Wine is a powerful tourist engine. Wine tourism has more and more followers and practically everything has been created around it. But when we want to combine wineries with culture, gastronomy, rural tourism, leisure, heritage and tradition, then the Wine Routes are the ones that take the lead. There are already 34 registered Wine Routes in Spain and in Castilla y León, where there are nine, the Zamora Wine Route begins to offer its full potential since it began its journey in September 2021.
A Wine Route is much more than wine. In Zamora there are already three, Arribes, Toro and now also Zamora, which correspond to the three Denominations of Origin that we find here, the DO Arribes, the DO Toro and the DO Land of Zamora Wine. But it is important that we do not confuse one thing with another, because while a DO endorses and defines the wines of a certain area, a Wine Route is an association for tourism that seeks to promote and publicize the gastronomy, culture, heritage and productive wealth of a particular region. Always, of course, with wine as the common thread.
Zamora, Land of Wine
Around the provinces of Zamora and Salamanca, wine has traditionally given its name to the territory, and it is not by chance that we find municipalities that bear it by last name: Corrales del Vino, Morales del Vino, Gema del Vino, Moraleja del Vino or El Cubo de la Land of Wine. Here the cultivation of the vine was until well into the 20th century the main sustenance of the rural economy, and we can still see that in its vineyards of centuries-old vines. And today, the region known as Tierra del Vino extends far and wide over an area of almost 1,800 km2 spread over a total of 57 municipalities: 47 from Zamora and 10 from Salamanca.
Tierra del Vino is, in fact, the Denomination of Origin that defends and protects the wines that are made here. Wines whose main grapes are Tempranillo, among the red ones, and Malvasia, Moscatel de Grano Menudo and Verdejo, among the white ones. Although among the complementary ones other reds such as Garnacha and Cabernet-Sauvignon or other whites such as Albillo, Palomino and Godello are also included. With them, a few wines are made with care, not many, in small traditional wineries in which quality always prevails over quantity. Small producers who now, and thanks to the Zamora Wine Routeopen their doors to visitors so that we can all get to know, learn and taste with them among the vineyards and barrels.
A local route tailored to you
As its name suggests, the Wine Route is obviously wine, but it is also gastronomy, rural tourism, cultural heritage, traditions and nature. Through it, wineries and other associated local companies help each other to publicize the products of their land, so that visitors on the same trip can add different ingredients to get a final cocktail with a little of everything. Small producers, accommodation, leisure activities and selected restaurants are also not lacking in this plan so that your immersion in Zamora lacks nothing.
“In Zamora, when we hear about the rise of local products and ‘Km 0’ it makes us laugh, because it has always been like that here,” says Eva Gamazo, manager of the Zamora Wine Route. And it is true, in Zamora you can sit down to enjoy authentic gastronomic delicacies and the products may have traveled fewer kilometers than you to reach that table. The cheese may be from the town next door, the chickpeas from a little further away, the chorizo from someone the cook knows, the lamb from the owner’s family, the vegetables from a nearby orchard, the sweets from a traditional bakery and the came, of course, from the Land of Wine in Zamora. So the quality and freshness of everything you put in your mouth is guaranteed.
So that you can get to know many of its products for yourself, the Zamora Wine Route proposes and provides, and you choose what you want to visit and experience. That is to say, we are not talking about a route made, but about a route that is tailored to your needs. You can configure the plan as you want and for this you only have to take a look at all the proposals included in the Wine Route. With what you decide, the organization will create a personalized itinerary adjusted to the time you have available and what you want to do and visit. What do you want to know about a winery? Perfect, you have a choice. What do you want to learn how to make chocolate? No problem. What do you want to rest in a rural accommodation? Great. What do you want to see how internationally prestigious cheeses are made? You only have to ask for it. What if you want to do a tasting with wine pairing in the middle of a century-old vineyard? Well, you have also come to the right place.
The Wine Route will listen to your requests, organize the perfect trip for you, coordinate everything between the collaborating companies and give you a tight budget so that you can put yourself in their hands. With everything done, you just have to remember to enjoy each experience with all five senses.
A wine plan, yes. But not only wine.
