Find out if we’ve got your favourite pastime covered in our dedicated special interest holidays travel guide or just search for a few more ideas to help you have a really worthwhile week away rather than just a boring break at the beach. This page is all about what special interest holidays entail and how you can choose between small group and tailor made options to ensure you get the most out of your holiday.
Wine tasting holidays in Spain
Friends and wine should be old
- Spanish proverb
The wine-making tradition in Spain dates back at least 2,000 years, with the Phoenicians thought to have been first to plant vines here. Even the Moors are known to have imbibed, strictly for ‘medicinal purposes’ of course. Spanish wines may not have quite the recognition of those from France, but Spain has far and away the most acreage taken up by vineyards, providing wine enthusiasts with an immense variety to explore.
There are 50 or so Spanish denominación de origen (DO) areas, which are equivalent to France's appellation d’origine contrôlée. You have the famous reds of Rioja, cava from Penedès in Catalonia, Galician whites, and the wines from Condado de Huelva in Andalucía, which are said to have been carried by Christopher Columbus on his voyages.
Particularly renowned of course is the ‘Sherry Triangle’, where the fortified wine, typically very dry here, is produced in the area between Jerez de la Frontera, El Puerto de Santa María and Sanlúcar de Barrameda in the province of Cádiz. Sir Francis Drake acquired several thousand barrels of the stuff when he sacked Cádiz in the 16th century and it has been a popular drink in Britain since.
The sweet dessert wines of Malaga are also renowned, while Ronda is a much newer wine-growing region which is garnering plaudits both for its whites, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc among them, and reds including Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.
As for the best time of year to take a wine holiday in Spain, it’s definitely worth considering September, for the exciting harvest season. Vendemias take place across the country as each wine growing area celebrates its latest vintage. But just the same as you would find in any other wine producing country, Spain’s vineyards, wineries and bodegas are available for tastings throughout the year.
Wine tasting holidays in Andalucía
Andalucía is one of the key regions to watch.
- American wine guru Robert Parker
Andalucían wines are enjoying a moment in the sun right now, drawing attention from critics and enthusiasts alike, and picking up not a few awards along the way. It’s a fantastic destination to focus on for a week of wine tasting and boutique winery tours during the autumn harvest in September.
You base yourself in a guesthouse in the Alpujarras, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains near Granada. The vineyards here are at the highest altitudes in Europe, and you’ll be within walking distance of some of them. Small group tours are guided by a wine blogger, food author and publisher, and a noted authority on Spanish wines, most especially those from around Granada and Malaga. The itinerary places an emphasis on high quality ‘terroir’ wines, ideal for the wine-lover that wants to know the stories behind the label.
You will take part in a series of professionally led tastings at your accommodation, beginning with reds and whites from across Spain before narrowing down to Andalucía, with the addition of some sparkling wines and roses, and then those specifically from the Alpujarras and Sierra Nevada region.
You will meet small producers happy to discuss not only their processes but also their philosophies of wine making. You will also practise pairing wine and food over dinner, and take a sublime wine and tapas tour around Granada’s Arab quarter. Whether wine is your passion, or you want to develop your knowledge as well as your cellar, Andalucía is most definitely a cork worth popping.
Our top trip
Journey from Madrid to Porto through the Ribera del Duero
From £1995 to £2120 12 days ex flights
Small group travel:
2024: 18 May, 1 Jun, 15 Jun, 7 Sep, 21 Sep, 5 Oct
2024: 18 May, 1 Jun, 15 Jun, 7 Sep, 21 Sep, 5 Oct
If you'd like to chat about Wine tasting or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.
Wine and walking or cycling tours
In northern Spain, Ribera del Duero is one of the country’s best known wine regions, producing some superb reds, with prestigious vineyards found especially around the towns of Peñafiel and Roa de Duero. You can combine wine tasting, food and walking here, on tours that also dip into Portugal’s Douro region, with walks between 10km and 13km most days.
In Catalonia, you can cycle along scenic country trails between wineries, with a boutique sports hotel in northeast Spain your base. The Empordà DO here produces mainly reds with some notable whites and roses among them. Bring along saddle bags if you intend to tie in your exercise with one of many seasonal food and wine festivals.
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