the birth of a fledgling industry wineries and the improvement of processing techniques, the decade premiered with the mythical harvest of 1970 would mean a real revolution of the productive structures and trading companies, which would lead to the wines of Rioja to its undisputed leadership among the quality wines in spain. Coinciding with the official recognition of Rioja as a qualified designation of origin in April 1991, a period of expansion and modernization of the Rioja wine sector will begin. The award of the qualified one was the obligatory recognition of the serious and continuous effort made by the Rioja wine sector to reach the most ambitious quality goals, an effort that from then on would multiply if possible in the search for excellence.
the first designation of Origin
Rioja wines are protected by the oldest denomination of origin in Spain. When at the end of the NINETEENTH century is born in the Rioja modern and is endowed with its own identity the name of a product linked to its origin, there arises the concern of the growers and winemakers in la rioja to protect that identity from "usurpers and forgers", a restlessness that culminates with the official recognition on June 6, 1925 of the Denomination of Origin Rioja.
Since 1991 Rioja wines have been covered by the first qualified D. O. of Spain. Its Regulation establishes the demarcation of the production area, the grape varieties that can be grown, the maximum permitted yields, the techniques of production and breeding, etc.the Regulatory Council is the public body responsible for promoting and controlling the quality of the protected wines, promoting their image and defending the interests of the sector, whose representatives are members of the management body of the Council.
Today Rioja is one of the world's most reliable designations of Origin, with regard to the quality and authenticity of its wines, and one of the few wines required to be bottled at source for all its production. Undoubtedly, the effective implementation by the Regulatory Council of a much more rigorous self-control regulation than that of other wine-growing areas has been able to convey safety and confidence to consumers and has been decisive in achieving the leading position that Rioja wines occupy on the market.