The wines of the Rías Baixas Designation of Origin have evolved from a wine-growing tradition that is deeply rooted in the 5 sub-zones of which it is made up. They are produced from indigenous grape varieties, such as Albariño, which achieve their full expression in the special wine-growing conditions of southern Galicia.
In Rías Baixas, we have a unique terroir. This, backed up with consistent levels of excellence and technological innovation in our vine-growing practices and winemaking, has led to the production of high quality wines expressing a wide variety of fresh Atlantic aromatic profiles. These include wines made from a single variety as well as those made from different varieties blended in varying proportions. Together, these wines have gained renown in all four corners of the world.
Wine production in the Rías Baixas has been documented as far back as the 5th century, but its development was first linked to Cistercian monasteries, such as that at Armenteira, and then to the nobility as a farming activity at manor houses and ‘pazos’. As from the 1950s, wine production became more professionalized, but it was in the 1980s that the crucial shift towards professionalization was made with the creation of the Rías Baixas Designation of Origin. The story of our Designation of Origin, its wines and wineries, is a fascinating one. Find out more!
The Rías Baixas region is particularly conducive to vine-production and most especially to the growing of the Albariño grape variety. Its climate, landscape, soils, indigenous grape varieties, together with the special influence of the Atlantic ocean, combine to create our unique wine-growing ecosystem. It is in this terroir that Albariño achieves its finest expression and develops all the subtle characteristics that make Albariño from Rías Baixas a unique wine.
The five sub-zones that make up the Rías Baixas Designation of Origin (Condado do Tea, O Rosal, Ribeira do Ulla, Soutomaior and Val do Salnés) are located within the highest quality areas, according to the Winkler index, which measures the average quality potential of specific wine areas.
Single variety wines made with the Albariño grape indisputably play the leading role in our Rías Baixas Designation of Origin. Albariño represents 96% of grape production and 95% of the wine production, the highest proportion being in the Salnés Valley sub-zone. At the same time however, one of the special features of the Rías Baixas Designation of Origin is its wide variety of grape varieties and its range of wines made from blends of different varieties. All of these are given the Rías Baixas quality seal and demonstrate the unique character of our 5 subzones (O Salnés, O Rosal, Condado de Tea, Ribeira do Ulla and Soutomaior). In all, 9 different types of wine are produced -all of them well worth discovering!
While the Albariño grape forms the cornerstone of our Designation of Origin, 13 other indigenous white and red varieties are grown alongside it. All of them are grown practising the time-honoured wine-growing traditions in each of the 5 subzones. These practices have been preserved over centuries by small family-run vineyards passed down from generation to generation. From 1988, vine growers and wine producers united their efforts in the professionalization of the sector and the development of high quality winemaking, which is today the hallmark of our Designation of Origin. Rías Baixas is synonymous with varietal diversity and can offer numerous wines of individual character across the 5 subzones.
Vine-growing in the Rías Baixas Designation of Origin has been for centuries in the expert hands of more than 5,000 growers who have always been dedicated to traditional vine-growing in the region’s tiny micro-plots. Working by hand in such tasks as pruning or harvesting has preserved a more eco-friendly approach. The traditional pergola training of the vines favours vine vegetation growth but also enables growers to take advantage of the land beneath the vine canopy to plant crops for personal consumption. Rías Baixas vineyards thus offer a real ecosystem in which insects, micro-organisms, soils and different crops contribute to maintaining the natural balance of the environment.