I have no idea what you said, but cheers!

I’ve lived in La Rioja for almost 3 months now, and I’ve only visited 1 bodega (winery). It was really no big deal, I just got to go in a tub of grapes and smash them with my feet. There’s a phrase in Spanish “hay que aprovechar….” which means you have to take advantage of/ use the opportunities to enjoy what’s around you. For example hay que aprovechar las bodegas, las oportunidades de hablar castellano, etc.

It doesn’t work so well in English though because one of my students was telling me a recipe and at the end she said, “take advantage of it!” Maybe some people take advantage of their food…but usually we just enjoy it.

I think once you’ve seen one bodega, you get the point- they have cellars, barrels, history, tastings (mmmm). So why the need to go to all of them? Hay que aprovechar, hombre!

There are a few right here in Logrono, but some of the most famous wineries in the world, are less than an hour away.

My friends and I made a reservation to go see the Muga bodega in Haro. http://www.bodegasmuga.com/index.html

and the Dinastia Vivanco bodega and wine museum in Briones. http://www.dinastiavivanco.com/inicio.asp

Maybe some of you back in the U.S.A have seen these brands at the store, or maybe not, but they are incredible. They both began as simple family run businesses and have grown to incredible popularity and fame.

At least that’s what I understood from the tour, because honestly I didn’t understand a lot. Spanish speaking tours are fine, and I can catch on most of the words of a fast talking guide, but wine and the process of making wine is something I don’t know in English. I grasped the amount of time certain wines need to stay in the barrels, but not the whole oxidation, transferring barrels, making barrels part….

There is some vocabulary I can’t even remember to look up, but there are words that are good to know. This website has a lot, and there are a few extra words that I think are important that I didn’t see on there.


Hongos: fungus

Vid: Vine (not “vida” spelled wrong)

Vinoteca/ Vinacoteca: collection of wines (not a wine filled discoteca..or maybe?)

Salud: cheers!

Outside of Muga in Haro


huge barrels (barricas)

me and some crianza barrels

the making of a barrel is intense work

la cata, salud!

The Muga tasting was great because we got to keep our glasses and they say Muga on them. We also got little wine bottle bags. After having about 3 tastes, we needed to get some food in our system, so of course we found some pintxos in Haro. Que rico!

My favorite- no idea how to describe it.

works of art

After we ate we headed towards Briones.

Going to the Dinastia Vivanco bodega and museum

Briones, kind of an eye sore


The vines

The tasting in the cellar, underneath the vines


I thought for the second tour I’d be ready for all the wine vocabulary, but it wasn’t any easier. I ended up spacing out and taking pictures, so I still had a great time. The Museum was the highlight. There is so much beautiful artwork, and it lets you further soak in the whole process that goes into making fabulous wine. It starts with the vine, how you cultivate and harvest it, and then the importance of the barrel, and the wood, blowing the glass for the bottles, the precise temperatures, and the list goes on. The museum was also a huge shout out to Bacchus. Unfortunately you can no longer have a museum dedicated to you for being drunk and prancing around with nymphs because he already did it. It’s good to be the first.

The history of wine was never something I thought about when I was drinking a tinto on calle Laurel, and I doubt that i’ll think about it now because I have a lot of other things to think about…. but I’m glad that I learned some new things, because as a future teacher, and lifetime nerd I love learning.

I hope all you nerds reading learned some words as well.

besos, y salud!

winter's coming, stay warm!



  1. Dude, how do you make an appointment? I would really love to for when my friends come to visit. Do I just call them up – is there a magic phrase that I should learn?

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