Wine Tasting in Bilbao: 8 Places You Have to Try

Published by: Bounce2 October, 2022

Bilbao is one of the biggest cities in the Biscay province of northern Spain. And is only about an hour and a half to the north of the La Rioja wine country. This is where you will find some of the best vineyards in Spain, making a trip to Bilbao a must so you can sample the best wines and tour several of the vineyards.

Wine tasting in Balboa is just part of the culture and there are several wine shops in the city that offer a wide variety of local Spanish wines; you can sign up for wine tastings at many of these shops. But, if you are looking to get out of the city and spend some time in wine country, book a tour or strike out on your own and visit some of the top vineyards in the region.

Taverns and bars in Bilbao serve wine from La Rioja. The relationship between Bilboa and La Rioja runs deep and many of the vineyards ship their wines out of the harbor in Bilboa. Before you join a wine tasting tour or head out on your own, store your bags safely in Bilboa to give you the freedom to explore without dragging along bulky bags.

Sign up for full day tours or visit privately for a short tour of your favorite winery. After a day of wine tasting and visiting vineyards in La Rioja, you will want to get out and unwind in the evening. Check out things to do at night in Bilboa and keep the party going even longer.

Architectural Rioja Wine Tour

Hosted by Northern Spain Gastronomy, this tour is for small groups with a maximum number of participants being seven and everyone must be 18 years or older. During the tour, you will visit two wineries in the La Rioja region: Bodegas Ysios and Bodegas Marques de Riscal.

You will stroll through the vineyards, admire the architectural highlights of Santiago Calatrava and Frank Gehry who designed the Guggenheim Museum and have a traditional lunch at an elegant restaurant in Laguardia. With travel time, the entire tour will last about nine hours and makes an excellent day tour from Bilboa.

The tour includes bottled water, tapas, and other snacks, admission to wineries, and wine tastings. Your itinerary will include an hour and a half stop at Bodegas Marques de Riscal where you will taste three of their best wines and admire the architecture by Frank Gehry.

You will then head to Bodegas Ysios where you will spend about 45 minutes learning about architect Santiago Calatrava and the cellar he designed for the winery. A tasting of two wines including tutoring on how to properly savor wine will be scheduled. Wines are served with an aperitif, usually Iberian ham.

Next, you will dine at a local restaurant on a simple but elegant three-course lunch with wine and coffee. Lunch will be in Laguardia and you will have an hour and a half to dine. After lunch, there is an hour allotted for you to explore Laguardia and do a little shopping and sightseeing before heading back to Bilboa. The tour company does offer free cancellation.

Location:

Your tour guide will pick you up at your hotel if you are staying in Brinas, Elciego, Haro, Laguardia, Logrono, Samaniego, or San Vicente de la Sonsierra.

Address for Bodegas Ysios: Camino de la Hoya, Laguardia

Address for Bodegas Marques de Riscal: C Torrea Kalea, 1, Eltziego, Alava

Guided Tour of Txakoli Wine Tasting

This tour is offered by Explora Norte Deiate Gujar and will take you to one of the local vineyards for a txakoli wine tasting. Txakoli is a local wine and is also called chacoli depending on which part of Spain you are in. It is a very dry white wine that is slightly sparkling and has a low alcohol content and high acidity. It is mainly produced in the Basque Country where Bilboa is located.

Your guide is a knowledgeable winemaker who will describe the process of producing this local wine. You will also learn how to appreciate the texture of this dry wine. The aroma and flavor of txakoli are unique and you will either love it or you will not be a fan. Your txakoli wine tasting will have an accompaniment of tapas and taste typical products.

The tour will take about four hours and is a private tour. You will be picked up in the city center and whisked out to the winery. The dress code for this tour is formal, so bring your finery with you. Children are allowed but must be accompanied by an adult. Children are not allowed to sample the wine but are given water or juice and can enjoy the tapas during the wine tasting.

Location:

You will meet your tour guide, who will be wearing a green backpack with white clover, at the Theater Arriaga Square; Erribera Kalea, 15, Bilbo, Bizkaia.

San Juan de Gaztelugatxe Winery Visit

Northern Spain Gastronomy hosts this tour where you can experience the very best of Basque County during a day tour. The breathtaking views as you travel through the countryside are well worth the price of your ticket. The tour includes a visit to the San Juan de Gaztelugatxe hermitage which has been made famous for being featured in the Game of Thrones series.

You will finish the tour with a trip to one of the local wineries and take part in a wine tasting of local txakoli wine. The tour will last between six and seven hours and is limited to seven people aged 18 years or older. Transportation, admission to the hermitage, admission to the vineyard, and wine tasting are included in the tour.

It is a 45-minute drive from Bilbao to San Juan de Gaztelugatxe and you will spend about two hours touring the hermitage. There are 241 steps that will lead you to the top of the hermitage for spectacular views of the surrounding countryside. Snap photos to share on social media and make your friends wish they were there, too.

Next, you will enjoy a quick lunch in Bermeo. Lunch will consist of pintxos or local tapas and will take about 45 minutes. After lunch, you will visit a local winery located on the Biosphere Reserve of Biscay. Here you will enjoy a wine tasting and learn how to pair wines with local seafood including bonito del Norte and anchovies. It will take about an hour and a half for this tour.

