The Camino de Santiago: the wine route

In one of our previous articles, we told you that the reasons why pilgrims go to Compostela are very diverse and that one of them is to enjoy wine on the Camino de Santiago. Lovers of wine tourism (enological tourism) have found in the Camino de Santiago a paradise for their senses.

Wine on the camino de Santiago
wine on the camino de santiago

Planning for Wine tourism

Crossing
vineyards, breathing in the sweet air of vines, visiting wineries, making wine
tastings and discovering new grape vines are some of the wine-related activities you can do on the Camino de Santiago. We do
not doubt that if you are reading this article from our blog, it is because you
are one of those people who in their travels are always looking for a way to
discover wine culture at the
destination that you visit.

Why wine is important on the Camino de Santiago

It is
important to note that since the 11th century, monks and pilgrims have been
leaving in the wine regions of the Camino de Santiago various grape vines,
brought from all sorts of places and corners. So we can say that wine and the Camino have always fed each
other.

The above can be seen in the wide variety of vineyards that border the routes on the Camino de Santiago and the various grape varieties that can be found within the routes. It is also observed in the legends that surround the pilgrim route or in the traditional festivities that are celebrated in the many hamlets and villages that cross the itineraries of the Camino.

Pilgrimage routes and wine

Next, we will talk about the best wines you will find on the two main pilgrimage routes: the  Camino Frances ae Camino de Santiago Portugues. We conclude the article with Galician wines, because in the lands of the apostle, besides being “Terra Meiga”, are also the lands of wine.

Almost all pilgrims, even if they follow some other routes on the Camino de Santiago, will finish their route in Galicia, offering up a glass of Ribeiro or Albariño wine. A pilgrimage to Santiago is not only a journey for the body and mind but also for your palate.

The Camino Frances: the best wines in Spain

If there is
a Camino de Santiago that stands out for its richness in wine, it is the Camino Frances. The great variety of
wines on this pilgrim’s route is owed mainly to the climate of the territories
that it crosses, which changes very much from one point to another, giving
place to vineyards with very different characteristics.

The Camino
Frances to Santiago passes through two
of the most important and well-known wine routes in Spain:
La Rioja and the
Duero Basin of Castilla y León, whose wines receive the guarantee of origin
(D.O) from Ribera del Duero. But this route also hides many more wines with a Spanish guarantee of origin.

Navarre,
Aragon and Castilla y León will surprise you with original grape varieties.
Here, we will talk about the best wines
with D.O.
(guarantee of origin) that you will find along this route so that
you enjoy the best wine in the best conditions during your pilgrimage on the
Camino Frances to Santiago.

Somontano wine: The beginning of the Camino Frances

The most usual thing to do is to begin the Camino Frances from St. Jean Pied de Port or Roncesvalles. However, some pilgrims take the Somport variant, to cross the Pyrenees, meeting the main Camino Frances at Puente de la Reina.

This route
runs between the Aragon and Aspe valleys, allowing the pilgrims to savour the
delicious Aragonese wine, well-known for its guarantee of Somontano origin.

Somontano
means “at the foot of the mountain”, which speaks to us clearly of
the privileged position of these vineyards, located between the River Ebro
valley and the Pyrenees. In fact, to a large extent, the quality of Somontano wines is due to the geographical richness
of its cultivation area. Hence this variety of Spanish wine has the protected
denomination of origin (D.O.P.).

This
wine-growing region is one of the oldest
in Spain,
according to available documentation. It is said that in the year
500 B.C. vineyards were already being cultivated in this region of Aragon.

Wines from Navarra: the beginning of the Camino Frances

All those
who are encouraged to start the Camino Frances from its first stages, no matter
what their starting point is, will end up crossing Navarre. This land was
formerly known especially for its rosé
wines
, but nowadays it has a wide variety of wines with guarantee of
origin.

Wine Navarra, Camino Frances

The part of Camino de Santiago that crosses this region is included in one of the four wine routes of the community, which enters the sub-region of Tierra Estella. In fact, on the seventh stage of the French route, you will find one of the most famous wine fountains on the Camino de Santiago, the Bodegas Irache Fountain. A visit that has become a great tradition among pilgrims.