The Zamora Wine Route includes wines, obviously, but also many other things. You will find wineries, restaurants, shops, hotels and rural accommodation, leisure activities, guided tours and even agro-industrial tourism in which you can discover small cheese factories, bakeries or chocolate shops. Everything combined and configured in your own way gives rise to your own Zamora Wine Route. The difficult thing, as your days will surely be numbered, will be choosing what you keep.
In total there are six wineries that are part of the Zamora Wine Route and all of them produce wines collected by the DO Tierra del Vino de Zamora. Domain of Sexmil, Castillo de Buen Amor, El Soto, Jarreño, Viñas del Cenote and Viña Ver are its protagonists and all are open to receive your visit. You will be able to get to know their vineyards and their cellars, where you will learn about their production process and they will explain all the details you want to know about each of their wines. And of course you can taste them, because a visit to a winery without tasting is neither a visit nor a winery.
For example, while Bodegas El Soto can organize a tasting among the vineyards at the foot of the impressive ruins of the Monastery of Nuestra Señora del Soto, in Villanueva de Campeán, in Dominio de Sexmil you will be able to discover 150-year-old vines, which are more which plants look like small trees. Afterwards, you will be able to get to know his cellar, see his barrels and taste wines such as his Brochero, his Domain of Sexmil, the Domain of Sexmil Summa edition or even the 150. And if you also want to learn about wines in an incomparable setting, then you should not go through something the Castle of Good Love, in Topas (Salamanca). A spectacular fortress from the 11th century, converted into a palace in the 15th century and which today is Posada Real, so it can also be one of your accommodations during the Zamora Wine Route. In total there are nine accommodations associated with the route, but if you want your stay to be closely linked to the gastronomy of the place and the wines in particular, then you should not overlook the rural tourism center La Becera, in Peñausende, where any The conversation you have with Vicente Rodrigo, its attentive and passionate owner, will already have been worth the trip.
To put the wines you have known so far on the table and enjoy them as they deserve, the Zamora Wine Route also includes a total of ten restaurants where you can enjoy the local cuisine, including the Castillo de Buen Love and the Becera. To live an authentic experience, nothing like going underground and entering some old underground cellars to taste the dishes of the Bodega Valcabadino restaurant, specializing in oven roasts such as lamb, suckling pig or skewered fish, and where it would be a crime Don’t leave a hole for your rice pudding for dessert. Reserve another day to eat at the Hotel Casa Aurelia, preferably on its very pleasant terrace, and thus try some of the typical dishes that have made the octogenarian Aurelia famous, such as Fuentesauco chickpeas with mushrooms or lamb stew.
To go one step further and do some interesting activity while you sleep, eat and drink, the Zamora Wine Route offers you five agro-industrial tourism options: three cheese dairies, a traditional workshop and a chocolate artisan. To let yourself be intoxicated by the smell of its cold rooms, a visit to the Laurus artisan cheese factory, in Torres del Carrizal, will take you through the entire cheese process through its facilities, where you can see and taste some of its works made with milk of sheep. “In addition to traditional cheese in its three maturities, we have ventured to make semi-soft and spreadable pastes, which are very popular among the youngest”, says Óscar Gómez, owner of Laurus. “And to complete the visit we include a tasting accompanied by wine in our cellar, where the best cheeses mature, while an explanatory video of the entire production process is viewed,” he adds.
If we want to add a sweet touch to our particular Wine Route, then we cannot fail to include a stop at the Refart chocolate shop. In it, José Luis Refart has spent six years making fine and delicate chocolates with raw materials brought from Ecuador, the Ivory Coast and Ghana, and he will teach you how to handle chocolate throughout the entire process, from the time it is melted in the first step until it is converted in tablets or chocolates. “We offer a wide variety of chocolate bars, the traditional white, milk and black, as well as multiple combinations with coffee, cinnamon, mint, honey, cheese or liquorice,” explains José Luis, “but we also make chocolates with various fillings , such as hazelnuts, almonds, coffee, caramel and wafers, or even liqueur and chocolates with 100% Zamora honey”.
Of course, the Zamora Wine Route also offers the possibility of visiting the city of Zamora accompanied by an official guide in order to get to know in detail “the well-fenced one” that rises on the banks of the Duero. In it, 23 Romanesque churches of the more than 40 that it once had are preserved, and from this legacy inherited from the late 12th and early 13th centuries we can jump to the modernism of the 20th century without even changing streets.