On the way to Bilbao we passed through La Rioja, a province that is to Northern Spain what Sonoma and Napa are to Northern California. We stopped for the night in Elceigo.
The entire region is dotted with hundreds of wineries. Imagine that in the midst of all this you’d like to separate your business from the riff raff. What do you do? Well, if you’re the Marques de Riscal winery, you take a look up the road to Bilbao and think, “Hey, if the Guggenheim can do it, why not us?’ Then you pick up the phone and call “1800GetFrank” and in one bold stroke you elevate your medium sized vino factory above all comers and transform it into to a world class destination complete with extensive tours, every hour, in 5 languages, a great big gift and wine shop, a five star hotel, café, super spa and a renowned restaurant.
The Frank Gehry designed building sits at the top of the hill glimmering in the sun. Like a giant magnet it sucks in buses and cars from all over the continent. It is a force of nature, when you see it shining on the horizon you just can’t help but stop. And I don’t even drink wine.
All roads end at the wine tasting.