My recent trip to Ribera del Duero marks my first-ever international press trip – and it certainly was one for the books! I had such a blast exploring this incredible, historic Spanish wine region with a crew of 7 other wine writers, photographers, and social media personalities. It’s a trip I will always cherish deep in my heart!
In case you’re unfamiliar with wines from Ribera del Duero, I’ve compiled a complete guide to drinking wines from this region – check it out here!
Here’s the basic lowdown: Ribera del Duero is located in the northeastern part of Spain, two hours north of Madrid. They primarily produce Tempranillo and their wines are big, bold, and full of flavor.
Ribera del Duero is a D.O., or “Denominación de Origen”, meaning that this is a quality-controlled appellation that has been awarded a higher status of winemaking. In order for a wine to carry the Ribera del Duero name on the label, that wine has to pass rigorous testing and pass certain protocols, such as using specific grapes (Tempranillo for red, Albillo for white), and specific aging qualities (outlined in my Ribera del Duero 101 post).
It’s one thing to learn about a region and drink it at home – but it’s completely another level to visit that region in real life! If you’re considering visiting Ribera del Duero, I’ve outlined our full four-day itinerary below.
Where to Stay in Ribera del Duero
Peñafiel is the perfect place to stay for a multi-day Ribera del Duero wine tasting adventure! It’s even home to the Wine Museum, where you can learn all about the winemaking history of the region, which dates back over 2000 years!
For our visit, we resided at the beautiful Convento las Claras hotel in Peñafiel. It was wonderful and I’d highly recommend it. It was an easy location to get to wineries each day and had a great restaurant downstairs. The atmosphere was also stunning – some rooms even have views of the Peñafiel castle up on the hill!
Ribera del Duero Wine Tasting Itinerary
Ribera del Duero Day One Itinerary
Madrid is the closest airport to fly into for the Ribera del Duero wine region. We flew in on a Sunday afternoon and started our trip from there, early Monday morning.
The drive from Madrid to Ribera del Duero is approximately 1.5-2 hours, and full of beautiful Spanish country roads!
Many of the bodegas in Ribera del Duero are centuries-old, and the wine production here has been passed down through families for generations.
One such family is that of Bodegas Comenge – our first stop of the trip.
Bodegas Comenge is a family winery surrounded by sprawling vineyards with a view of the Peñafiel Castle nearby up on the hill.
Here we learned that Ribera del Duero has a short growing season compared to other wine regions – the first vines begin to wake up from winter dormancy in April and harvest is done in October/September.
The winery itself was inspired by D. Miguel Comenge, father of the winery’s founder, and author of the wine book “La Vid y Los Vinos Españoles”, which was the first scientific treatise that reflected the wine situation in Spain, at the turn of the 20th century. The winery and the wines are named in his honor, and one of their bottlings is even wrapped in a copy of the first page of the book, in his honor.
Bodega S. Arroyo
Our next stop was Bodega S. Arroyo, located in the heart of the Ribera del Duero region.
Here they had an incredible selection of red wines for us to try – all paired with a traditional Spanish lunch by their fireside, including lamb!
All of the wines were excellent, but my favorite was the Tinto arroyo Gran Reserva, which is aged for 24 months in American and French oak barrels, then bottle-aged for another 36 months in their underground cellar. The wine opens up warm and velvety with flavors reminiscent of harvest, gradually hinting at notes of cinnamon, nuts, and almonds with beautiful ripe black and red berry flavors.
Day one of our journey ended at Bodega Ferratus, a modern approach to the traditional wines from Ribera del Duero. Owned and operated by an incredible female entrepreneur, María Luisa Cuevas-Ferratus, these elegant and soulful bottles leave a lasting impression – much like María herself!
The Ferratus team threw us an incredible welcome party, complete with live music and a maestro cortador to perfectly carve our Jamón.
Ribera del Duero Day Two Itinerary
Bodega Señorio de Bocos
Day two of Ribera del Duero started off with a barrel tasting at Bodega Señorio de Bocos.
