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Touring Rioja & Txakoli  for Wine Connoisseurs 
12th-18 May 2024 

Welcome to the most exclusive and educative wine tour of Basque Country and Rioja. Artean Wines School (WSET school in Bilbao) and Northern Spain Gastronomy (travel agency and leader in wine and food tours in Bilbao) have got together to present you this tour around the wine region of Txakoli DO and Rioja DOCa, its wines and its gastronomy. This is a tour to have fun but specially to get a deeper understanding about the profile of our wines, our vineyards and our weather and geographical influences. 


Price includes all taxes, accommodation, winery visits and and meals mentioned in the itinerary


Take home the Rioja Wine Diploma certification by the Rioja DOCa 


Wine educators and wine professionals will explain and take care of your during the trip


Enjoy Michelin starred restaurants, cosy meals in the vineyards or inside wine caves


This tour runs as a small group tour to get a very personal and immersive experience


This tour is catered for wine students, wine professional or real passioante wine lovers



INCLUDES: Wine educators as your hosts (WSET diploma and authorised Rioja educators). Enrolment and all the paperwork to take part in the "Rioja Wine Diploma", certification given by the Rioja DOCa. The itinerary of the course will help you to understand the characteristics of Rioja and hopefully with the help of you hosts you will pass this exam easily after the trip (its optional but included in the program). 

 Accommodation in boutique hotel 4 *. Visit to 12 exclusive wineries with premium tastings, visit to the Control Board of Rioja DOCa, get access to ancient vineyards completely restricted to professionals, walk around castles and medieval villages, dine in some of the most special restaurants or locations such as wine caves or in a vineyard watching the stars. Transport will be offered in a premium minibus with complimentary water.  

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DAY 1: Sunday 12th May

Arrival - Bilbao

  • Our exclusive group will be meeting in Bilbao this day. The plan for the day will be as follow:

  • For those arriving early, they will enjoy a private tour of the emblematic Guggenheim museum at 4pm for 1.5 hours.

  • In the evening, an introduction of this multi-day tour and presentation of your guides will be offered at the private dining room of Gastronomía Bilbao, one of the most relevant wine bars of the city.

    • Teresa, which hosts the WSET diploma and owns Artean Wines School in Bilbao, will give the first masterclass of Rioja and she will cover some of the most important points of the Rioja Wine Diploma.

    • Dinner will be served with local specialties paired with local wines.

  • Stay in Bilbao at Vincci Consulado de Bilbao****

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DAY 2: Monday 13th May

The Txakoli DO 

  • The premium minibus will pick us up early in the morning from Bilbao and will drive through the mountainous landscape of Basque Country to discover the most special white wine of the region, the Txakoli.

  • First winery: Gorka Izagirre. Learn everything about the Bizkaiko Txakoli wines from his enologist Gorka´s son José Ramon Calvo. Izagirre´s winery its a beautiful converted stone house where the old txakoli was made for self-consumption. Now, using modern and sustainable techniques they are expressing the best of our local varieties without forgetting the tradition and culture of the old days.

  • Second winery: Ameztoi. In the heart of the valleys of Getaria, overlooking the ocean and on the way to the famous Camino del Norte is located this stunning winery. In contrast to the first winery, Getariako Txakolis make their wines with a slight sparkle and with a much more focus in the minerality and the Atlantic character of its wines. In this winery you will get to understand everything about Pergola pruned vineyards and techniques for ecological viticulture in a maritime climate such as the Basque. 

  • A lovely lunch will be prepared for us in the Txoko of the winery overlooking the vineyards and the Cantabric sea. Tkoxos are special dedicated dining rooms equiped with commercial kitchens where Basque people gather to eat, drink and enjoy good conversations.

  • Stay in a wonderful 4* boutique hotel in the heart of Logroño, the capital of Rioja. Eurostars Fuerte Ruavieja is an 18th century converted old Riojano house that offers a charming accommodation in the heart of the Old Town but away from the crowds. With its own spa and plenty of restaurants and bars within walking distance you cannot base yourself in a better place during your time visiting the Rioja wine region

DAY 3: Tuesday 14th May

Rioja Alta and Stargazing

  • At 9am our small group will be picked up with the premium minivan and taken to Haro, the capital of Rioja Alta. During the journey you will have an introduction of the Rioja Alta wines by your hostess Teresa (WSET Diploma and wine educator)

  • You will visit the special Lopez de Heredia winery which is only open for visits to wine professionals. In this winery you will learn everything about the traditional Rioja style wines and you´ll taste their acclaimed red and whites wines (some of them have received the 100 Parker points)

  • Our second winery visited in Rioja Alta is Finca La Emperatriz, a "Chateau" style winery. His owner Eduardo Hernáiz will give an educational talk,  you will have a special wine tasting (and vertical tasting of their wines) and a charming picnic lunch will local products will be prepared for us in their vineyards.

  • After lunch we will drop you at the hotel to rest a little bit.

  • At dinner time we will head to Eltziego for an incredible stargazing and  night sky watching activity delivered by bodegas Valdelana. From the top of their vineyards you will be able to appreciate the Ebro river and the two main characteristic style of soils: clay and chalky-limestone. Dinner will be offered as a cockatil while we appreciate the landscape and stars.

  • Stay in the wonderful 4* boutique hotel in the heart of Logroño, the capital of Rioja. Eurostars Fuerte Ruavieja.