La Rioja: The Spanish wine route

Rioja Wine
is one of the most important wines in
Spain
. If you are a true wine lover, you have probably heard about Rioja
and the routes of this region.

The eighth
stage of the Camino Frances leaves Los Arcos to leave Navarre and enter La
Rioja, concluding its journey in Logroño. In this, and in the next three
stages, you will have the opportunity to explore landscapes surrounded by the Rioja vineyards.

However,
wines catalogued with this guarantee of origin are not cultivated exclusively
in La Rioja, they are also present in the Basque Country and in some regions of
Navarro and Castilla-León. So do not rush those opportunities to drink some Rioja wine, there will be plenty of time
on the Camino Frances.

Crossing Castile with a Ribera del Duero wine

The wine
route on the Camino de Santiago continues through Castilla y León, where Rioja
wine will gradually give way to the D.O.
Ribera del Duero wines.
The vineyards of this denomination of origin extend
along the banks of the Duero and then pass through Soria, Burgos, Segovia and
Valladolid.

There are
16 stages on the Camino Frances that cross the autonomous community of Castilla
y León. From Stage 12, which starts from Belorado until the 27th, which ends in
O Cebreiro (Galicia). In any of these 16 stops you can taste the exquisite wines of Castilla.

Ribera del
Duero wine is largely red. In 1982, it was granted its denomination of origin
and since then the number of wineries and its prestige has not stopped growing.
Today, this Spanish wine region has
great international prestige.

Other wines from Castile

On your
route through Castile, in addition to the famous wines of La Rioja and Ribera
del Duero, you can discover other
guarantees of origin,
much less known, but equally exquisite. Here, we talk
about them, so you can enjoy the best of your wine routes along the Camino
Frances to Santiago.

Prieto Picudo: A unique grape

The wines
made with these grapes are grouped under the D.O. of Tierra de León. This area of vineyards is located in the
southeast of Castilla-León.

The wines made with this grape are
recognized by their different flavour, marked by high acidity. It is not a
common grape in Spain, and its bunch is
very peculiar
, presenting a compact appearance. Its grape is clearly
distinguished because it ends in a point and has a more oval appearance than
other varieties.

Wines from El Bierzo

To the west
of the province of León are cultivated wines that have the D.O. of Bierzo. This wine is grown in smallholder vineyards and is
elaborated in small wineries, so its distribution
is not very wide.
Therefore, take advantage of your route on the Camino de
Santiago to enjoy a good wine tasting.

Wine routes in Portugal

The Camino Portuguese
Central to Santiago is the second most
visited pilgrimage route to Santiago.
This route also has excellent wines
on its route, as it also has a varied climate that offers a wide variety of white and red wines.

Its wines
are characterized by the influence exerted by the Atlantic coast on its
vineyards, along with the presence of two important rivers: The Duero and the
Tagus (or Tajo, as it is called in Portuguese). Next, we talk about the wines that are cultivated in the
regions that cross the Camino Portuguese.

Tajo wines: The beginning of the Camino Portuguese

The Vino do Tajo (Tagus wine) is the
guarantee of origin of the wines grown in the central part of Portugal, in the Rebate region. Hence, in the
past, this variety was known as Rebate wine.

A large
part of the Rebate, formed by the vineyards of Cartago, Santarem, Almeria, Couche,
Tamar and Chamisal, is crossed by the Camino Portuguese. So you’ll have plenty of opportunities to sample this
variety of Portuguese wine
during your pilgrimage to Santiago.

Barraza: Wines from Portugal

From stage
11, you will have the opportunity to taste the wines with the D.O. from Barraza.
This wine-growing region is located in the centre west of Portugal. Its wines can be white, rosé or red as well as
sparkling.

Oporto wine: Between the Central and Coastal Caminos

In Oporto,
pilgrims have the option of continuing their journey to Compo stela following
the Camino Central or deviating to the Camino Portuguese coastal route, doing 9
stages beside the sea. Both will give them the opportunity to drink a good port wine (Vino do Porto, in
Portuguese).

