This is no Napa Valley scene. No queuing, no hordes, no rush. This is Andalucia and life moves at a civilised pace!
Until recently there were just two vineyards offering tasting tours but most of the others have realised the value of enotourism and have opened to the public. But appointments usually have to be made and we can help guests of Los Castaños with arrangements. Tasting is relaxed and always includes a tapita.
One of the first to open its gates to the public was Chinchilla. John and I attended a half-day mini-course which was such fun (especially when John fell backwards off his chair – before the tasting!) and so informative. It includes a classroom component, then a tour of the bodega, ending with a wine and tapas free-for-all. They offer just vineyard tours as well.
Another excellent vineyard is Joaquin Fernandez. It is 100% ecological and a good visit.
The Museo de Vino in central Ronda is accessible and tells an interesting story. They have wines on tap, a costume exhibition and much more.
When you reserve your hotel room, please ask about vineyard tours so we can make reservations for you at the vineyards in Ronda. Please note that Los Castaños is not a vineyard and we do not do wine tastings here.
History of wine-making in Ronda
One Roman centre of viticulture was Acinipo, just north of modern Ronda. Coins dating to 1st century AD have been found as illustrated below – one side shows a bunch of grapes (looks more like an aubergine to me!) and a star, the other has two ears of grain on either side of the name Acinipo.
The late nineteenth century brought phylloxera and the demise of the vine throughout most of Europe. Cuttings had to be brought in from the Americas to reestablish the crop.
But the vine now flourishes in Spain and, in the last ten years, here in the Ronda area. The majority of the vineyards are in the countryside around the old Roman town of Acinipo, exactly where they were 2000 years ago.