No, that’s not another no-frills airline with a dodgy name, I mean you can now get travel itineraries to Rioja sent to you in a PDF file so you can get expert, and independent, advice on your trip before you set off.
My friend Wink Lorch runs an excellent wine travel resource called WineTravelGuides.com where independent travellers with an interest in wine can prepare their trips by downloading guide to great destinations in France, Italy, and now Spain. Not everyone wants to go on a fully organised wine trip, although there is a lot to be said for these when it comes to wine holidays (as they come with driver included), but if you are looking for the flexibility of planning your own dream trip to Tuscany, Bordeaux or Rioja, then these are a great place to look.
You can now read not 1, but 2 different itineraries for Rioja written by another long-term friend of mine, Tom Perry. Tom has lived and worked in Rioja for a long time and he certainly knows his stuff.
One guide centres around Haro in the North, and the other around Logroño, the capital of La Rioja in the centre of the region. Both provide great local information such as maps and history as well as listing excellent wineries to visit, and a range of restaurants and hotels that could be useful. I thoroughly recommend getting hold of a copy if you are planning on some independent travel to Rioja.
Unfortunately, I do have one issue with them. In attempting to justify creating two separate guides, each has a separate list of wineries, destinations and suggestions. This is great, but only if you buy BOTH. If you buy only one or the other, you miss out on SO much valuable information and suggestions. Rioja is not a large region by ANY means (you can get from one end to the other in about an hour) and can easily reach all parts of the region wherever you are based. Would you not want to visit Lopez de Heredia (in Haro) or the Dinastia Vivanco Museum (in Briones) just because you chose to be based in Logroño, only 30 minutes away? Or vice versa, would you want to miss out on the tapas of Calle Laurel or the wineries of Laguardia just because you were staying in Haro?
I guess it is a minor point as I believe you can get a good discount for buying both guides together, and I’d hate to put people off these guides because buying two here costs more than one elsewhere, but I do love the variety of wine tourism opportunities in Rioja and I want to ensure you get the most out of it.
If you are planning on travelling to Rioja, or any of this intrigues you, please do check them out. I’m sure I can encourage Wink to offer readers of Thirst for Rioja some special discount on these reports, so if you do contact her, please let her know you are a reader here – you never know!
Also, if you do buy these or are planning a trip to Rioja, do drop me a line and let me know. If I’m in the area, we could even meet up for a glass of good wine