On the agenda today: a visit to Elciego and the Marques de Riscal Bodega. I drink their basic red wine "Proximo" all the time at home, so I've been wanting to come here for some time.
I left Viana on the 9.00 am bus (no walking today!) and the 10.00 am bus from Logrono to Elciego. It was a lovely drive through several small village on a winding route through the Rioja vineyards. I was the only one doing the trip, as I'd left behind all the pilgrims on the Camino. Cost of the fare: €1.60. Cost of Winery Tour: €12.00 for 1.50 hours.
I knew that there was a tour in English at 12.00 so I had plenty of time to have a snack in the cafeteria first. Lots of goodies in the gift shop were tempting but out of the question for a weight conscious pilgrim! ( Eg Riscal Rueda Verdejo half bot €4.15)
The busiest time in the winery is now. Picking has started. The workers are mostly Portuguese.
Oak barrels for are used for storage, French oak for oldest wine and American oak for the rest. There are 140,000 bottles in the oldest cellar which was featured in a YouTube video, with bottles stored by year, representing each vintage. VIP visitors receive a bottle from their birth year.
There are 4 million bottles in storage in big square crates in a new cellar below the hotel, ready for shipping all over the world. The Frank Gehry designed building in titanium is similar to the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and shines in the sunlight: an amazing sight in the traditional Spanish countryside. I would like to have stayed there but it's a bit beyond my budget!