We also had the chance to try their full lineup — beautiful wines with beautiful labels! It’s not widely distributed in the U.S. yet, but I’m hoping that changes soon!
Bodega Viña Sastre
Following a vineyard tour of Bodega Viña Sastre, through the rolling hills of Ribera del Duero, we were treated to some of Spain’s most delicious charcuterie and wines.
I was especially delighted to have the chance to sample one of their bottles from the 1999 vintage. It’s incredible how well Tempranillo holds up and ages, integrating flavors into an otherworldly experience.
Day two of the trip had a rather unique feature — a sandstorm from the Sahara desert floated over Europe that day, covering the world in sand and the eerie orange glow that you can see in these photos.
Founded by the Garcia-Viadero sisters, Bodega Valduero is now the second-largest low bush vine estate in Ribera del Duero. It’s also at one of the highest altitudes in the region.
Here, we ate lunch at their incredible hilltop restaurant, with vineyards surrounding us down below.
They also have an incredible cave system that was stunning to see.
Bodega Severino Sanz
Bodega Severino Sanz is a family winery established by three siblings who have passed on the tradition of making wine, from generation to generation.
Here we had an incredible dinner with the family in their home. Great food, great wine – and, a birthday celebration for me and Corey, who coincidentally shared a birthday that overlapped with this trip! It’s truly a birthday celebration I’ll always remember and hold dear in my heart.
Ribera del Duero Day Three Itinerary
Pago de Carraovejas
The Pago de Carraovejas story began in the 1970s with a young, ambitious Segovian, José María Ruiz, representing Spain in the first-ever World Sommelier contest in Milan. There, he took 5th place out of more than 60 participating countries. Returning to Spain energized by the importance the world was now devoting to wine & gastronomy, he founded Bodega Pago de Carraovjas and the rest is history.
This beautiful winery is full of world-class equipment and design. They also have a Michelin-starred restaurant on property.
Bodega Finca La Capilla
Finca La Capilla was a full-on adventure, starting with a “scavenger hunt” to find single-vineyard bottles of wine, hidden in the vines. Each one we tasted, to get an understanding of how terroir shapes the final wines and can dramatically change Tempranillo.
From there, we headed into a blending workshop, experimenting with blending each of the single-vineyard wines into a complete Reserva and Grand Reserva blend.
During lunch, we were also interviewed for Spanish TV, discussing digital media.
It was quite the day!
Day three ended at Montebaco, a family winery located between two of the most famous towns in the region: Valbuena de Duero and Pesquera de Duero. A road runs through the property that separates the two regions.
On the property is an old church, from when the land used to be farmed by multiple families who lived on the property (it was a larger unit back then).
Here, the brother and sister team hosted us for dinner, complete with a mariachi band and homecooked food. At one point, the whole team danced together — although we’ve promised not to post photos of that part. 😉
Ribera del Duero Day Four Itinerary
Our final day began with Bodega Protos, one of the larger wineries in the area. Situated under Penafiel Castle and outfitted with stunning architecture, it’s quite a place to visit!
Protos was founded in 1927, when 11 viticulturists with a common dream came together. It’s a world-class facility with plenty going on!
Here we tasted their wines paired with delicious dessert pasties. Yum!
Our final stop was Bodegas Fuentespina, where we toured the barrel room and then sampled their extensive lineup of wines. They craft under several different labels, making everything from fun & delicious to complex & elegant.
That was our full Ribera del Duero press trip itinerary! It was absolutely incredible.
What is Ribera del Duero known for?
Tempranillo! Wines must meet certain requirements, and then they can be labeled with the D.O. on the bottle.
Is Ribera del Duero worth visiting?
Yes, Ribera is worth visiting, especially if you are a red wine lover. Their wines can be incredibly beautiful and complex – and have wonderful aging potential!
How long should I spend in Ribera del Duero?
2-3 days would be enough time to visit Ribera del Duero and experience different wineries and parts of the region.