European culture is interesting and popular in pop culture, and among the many is Spanish culture. Spanish wine is a vital part of living in Europe and Spanish culture involves some of its wines too; but there are many misconceptions surrounding this drink – in fact, the more you begin to know, the more you realize how much there you don’t know yet!

Spain is among the countries that have vast vineyards – actually, the country has more vineyards compared to anywhere else in the world, with over one million hectares under vineyard area. It is also strange that the Spanish people themselves know very little about one of their most popular exports. 

Spanish vineyards
Spanish vineyards combine perfect soil with blazing sun to produce a strong, refined wine

Spaniards do not consume wine (at least not that much)

This may sound strange, but do not expect a Spaniard to have the stereotypical image in your mind, or having the same drinking habits as their neighbors Italy, France and Portugal. The number of Spanish consumers is continuing to reduce, as statistics will tell you. Their 2011 consumption stood at 16th place in the world, but that has reduced by 20 percent since 2007.

If you want to see this in action, look no farther than bars within the country. The wine selection there is usually very bad, and people begin to avoid it in favor of other beverages.

You will get value for your money, even though the wine is expensive

Generally, Spanish wines will tend to be expensive, at least compared to other wines from the region. The most expensive bottle goes for more than $900, a figure that can easily scare many people off (even though many still do all they can to get their hands on these wines).

However, the price should not scare you off, especially if you can afford to buy it. Spanish wines give you very good value for your money, and you will not regret buying them.

You do not order by the grape, but by the region

The usual system is to order wines using the grapes they come from – but when dealing with Spanish wine, the opposite holds true. The wines are always classified by their region.

For instance, when you decide to go into a bar asking for a Merlot or Riesling, people will probably look at you as if you are lost, even if they do have those wines. However, when you have some basic knowledge about Spanish wines, you can order them correctly, as certain regions of the country will produce certain grapes with specific characteristics.

Spain has over 400 varieties of grapes

Yes, these are many grapes, though there are certain regions that produce the most grapes. These include Airen, Tempranillo, Parellada, Macabeo, and Garnacha. Airen happens to be the most widely cultivated, Tempranillo comes second, and Garnacha (grown mostly in Catalonia) comes third.

Do not ignore Sherries either

Even though sherry might not be a classic example of Spanish wine, you will need to fall in love with it while you are in Spain. Originating from the region of Jerez in the southern part of the country, no other territories of the world are allowed to call their wines sherry. For example, the way champagne wine is a protected mark of the Champagne region of France.

If you are interested in wines or a lover of wine, you cannot leave Spain without trying out sherry, and falling in love with it. Even though it may be a hard sell at first, it remains one of the most complex wines in the world and remains something you should discover.

There’s so much to love and so much to try in Spain. While you sip your beautiful glass and plan your next trip, we’ll leave you with this awesome video from the team over at Vinoa with their guide to the Rioja wine region. Cheers!