3rd International Congress of Historic Wine Cellar Districts

3rd International Congress of Historic Wine Cellar Districts
News Rioja Alta Wine Route

The Rioja Oriental Wine Route is organising the 3rd International Congress of Historic Wine Cellar Districts, taking up the baton from the Rioja Alta Wine Route and Bodegas Lecea, which hosted the first two editions, and continuing in the line of valuing the Historic Wine Cellar Districts.
Thus, on 4 and 5 November, the Centro Fundación Caja Rioja in Arnedo will host this international event, which can be attended in person or followed live via streaming. Numerous experts in the field will meet to discuss the reality of these historic spaces, the problems they face and the future prospects for a sustainable context and permanent activity.
This edition will consider how to face the future of the work carried out so far in the identification and recovery of these wine-growing environments that are part of our memory, our culture and the history of our towns and villages. After twenty years of work, the winery districts are of interest to the heritage and society, but above all they need to reflect on their survival and ensure that this can be assured by themselves.
But in addition to this reflective approach, the speakers and those attending the conference will be able to take part in the activities that will be offered, such as visits to the heritage of the area and to our neighbourhoods and wineries, while also enjoying our exquisite gastronomy.
In order to broaden the content and give space to those people who wish to show their experiences of the historic winery districts, those interested may send posters with their contribution, which will later be selected by the organisers for possible editing and publication on the Internet, with the aim of visually accompanying the conference during which the programme takes place.


The programme of the 3rd International Congress of Historic Wine Cellar Districts will address issues such as the very definition of wine cellar districts, the role of traditional wine cellars, the activity that takes place in them today, but, above all, the difficulties and opportunities they present and the possible solutions to join forces for a sustainable management that guarantees their continuity and can turn them into a factor of development for the territory and for the people.
With the aim of organising a congress that can present diverse experiences from different areas, we have tried to bring together as many voices as possible to debate the different aspects that are raised, voices that are also deeply rooted in the localities and linked to the people who keep this heritage alive and active on a day-to-day basis.
Thus, the programme includes a series of Round Tables where the specialists will have 20 minutes each to make their presentation and, after this, a debate will be held on the topic presented.

Thursday, 4 November

The programme begins with an overview of the state of the question and the approaches that, after so many years of enthusiasm, concern and work, have assailed those involved in the recovery of the winery districts. Led by Marta Palacios, who began with the studies of these neighbourhoods almost two decades ago, we will consider what problems we have encountered after this time of achievements and what needs to be taken into account for the future. She will be accompanied by the architects José María Peláez, responsible for the work that COAR is currently carrying out on the Barrio de Bodegas in La Rioja and a connoisseur of one of the most socially active such as Medrano, Jesús Marino Pascual, a pioneer in the drafting of general plans for the recovery of the winery districts in La Rioja, and the geologist Alberto Bandrés, who is familiar with the conditioning factors and problems for the preservation of traditional wineries and who knows the subsoil of La Rioja, for example in Arnedo.
This will be followed by a discussion on the definition of winery districts, because it is not only in the suburbs or outside the villages that traditional cellars are developed, and their cultural functioning as a neighbourhood can also be found in the centre of towns. On this subject, the anthropologist Luis Vicente Elías will present the case of Logroño, the architect Alfredo Sanz his studies on Aranda de Duero and nearby towns in Ribera de Duero, the archaeologist Asunción Martínez, the approaches of Requena in the neighbourhood of the village and Jorge Luis Mazaira, a technician of the DO Valdeorras on the sustainability of the ruta das covas. Its characteristics may have an impact on its possibilities for recovery and future management.
The fundamental reason for the existence of the cellar districts is the wine, its production and ageing. In all of this, their possibilities of use and maintenance must also be found. Elena López, as an engineer, will present the possibilities that traditional cellars have for winemaking in comparison with more modern cellars. This approach will be supported by the experiences of Rioja winemakers such as Luis Alberto Lecea in San Asensio, Berta Valgañón in Cuzcurrita, or Bodegas Queirón in Quel with Pablo García Mancha, who will show how wine can be made in the wine cellar districts and what needs to be taken into account for this purpose. On this day we will visit different examples of cave paintings in Arnedo, the cellars of its most traditional quarter, as well as the Caves of the Hundred Pillars.

Friday, 5th November

The second day will focus on the management and sustainability aspects of Barrios de Bodegas, with their recovery, and which aim to be active and be an asset for the localities in which they are located. Divided into two round tables, examples will be presented such as Atauta, which has received the award for Best Practice in Historic and Ethnological Sites of Castilla y León in 2021, with its mayor Adolfo Tomás and Tomás Herrero, engineer and coordinator of the research group on Geovisualisation of Singular Spaces and Heritage of the Polytechnic University of Madrid (UPM), who spoke on the subject, (UPM) who spoke on the locality, Campo de Borja and its uses and management of the winery landscape with the historian and anthropologist Vicente Chueca, the winery districts as assets of cultural interest and ethnographic value of Lagunilla with the architect Guillermo Arce, and the proposal for the recovery of the Leza de Río Leza wine cellar heritage as a singular space for wineries by the sommelier Raúl Martínez.
After a break, Gerard Bonhomme will present the case of ASCA, the Assiciation pour la Sauvegarde des Caves d’Aubiere, which will explain the management model they are developing with this heritage through their association, from its recovery, use, heritage performance, events, social revitalisation, viticulture… A complete example of neighbourhood management. Gloria Martín will then present the case of Mucientes, the recovery of its wine cellars and its link to the DO Cigales wine cellar and interpretation classroom. The winery district of Quel will be the protagonist from this point onwards, as Benilde Sancho, director of the Association of Friends of the Winery District of Quel, will present the dynamisation and management of this neighbourhood from the social fabric of the town. Finally, as an example of this dynamic, Javier Arizcuren, who combines an architectural, winery, oenological and wine tourism perspective, will talk about his experience of recovering a traditional cellar in this neighbourhood and its material and cultural value for his brand of wine.
After the final debate, which will take place as in the rest of the round tables, there will be a visit to the Barrio de Bodegas de Quel, where the Congress will be brought to a close.

Download full programme


In-person format. Please contact the technical secretary of the organisation by e-mail fundacion@fundacion-cajarioja.es, who will send you a registration form with an account number to which the amount of 30 euros must be paid, in order to make it effective and reserve, with this admission, the visits associated with the congress. Capacity will be limited to 50 people.
Online format. To follow the presentations and debates live via streaming, please fill in the form that will appear on the website of the Rioja Oriental Wine Route (www.rutadelvinoriojaoriental.com), organiser of the Congress, so that those interested can receive the link and the credentials for the connection.


Interested participants may send posters showing their experience or contribution to the congress with title, author, a text of 800 words incorporating a graphic resource in high resolution PDF format with a minimum size of DIN A3. The organisation will decide on their admission to the congress and the opportunity of their edition and/or publication on the Web to be presented at the congress meetings.