Image by Ferran Ventura

DAY 4: Wednesday 15th May

Rioja Alavesa and Sonsierra

Rioja Alavesa is known for the newer style of Rioja wines with the largest concentration of boutique family wineries. Less oak and a great focus in the respect for the vineyard.

  • Our special Rioja tour will take our wine lover group to the Bideona winery. The enologist of this winery is Tao Platon (Master of Wine to be) and he will show us the vineyards and will introduce us his wines and talk about the singularity of this part of Rioja.

  • After we will head to the impressive Ysios winery designed by Santiago Calatrava. This winery is the little gem of the Pernord-Ricard group with a very small yearly production. You will taste their premium and super premium Viñedos Singulares and Prephyloxeric wines from their stunning tasting room.

  • For lunch the group will head to Laguardia the capital of Rioja Alavesa. This meadival village is known as one of the most beautiful places in Basque Country with its cobbled streets and gothic churches. The whole town is filled with underground wineries where they still make the carbonic maceration wines (the Spanish Beaujolais). We will visit the Posada Mayor de Migueloa, with a tasting in the caves and followed by a fantastic traditional Riojano lunch

  • In the afternoon (and after a beautiful walk around the walls of Laguardia) we will head to visit a local wine cooperative, the Sonsierra cooperative considered by Tim Atkin as the best in the region. We will have a very special wine tasting so you can understand the importance of cooperative wines in a region such as Rioja.

  • The evening will be for you to rest and enjoy a free night in town by yourself or with the rest of the group (we will provide some recommendations of cool bars and restaurants)


  • Stay in the wonderful 4* boutique hotel in the heart of Logroño, the capital of Rioja. Eurostars Fuerte Ruavieja.

DAY 5:Thursday 16th of May

Castles, Caves and Rioja Oriental

  • In Logroño, the capital of Rioja, you will be meeting with the lovely project Rioja & Roll by the well known wine makers Brian McRobert and Barbara Palacios. These passionate young winemakers will explain how the new Rioja wines are moving and how they can work around the rules of a very strict DOCa Rioja Regulatory Council. A wine tasting will be prepared for you with this aim.

  •  Afterwards we will head to the Quel Castle in the Yerga range of mountains to meet the wine maker Javier Arizcuren and its pre-phyloxera vineyard. Javier will explain how Rioja Oriental is so different in terms of weather and soil to the rest of the region and will taste some special wines to understand the whole picture. We will have lunch in one of the caves with Javier.

  • After lunch you will have some free time to relax.

  • Thursday evening is the time when Spanish people love to go out for pintxos (the Basque tapas). We will head together for dinner in Laurel street in Logroño for a pintxo pote grabbing a pintxo and a wine in 4-5 different bars. A very social and fun experience that you cannot miss during your time in the Rioja region.

  • Stay in the wonderful 4* boutique hotel in the heart of Logroño, the capital of Rioja. Eurostars Fuerte Ruavieja.

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DAY 6: Friday 17th May

Rioja DOCa Board and Michelin* lunch

  • On our last day and before we head to Bilbao we will have a very exciting day. We will have the opportunity to visit the HQs of the DOCa Rioja and meet with some of the people behind it. You will try some of the wines made with grapes approved by the Rioja Control Board but almost extinguished and singular/author wines.

  • You´ll have the opportunity to visit the Vivanco winery to taste their exclusive wines and museum considered as one of the best ones in the world.  

  • The closing lunch will be at the Michelin starred restaurant Venta Moncalvillo where they have a cuisine farm to table and one of the best restaurant cellars in Spain.We will enjoy together in their private dining room a tasting menu lunch with wine pairings.

  • After lunch we will head to Bilbao where this Rioja and Txakoli wine trip for professionals finishes.



TERESA GUILARTE: Teresa is a certified sumiller, Dip WSET, official educator for the DOCa Rioja as well as Cava DO and Jerez (Sherry). At the moment she is studying the prestigious Master of Wine. She will be in charge of the educative part of the trip as well as the coordination of tastings in wineries and restaurants.

Teresa is part of Artean Wines, the most important WSET shcool in northern Spain, where they run different courses and other wine related studies. You couldn´t be in better hands when discovering the most prestigious wine regions of the North such as Txakoli and Rioja DOCa.

IRENE LÓPEZ: Irene is the owner of NSG, an specialised Tour Operator running food and wine tours in Basque Country. She has the WSET3 and she is currently studying the Dip WSET. Irene will take care of the coordination of the trip makings sure everything runs smoothly from hotels to premium transfer so you just can relax and sip your wine!

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About the Rioja Wine Diploma

Teresa and the Artean Wines School are authorised educators for the Rioja DOCa. Taken part of this trip will give you the opportunity to take home the Rioja Wine Diploma. 


A couple of months before the trip, an online account will be created for you so you can have exclusive access to the course content so you can start reading it and getting familiar with it. The first day of the trip Teresa will give in Bilbao the first Rioja masterclass and the rest of the days, the itinerary will be catered so all the most important materials of the course are explained in the vineyards/wineries.

After the trip you can do the exam online and hopefully get your Rioja Wine Diploma certified by the Rioja Wine Academy (sponsored by the Rioja DOCa)

*Taking part in the course/exam is completely optional and not compulsory for the trip. 

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