Interested in wine travel in Spain and Portugal? Our wine regions map will let you zero in on the wines you enjoy most, and the best places to stay overnight.
Represented on the map are the approximate boundaries of top dozen wine regions in Spain and Portugal along with visitor information. Remember, you don't have to drink wine to appreciate the beauty and the cuisine of the major wine regions in Iberia.
Spain and Portugal Wine Regions Map
Clicking on the tiny map to the left will open a larger map in a new tab or window.
Penedès Wine Region - SpainThe Penedès wine region is found to the southwest of Barcelona in northeast Spain. You'll find many wineries you've heard of, expecially if you drink cava, Spanish sparkling wine. Freixenet and Codorniu are found here, as well as Torres, producer of Sangre de Toro.
Wines have been produced here for over 1500 years; the Phoenicians introduced Chardonnay vines in the 6th century.
The Penedès wine region surrounds the regional capital is Vilafranca del Penedès, founded in the 12th century.
Just south of the region is the interesting city of Tarragona.
Navarra Wine Region - Spain
Navarra extends from the Pyrenees Mountains to the river Ebro in what is known as the Basque region today. The northern edge of the region is bounded by the city of Pamplona, famous for the running of the bulls. At one time the region was a major rosé wine producer, but recently the region has become known for fine quality red and white wines. The amount of red wine produced has quadruppled between 1988 to 2005, according to the consejo Regulador Denominacion de Origen Navarra.
Evidence has been produced through archaeological studies that show that Romans were building wineries in the region by the 2nd century bc. By the middle ages, wine was being recommended by guides written for pilgrims walking the Camino de Santiago.
La Rioja Wine Region - Spain
Rioja is probably the best know of the Spanish wine regions. Rioja became the only Qualified Denomination of Origin (Denominación de Origen Calificada) in 1991, signifying high quality wines with strictly controlled origin and production.
A good place to stay while exploring La Rioja is Logroño, which has lots of wine bars and a cluster of great tapas joints near the market, as well as the cathedral seen in the picture.
Rioja allows tempranillo, garnacha tinta, graciano and mazuelo grapes to be used for red wines, and viura, malvasia and garnacha blanca for whites.
Ribera del Duero Wine Region - Spain
Ribera del Duero is one of Spain's fastest developing wine regions, mostly because the region hadn't grown quality grapes much before 1982, when Official status was given the Denominacion de Origen Bibera del Duero.
Grape varieties here include Tempranillo, as well as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec and Garnacha. Temperature extremes give the Tempranillo more acidity than you find in other regions of Spain.
A good place to stay while exploring is Peñafiel, which has a wonderful restored castle to explore.
Rueda Wine Region - Spain
Located just southwest of the Ribera del Duero in the Castilla y León region is Rueda. Wine has been produced here since the 11th century, mostly sherry-like wines from the white Verdejo grape. Modern vintners are emphasizing fresh and fruity wines from the Verdejo grape, and combining their best with Savignon Blanc using very modern techniques and machinery. This makes for some fine shellfish wine.
While visiting the wineries of Rueda, you can stay in Valladolid, to the north, or in one of my favorite towns, Segovia to the southeast. Another alternative is Salamanca to the west, from which you can easily visit Portugal's Douro region as well.
Douro Wine Region - Portugal
The Douro wine region, known mainly for its Port wine, is the world's oldest marked wine region. Wine has been produced here for over 2000 years. The Alto Douro, along with the prehistoric rock art of the Coa Valley, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Most of the grapes are planted on steep slopes along the Douro river, and make for some stunning views.
The Port wines of the Douro can be tasted and purchased in Vila Nova de Gaia, across the Douro from Porto. See our article: Vila Nova de Gaia, which will give you information on Port Wine, the wine lodges to visit, and where to stay.
For a more visual representation of this fascinating wine region, About.com has produced a couple of videos on the region: Tour of the Douro Wine Region of Portugal and Profile of the Alto Douro in Portugal.
Vinho Verde Region - Portugal
The Vinho Verde region of Portugal lies between the Douro and the Spanish border to the north. Hot summers and very wet winters contribute to its unique growing conditions.
Vinho Verde literally means "green wine," but its all about acidy, palate tingling freshness rather than color. White Vinho Verde is meant to be consumed within a year of bottling.
Alentejo Wine Region - Portugal
The Alentejo region of Portugal is one of my favorites. Modern winemakers concentrate on reds; there's no problem ripening them in the Alentejo's reliable climate.
Wine has been produced in the Alentejo since the Roman period. In fact, you can still taste wines made the Roman way in massive amphorae called Vinho de Talha. Even at modern wineries equipped with the latest scientific winemaking equipment, some of the best wines are still pressed by foot. Wine in the Alentejo is becoming quite popular, and the region is adding tourism resources as fast as it can. We recommend a stay at a pousada while in Portugal, perhaps in Estemoz, Evora or Beja. See our Alentejo Map for more.
Dão Wine Region - Portugal
The Dão wine region is probably one of Porgugal's best known, as many Dão wines are seen in wine shops there. Vineyards don't dominate the landscape, so one of the best places to taste red wines is probably one of the least interesting to visit. The vineyards are found in the Mondego and Dao river areas, mountainous regions that keep maritime influences at bay.
Touriga Nacional is the leading red variety of the Dão, but it is often blended with other grapes. If you like cities, you should see Coimbra while visiting the Dão vineyards to the north.
La Mancha Wine Region - Spain
La Mancha is one the oldest wine regions in Spain. Located on a high plateau between Madrid and Andalusia known for its windmills and the the men who tilt at them, the low rainfall and moderately hot summers produce fully ripened grapes. For reds this means Cencíbel (the primary grape), Cabernet Sauvignon, Garnacha, Merlot, and Moravia--and for whites Airén, Macabeo, Pardilla.
La Mancha's huge area is one of the largest in the world; it makes up half of Spain's wine growing capacity.
While La Mancha wine routes pass the towns of Alcázar de San Juan, Pedro Muñoz, Socuéllamos, Tomelloso, Villarrobledo, Campo de Criptana and San Clemente, you may wish to stay in neaby Toledo for a more urban experience.
Jerez Wine (Sherry) Region - Spain
Jerez is mainly known for the fortified wine Sherry, and the chalky soil of this corner of Andalucía is ideally suited for storing winter rains the grapes can use in the hot summers. The wine that's not made into sherry often gets distilled and made into Andalusian brandy. Table wines are usually second rate in this area.
There are lots of mass produced Sherries. One of the main reasons for coming here is to try the offerings from smaller producers which are hard to find outside the region. See Pictures of Jerez for pictures of a typical bodega and Sherry Grapes.