Article by Victoria Wood
Ronda is growing in popularity as a destination for wine tourism, with organised tours available from a multitude of operators, you can go private or in a group. The diversity of the vineyards and proximity to the coast make this the perfect day trip from Marbella.
The historic town of Ronda sits approximately one hour’s drive above Marbella, and has become one of the top destinations for a day trip in the region. The mountainous landscape, cultural atmosphere and rolling countryside all contribute to the allure that Ronda exudes, and one of the most luring attributes is the abundance of wineries that frequent the area. There are countless tours and operators that can guide you around the various sites but there are some good things to know before you select your route.
The famous drive there, via the Ronda road, will provide you with some awe-inspiring scenery, and as you approach the town itself you’ll be met with the view of ‘that’ iconic bridge which has become the landmark of the grand village teetering on top of the plunging gorge that frames it.
Enotourism is fast becoming one of the most popular activities for travellers in the world, and a visit to Andalucían vineyards will certainly not disappoint. Spain is a global leader in wine production and boasts the largest land area dedicated to vineyards in the world. The wine route that Ronda offers, known as the ‘Serranía de Ronda’, circumnavigates, as well as passes through, the town, so you’ll experience both the charm, architecture and culture of the historical centre and the stunning surrounding countryside. The regional wines are being noted internationally as well as locally with increasing appraisal, making Ronda a world-class destination for wine tasting.
The area here is relatively new (comparative to the rest of Spain) to the wine world in terms of its tours, however the neighbouring town, Acinipo, literally translates to ‘city of wine’, with archaeological relics proving its Roman origins as one of the few places to export wine back to the Empire. You will come across vineyards that are steeped in history dating back to the Romans, Phoenicians and Moors.
The micro-climate and geological diversity make way for the region to produce a rich variety of distinctive wines; Pinot Noir, Garnacha, Tempranillo, Syrah and Merlot to name a few. The route currently features around 20 wineries to choose from, often family-run traditional bodegas that are extremely welcoming and provide a true insight into the life behind a vineyard.
If you prefer to take your own transport and wander through the different bodegas at your own pace then this is absolutely achievable, you may even find yourself very happy at one in particular and end up there for lunch and well into the afternoon! If you’re going to plan your own then do some research as to where you are heading, how long it will take between vineyards and which ones to select (some only offer red wines for example), most sites suggest to limit the day to three bodegas to be able to really absorb everything they have to offer.
There are also some highly recommended tour operators that can offer experience and efficiency when it comes to getting the most out of your day – as well as being the designated driver and allowing you to try as many wines as you like! Trip Advisor has a list of around 20 different options including Julia Travel Costa Del Sol, Andalsur Excursiones, Costa Excursions, Tour Travel and More, and Rootz Wine Tours. There are also options to go by buggy with TopBuggy, or electric bike with Edible Bike Tours or Hike and Bike the Sierras, if you’re looking for something a little more adventurous.
A selection of bodegas:
Here is an outline of a select few of the recommended bodegas to give a better understanding of what to expect when visiting the region’s vineyards.
This is the smallest winery in the region of Andalucía and has a comparatively small crop and yield compared to other vineyards in the area. However, this boutique bodega boasts some incredible wines. Two in particular; the Petit Verdot and the other, named after the owners themselves, the Vetas Selection. Juan and Maria Vetas (the second generation of the Vetas family) run this highly acclaimed winery and are pioneers in red wines and using the Petit Verdot grape in Spain. Taking a tour of the one hectare vineyard doesn’t take as long as with the more vast ones, however this one keeps things personal. The owners tell a tale of nature; the wind, sun, grape and soil combining perfectly, as well as answer any questions you may have while you sit back with a glass and look out over the beautiful fields. They use a unique method to maximise quality that incorporates a natural style of wine making, one that they are very passionate about and gracious in sharing their knowledge.
Location: Camino Nador, S/N, 29350 Arriate, Málaga.
BODEGA DOÑA FELISA
Surrounded by the mountains and located close to Acinipo, you will find this renowned and unique bodega run by José Maria Losantos and his wife Gema Alonso. Originating from Burgos the couple fell in love with Ronda and especially “this marvellous corner of Andalucía which offers such unequalled conditions for the elaboration of fine wines”, soon converting their love of wine into a thriving family-run business and a new way of life.
To tour the Doña Felisa winery you can choose from a 30 minute wine-tasting from their extensive selection, accompanied with home-made tapas, or you can take the guided tour which includes walking the vineyards and production sites, experiencing the entire story of how the ‘grape gets to the glass’, and soaking up the incredible views, depending on the time of your visit this can be rounded off with some exquisite local dishes (served to compliment the wine of course) for lunch or dinner. There is even on-site accommodation if you really can’t bear to leave.
