Things to do in Rioja: visit Vivanco – the ‘world’s best wine museum’
The Vivanco Museum of Wine Culture is a must-visit on your Rioja wine tour. Often referred to as the best wine museum and the most comprehensive in the world, this is the place to go to immerse yourself in all things wine.
Established by a Rioja family, this is a veritable temple to wine. The modern museum building, shop, café, restaurant and winery are set, appropriately, amid a vineyard-covered valley, and you can easily spend a whole day at the complex – just get Rioja in Style to add Vivanco to your tour.
The history of Vivanco began four generations and 100 years ago, when Pedro Vivanco González began to produce grapes from a tiny vineyard. Now a flourishing firm run by his great-grandsons, whose father travelled the world in pursuit of his interest in for wine, collecting all kinds of objects along the way. The museum you can visit today is their way of sharing their passion.
Your visit begins with a short film (shown in English) introducing the winery and museum. After that, start exploring! Exhibits cover all aspects of wine from the history, production and consumption of wine, right down to how the bottles, corks and barrels are made, and there’s an impressive collection of every corkscrew you can imagine. Exhibits are labelled in English, and you can also take an English audioguide to accompany your visit.
Interactive displays, such as ones that explore wine colour and nose, intersperse wonderful artefacts such as the early tools that were used for winemaking. You can smell 28 different wine aromas from a wine barrel and receive a free glass of wine.
There is also an extensive wine-themed art collection on display, including works by Picasso and Andy Warhol, as well as other paintings, sculptures, mosaics and cinema all dedicated to wine.
Outside, you can learn about the grape planting varieties with an informative display amid lovely gardens, plus you can opt to go on a full English tour of the onsite winery itself.
After all that, you can take stock in the museum’s café and wine bar with an outdoor terrace offering uninterrupted views while you tuck into tasty tapas, plus wine from their own winery, naturally. There is also a more formal restaurant if you want a full meal. A shop with all sorts of wine related goodies and locally made pottery should fulfil some of those souvenir and gift needs!