The Vivanco Vineyards of Briones, Spain, are a world all their own: a place where wine, food, and art meld into an enticing blend of finest pleasures of life. A visit to Vivanco takes you into another realm, a place where you are swept away by the sheer majesty of it all.
“Vivanco is a contemporary winemaking project,” founder Pedro Vivanco Paracuellos explains. “Wine, for out family, is emotion, and it is from this feeling that our Foundation was born….Knowledge, history, fun, food, literature, film, painting, sculpture, education, and so many more disciplines directly related to wine culture mark and design the goals of our work….We want to turn wine and its culture into enjoyment, happiness, smiles. We want wine to always be present in our better moments.”
Indeed, for many, wine is life and there is nothing quite so delightful as discovering its source. A tour of Vivanco Vineyards makes this possible as the experience is like a homecoming of sorts, being treated like family and embraced by warm, loving arms.
The tour begins with a meal at Restaurant Vivanco, introducing you to the cuisine of La Rioja, paired with exquisite selections from the vineyard. The traditional Rioja tasting menu includes Potato Stew with Chorizo, Rioja-style Cod, Roast Baby Lamb with Salad, and Caramelized French Toast with Caramel Mousse for dessert.
You can also select the Desniete Menu, which includes Bluefin Tuna Carpaccio with Strawberries, Enoki Mushrooms, and Wasabi Ice Cream; Early Potato Cream with Truffled Yolk from the Farmyard; your choice of the Monkfish with Riojan Mojo and Crunchy Noodles or the Oxtail Stew with Salted Vegetables; to be capped by a dessert.
Nothing like getting a little good food in the belly before setting out to the winery to taste the sumptuous selections from the collection. There are aged wines, young wines, and limited editions to be tried all while taking in the heavenly landscape of La Rioja, a great valley that lies between Sierra de Cantabria and Sierra de la Demanda, the local mountain ranges.
The tour of the vineyard also includes insights into the many locations throughout the vineyard in which the grapes are grown, and how these locales influences the development of fruits that become their own distinctive wines. It’s a marvelous study of agriculture used to its finest effect, a combination of nature and culture that produces the pleasures of delicious bottles of Temprannilo Blanco, Mazuelo, Maturana Tinta, and so many more that visitors can sample throughout the tour.
The grand finale of the visit is a trip to the award-winning Vivanco Museum of the Culture of Wine, which was opened by HRM King Juan Carlos in 2004. The 13,000-square-foot museum showcases 40 years of collecting by the Vivanco family, which includes insights into the culture of winemaking in a wide array of media, including painting, photography, illustration, and the decorative arts. The Museum looks at wine through a variety of perspectives including through the arts, religion, nature, and business, revealing its multilayered uses in life and allowing visitors to appreciate the multitude of ways wine has served humankind from nearly 8,000 years.
Outside of the museum, the landscape has been transformed into the Garden of Bacchus, a collection of grapevines featuring more than 220 grape varieties from around the world. This is a joyous reminder of the space where it all comes together as one—as you buzz along feeling lovely and satisfied from a day of discovery.
All photos © Vivanco Vineyards
Miss Rosen is a journalist covering art, photography, culture, and books. Her byline has appeared in L’Uomo Vogue, Vogue Online, The Undefeated, Dazed Digital, Aperture Online, and Feature Shoot. Follow her on Twitter @Miss_Rosen.