Location: Cordel del Puerto al Quejigal s/n C.P. 29400 Ronda, Málaga.
BODEGAS DESCALZOS VIEJOS
This incredibly charming winery is steeped in history, thus pertaining to its popularity. The bodega, once a convent founded in 1505. In 1608 the convent was given to the Orden Reformada de los Trinitarios Descalzos. This order moved on but the ‘Descalzos Viejos’ (hence the name which literally means ‘old barefooted ones’) continued at the site to tend to the orchards. Since then the place was used for mostly agriculture until 1998 when the current owners (the Retamero and Salesi families) bought the property and began restoration to turn it into the headquarters of the winery, next to the recently planted vineyards in the lower part of the property.
They have done an incredible job of bringing back many of the architectural features of the property, including original frescoes, which is now worth a visit alone – the production room is actually based in the old monastery. A tour of this vineyard and its beautiful surroundings takes place in small groups or a private tour can be arranged, as one review states “The care shown to preserve the buildings, seems matched by the care taken to produce distinctive, bold wines.”
Location: Partido los Molinos s/n0, 29400 Ronda, Spain
During the tour, whether planned by you or a guide, you’ll be sure to experience some of the gastronomic delights that Ronda and the surrounding region is famous for. Many of the bodegas can organise lunches or dinners, or you can simply tapas hop in the streets of the old town. However, be sure to try as many of the local, traditional dishes as possible, alongside your wines of course, to fully appreciate the unmistakable tastes of Andalucía.
LIST OF BODEGAS & CONTACT INFO:
BODEGA ANTIGUA REAL FABRICA DE RONDA
Camino del Rio Genal – Juzcar
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel: (+34) 619 751 164
BODEGA CASTILLO DE RONDA
Calle Guadalimar, 2
Tel: (+34) 686 546 070
Finca Buenavista, Gaucin
Tel: (+34) 650 240 800
Coto de la Viña San Jacinto, Carretera el Burgo KM 4, Ronda
Tel: (+34) 951 166 035
BODEGA DESCALZOS VIEJOS
Partido de los molinos, Antiguo Convento de los Descalzos.
Tel: (+34) 607 167 482 or (+34) 952 874 696
BODEGA DOÑA FELISA
Cordel del puerto el Quejigal.
Tel: (+34) 951 166 033
Cordel del puerto el Quejigal.
Tel: (+34) 666 479 711 or (+34) 951 776 030
BODEGA F SCHATZ
Finca la Sanguijela, Ronda
Tel: (+34) 952 871 313 or (+34) 678 664 105
BODEGA GARCIA HIDALGO
Llano de la Cruz.
Tel: (+34) 600 487 284
BODEGA GONZALO BELTRAN
Hoya de los Molinos – Finca la Nogalera.
Tel: (+34) 629 455 558
BODEGA JOAQUIN FERNÁNDEZ
Finca los Frutales – paraje de los Frontones, 2
Tel: (+34) 951 166 043
Los Frontones, 67, Llano de la Cruz, Huerta el Corchero.
Tel: (+34) 618 685 152 or (+34) 952 879 554
BODEGAS LA SANGRE
Calle Gonzalez Campos, 2
Tel: (+34) 952 879 735
Carretera Ronda – El Burgo, KM 1
Tel: (+34) 649 690 847
BODEGAS PASOS LARGOS
Carretera Ronda El Burgo, KM 1
Tel: (+34) 673 235 072
BODEGA LA MELONERA
Los Frontones – Llano de la Cruz, Ronda
Tel: (+34) 951 194 018 or (+34) 661 472 979
Cortijo de Morosanto – La Cimada. Carretera Arriate – Setenil, KM 1.6
Tel: (+34) 662 671 111 or (+34) 692 187 616
BODEGA RAMOS PAUL
Ronda la Vieja – Carretera Ronda la Vieja – Villalones.
Tel: (+34) 637 517 993
BODEGA RONDA LA VIEJA
Carretera Acinipo KM 12 – Finca el Chantre
Tel: (+34) 676 493 723
Partido Rural Los Molinos.
Tel: (+34) 697 911 440 (Spain) / 7505353111 (UK)
Carretera Ronda – Campillos, Camino de Nador
Tel: (+34) 647 177 620
BODEGA CORTIJO LOS AGUILARES
Carretera Campillos KM 5, Puente de la Ventilla
Tel: (+34) 952 874 457