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A tour begins in a modern annex designed by Zaha Hadid to resemble a wine decanter.
But the real interest lies in the old winery next door.
First, a corner was cut out of a table-top mountain between Laguardia and Logrono.
Two tunnels were bored 120m deep into the remaining mountain using the machines that excavated the tunnels of Bilbao’s metro system.
The hill is riddled with unexplored tunnels and blessed with some beautiful architecture, including the church of Santa Maria de los Reyes.
But for wine lovers, the Casa Primicia is just as interesting.
tel 34 941 322 323; Carretera Nacional N-232, km442, Briones; see website for opening times & tours The story of Lopez-Heredia Villa Tondonia is the story of Rioja wine.Founder Rafael Lopez-Heredia was a Basque who lived in Chile but returned to fight for the Spanish king, lost, and was exiled to France.There he started to work for a Bayonne wine merchant.Here he absorbed tips and techniques from French winemakers, who would, for example, de-stem grapes.
The disaster of phylloxera, a vine disease that destroyed the French industry, was a blessing for Rioja.
Head winemaker Maria Larrea monitors everything from a laboratory reached by a walkway. com; tel 34 941 304 809, Carretera Logroño-Laguardia, km4.8; book visits online Cradled in a loop of the River Ebro, Contino is a chateau-style, single-estate vineyard, part of the CVNE (Compania Vinicola Norte Espana – the Cune on the bottle is a misprint) empire.