Location:

Carretera de Gaztelugatxe, Bakio, ES

AR Wine Experiences

This unique experience is great when you have a group of friends looking for something fun and educational while sipping on different local wines. Many corporations also set up wine tastings for employee outings so make your reservations in advance to have a spot on the tour of your choice.

Wine tastings last anywhere from 90 minutes to two and a half hours. This is perfect for large groups that enjoy visiting together and learning something new about Bilbao wine and the wine making process.

This tour will come to you if you have a big enough group or have a location in mind. If you are visiting Bilbao and do not have a place to host a wine tasting, do not worry, you can come to a tasting room and still enjoy the wine tasting with an experienced sommelier. Learn about the process of making wine, the different wines made in the region, and how to pair wine and food for the ultimate dining experience.

With the changing of times due to COVID-19, AR Wine Experiences offers online wine tastings where you can take part in a virtual wine tasting right in the comfort of your own home, or hotel room if visiting the region. Tasting kits are sent to you in advance to make it easier to set up for the virtual tasting. Virtual wine tastings last about 90 minutes.

Location:

The address for AR Wine Experiences headquarters is Plaza la Cantera 5, 4ª Planta, Bilbao, ES, but remember, they will travel to your location if you have a group and venue or you can participate virtually.

Enoteca El Rincon del Vino

This wine shop is located in the Abando neighborhood and is a great place to kick back and enjoy a wine tasting without spending an entire day traveling through the La Rioja region visiting vineyards. If you are not particularly interested in how grapes are turned into wine but want to sample some terrific local wines, this is the place to go.

After the wine tasting, you can pick a bottle or two or three that you like and purchase to share with friends and family. You can also order a case and have it shipped back home so you don’t have to go through the hassle of customs.

The wine tasting will last about an hour and does include snacks to go with your wine. They do not offer the same wines with every tasting so you could sign up for a few while you are in Bilbao and get to sample more of the fragrant wines available in the shop.

Location:

Address: Euskalduna Kalea 5, Bilbao, ES

Logrono

If you are more independent in nature and like to explore on your own, you have got to make your way to Logrono, but stop in at Bodegas Ysios. This magnificent winery was designed by Santiago Calatrava as a symbol of the majestic wine country and the mountains that border the area. Be sure to make reservations in advance and enjoy a wine tasting while here.

After your wine tasting at Bodegas Ysios, head to Logrono, located on the River Ebro which is the biggest city in the La Rioja region. The charming cobblestone streets and quaint plazas will make you feel like you have stepped back in time.

There are several wine bars in Logrono where you can stop and sip a glass of wine while you soak up the history of the city. There are plenty of tours to Logrono if you are not that independent and want to stick with a group tour.

Rioja Wine Harvest Festival

Held in September, the Rioja Wine Harvest Festival is held in Logrono. The festival is also known as the Festivities of San Mateo. When you come for this iconic festival, you will want to stay overnight at the chic Hotel Marques de Vallejo which can be found in the historic quarter. The hotel is best known for its interesting bright red furniture and driftwood sculptures.

Logrono goes all out for the festival and fills the streets with bright decorations as the grape harvest and winemaking are celebrated. One of the biggest draws is the traditional foot-stomping of the grapes. Another popular ceremony is the first offering of wine to the Virgin de Valvanera. If you are feeling brave, take off running through the streets as young bulls are turned loose to chase you.

The parade of floats, all wine themed, is magical and something you do not want to miss. Live music, wine tastings, street food, and ball games round out the festivities of the Rioja Wine Harvest Festival. When planning to attend the festival, make your hotel reservations early, things fill up quickly.

Location:

Logrono is in northern Spain and is the capital of La Rioja province; this city is about an hour and a half to the south of Bilbao.

Haro

Located to the south of the Basque County capital, Haro is one of those charming villages filled with old-world allure and has been celebrated as the gateway to the La Rioja wine region. It is home to a number of wineries, wine bars, and tasting rooms.

There are plenty of walking tours and bus tours that go through Haro from Bilbao and take you on an adventure through Bodegas Roda, Bodegas Muga, and Bodegas Lopez de Heredia wineries offering traditional Spanish wines and presenting tastings for small groups. 

The Batalla de Vino festival is held in Haro each June. This is one of the largest wine festivals in Spain and is quite the attraction. Book reservations at Los Agustinos for the festival. The deep history of the hotel will draw you in, it was founded in 1373 as a convent. 

Location:

Haro is a smaller village in northern Spain in the northwest corner of La Rioja province; Haro is about an hour south of Bilbao.

Experience Bilbao Wine Tours and Tastings

The Basque Coast is best known for its underground cellars in fancy old wineries that are attached to ancient villages. Some of the best sights in the region pertain to wine, making it one of the most important wine regions in Spain, after all.

Sign up for a friendly and fun day exploring wineries and enjoying a small group tour that takes you from Bilbao into charming villages to taste Basque tapas and delicious wines. There are corporate-run wineries and family wineries which seem to give you a more intimate private tour.

After spending time exploring La Rioja wine tours, plan an itinerary that includes spending 3 days in Bilbao enjoying activities like shopping in Old Town. Learn more about this unique and fun city near one of Spain's top wine-producing regions.

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