This
variety of wine has its own guarantee of origin and is cultivated in the wine-growing region known as the Alto Duero.
Port wine is characterized by being a strong wine, with high a percentage of
alcohol, the fruit of its fermentation process. You will find both white and
red wines.

Vino Verde: The Portuguese Albireo

The Vinos
Verdes (green wine) is a region located between the River Duero and the Mino,
in the north-west of the country. As its name suggests, it is a young wine, which uses a green,
little-ripened grape.

Vino Verde, The portuguese albireo

The taste
of wines with the D.O. Vinho Verde is slightly acidic, but fruity, and often
has a sparkling appearance. The most important white wine of Portugal is
produced in this region; Alvariño wine (Alvarinho or Cainho Branco, in
Portuguese), and is very similar to the
Galician Albariño.

Galician wines: The Land of the Apostle

No matter
which route you choose, you end up arriving in Galicia. An excellent place to finish the wine route on the Camino de
Santiago.
If you follow the Camino Frances, you will travel in Galicia
through 7 stages, from O Cebreiro to the finishing line, the city of
Compostela, passing by Palas de Rei and Arzúa, where you can taste Galician
wines.

If you choose the Camino Portugues you will have 6 stages, arriving in Galicia through Tui. And if you choose any other itinerary of the Camino de Santiago you will also have the opportunity to enjoy Galician wine.

Ribeiro wine: Raise a glass to the end of the Camino de Santiago

The D.O. of
Ribeiro wines means “Riverbank
of the river” in Galician since it begins with the union of four different
river valleys: Miño, Avia, Arnoia and Barbantiño. This fantastic landscape is
complemented by its mountainous slopes and salty smell that emerges from the
Atlantic Ocean. Rivers, mountains and seas give rise to a wine with fruity and floral aromas.

The
guarantee of origin O Ribeiro is the
oldest in the Galician community.
This variety of wine is made with both
regional grapes and foreign strains.

They are
mostly white wines. The tonality of
this wine varies between pale gold, almost transparent, to straw-coloured,
almost golden.

More Galician wines

The O
Ribeiro wine is not the only one with a guarantee of origin that you will find
in Galician lands. This region is famous for its wines and for its gastronomy, it has several D.O. Some of them are:

D.O. Rías Baixas. In this region is
where the famous Galician Albariño is cultivated, considered the best white
wine in the world. As we commented on the Portuguese route, this grape is also
cultivated in the north of Portugal. However, it is originally from Galicia.

● D.O. Monterrei. It is the youngest and smallest guarantee of
origin in Galicia. Its wine is produced in the province of Orense, from an arid
zone in the southeast. Its white wines stand out because of their powerful
aroma and the reds for their cherry colour.

Ribeira Sacra wines. This D.O. stands
out for its ruby-coloured red wines, with a surprising flavour. These vineyards
are the inheritance left by the clerics who for centuries occupied the steep
slopes of the Miño and the Sil river valleys.

Valdeorras wines. These wines are cultivated on the border
between Orense and León. In this wine-growing region, which dates back to Roman
times, the caves continue to be used to preserve the temperature of the wine.
The white wines made with the Godello grape are outstanding.

Would you like to try a pairing?

You can see
that the wine with its guarantee of origin is not lacking on the Camino de
Santiago. But not only wine, the pilgrim route is also known for being a rich
gastronomic route. What good wine lover doesn’t want to try a pairing?

If you want to know more about gastronomy on the Camino de Santiago, you can consult our guide to traditional food that you cannot miss on the pilgrimage to Compostela. You can also see the article we published about  the best tapas routes in Galicia.

For today we say goodbye, not without first inviting you to share this article with your friends on Facebook and not without first reminding you that if you want to pilgrimage to Santiago, enjoying its wide range of wines, you can contact our team.

Our organized tours on the Camino de Santiago, have rural accommodation that will allow you to enjoy enotourism. We assure you that when you finish the Camino de Santiago, you will have enjoyed the best wines from Spain and/or Portugal.

Buen Camino!