Return to New World Wines


The coun­try has the lar­gest area under vine in the world. About 967,000 hec­ta­res of viney­ards are cul­ti­va­ted by about 150,000 wine­ma­kers in near­ly 5,000 bode­gas (wine­ries) and bot­t­ling plants. In 2014, Spain beca­me the world’s lar­gest export­er of wine for the first time.

Spain has an anci­ent wine tra­di­ti­on and is con­side­red a mul­ti­face­ted wine giant. With more than 1 mil­li­on hec­ta­res under cul­ti­va­ti­on for wine, Spain is the world’s lea­der. These vast are­as are far­med by over 150,000 wine­ma­kers and some 5,000 bode­gas. Through iron stri­ving for qua­li­ty, well-considered viti­cul­tu­re as well as sophisti­ca­ted pro­ces­sing tech­ni­ques, Spanish wine has suc­cee­ded in gai­ning world­wi­de fame and app­re­cia­ti­on. Due to the diver­se cha­rac­te­ristics of the ter­ro­ir, Spain can offer a gre­at varie­ty of incom­pa­ra­ble red and white wines, which on the one hand con­vin­ce through typi­cal varie­tal and on the other hand through indi­vi­du­al cha­rac­ter traits.

Three cli­ma­tic zones in par­ti­cu­lar cha­rac­te­ri­ze the wine pro­files: the very cool north, the hot table coun­try and the dry coas­tal regi­on. Most of the award-winning wines come from the north of Spain. Since the qua­li­ty offen­si­ve, Rioja and Navarra have beco­me the flag­ship of Spanish red wine. But the­se two regi­ons are also at the top in terms of white wine. Other Spanish regi­ons such as Catalonia, with the Priorato and Penédes gro­wing are­as, and the Rueda and Ribera del Duero are­as have deve­lo­ped stron­gly. The south of Spain, on the other hand, has been known for cen­tu­ries for for­ti­fied wines such as sher­ry. Spanish red wine is cha­rac­te­ri­zed by the enorm­ous diver­si­ty of gra­pe varie­ties. Today, it is said that over 600 dif­fe­rent gra­pe varie­ties are still grown in Spain. Despite this gre­at diver­si­ty, only a few gra­pe varie­ties are very suc­cessful. These form the basis for most of Spain’s red wines. First and fore­most is the Tempranillo, which con­vin­ces with its sil­ky and ripe cha­rac­ter. This is often sup­ple­men­ted with Garnacha and Monastrell, the­se round off the cha­rac­ter of Tempranillo per­fect­ly. The gre­at qua­li­ty of Spanish white wines was long rather unknown. But this has chan­ged in recent years. The fresh and frui­ty white wines from Albarino, Verdejo & Co. are gai­ning more and more fame, enjoy­ing incre­asing popu­la­ri­ty and caus­ing a stir inter­na­tio­nal­ly time and again.

Vino de Mesa (VdM) / Vino de España
The desi­gna­ti­on Vino dde Mesa is now ban­ned. According to the new labe­l­ing (Vino de España), the­se wines may also con­tain gra­pe varie­ty and or/year infor­ma­ti­on. It is the lowest qua­li­ty level.

Vino de la Tierra (VdT) / Indicación Geográfica Protegida (IGP)
Vino de la Tierra (Land Wine) or the new term Indicación Geográfica Protegida (Protected Geographical Indication) is a pre­di­ca­te for typi­cal ter­ri­to­ri­al wines. The wine must be from the defi­ned area and from aut­ho­ri­zed gra­pe varie­ties and must meet the defi­ned qua­li­ta­ti­ve requirements.

Denominación de Origen (DO) / Denominación de Origen Protegida (DOP)
This is the con­trol­led deno­mi­na­ti­on of ori­gin, or in the future the pro­tec­ted desi­gna­ti­on of ori­gin, which, as with the French AOP desi­gna­ti­on, pre­scri­bes strict cri­te­ria regar­ding yields, gra­pe varie­ties, viti­cul­tu­re and vini­fi­ca­ti­on tech­ni­ques, type of har­ve­st and alco­hol con­tent, as well as pre­scrib­ing wine ana­ly­ses and tastings.

Denominación de Origen Calificada (DOCa) / Denominación de Origen Protegida (DOP)
The DOCa has been the hig­hest qua­li­ty level for wine regi­ons, who­se out­stan­ding viney­ards are par­ti­cu­lar­ly careful­ly con­trol­led. Rioja first recei­ved this sta­tus in 1991. Priorat fol­lo­wed; howe­ver, DOQ is often used here ins­tead of DOCa. Due to the new desi­gna­ti­on law, the­se regi­ons will also be DOP in the future.

from coun­try reports WEIN+MARKT 3|2024

Spanish wine imports to Germany are rising due to low pri­ces, alt­hough the pri­ce per hec­to­li­ter fell by 3% in the pre­vious year. Spain is now in second place in Germany in terms of volu­me with 4.21 mil­li­on hec­to­li­ters and has increased sales by 10.6%. Although imports of bulk wine increased by 14 per­cent, its share remains at 78 per­cent, while Spain achie­ved sales of 189 mil­li­on euros with bot­t­led wine. The share of white wine in imports rose to 67 per­cent, while that of red wine fell to 33 per­cent, and liqueur wines recor­ded an increase of 0.9 per­cent by volu­me and 9 per­cent by turnover.