Rioja Wine Scenery Photography - Late autumn in La Rioja, Spain

Wine Landscape La Rioja Spain by James Sturcke

Rioja Wine Scenery Photography

Baking hot in summer and freezing cold in winter, the Rioja weather can batter the senses throughout the year. It’s a climate of contrasts over the seasons, months and sometimes even over a few hours. Very chilly mornings can turn into beautifully pleasant days. Beautifully pleasant mornings can turn into brutally hot afternoons. And so on and so forth.

I was looking for photos that show this contrast visually. There’s a certain patience involved in these images; in my six years living here I’ve found that it’s rare for there to be so much snow in the mountains while the vines are still so alive and leafy. But for a day or two last month there was a moment when a barmy autumn lingered in the Ebro valley while winter had very much arrived in the 2,000m peaks of the Sierra de la Demanda mountain range.

Late autumn in La Rioja, Spain

Apart from being stunningly beautiful this climate of contrasts is fundamental to giving Rioja wine its character. Mix the climate with the soil type, orientation of the plots and you get a uniqueness that the French call ‘terroir’. Add to that tender loving care and generations of experience and you get the possibility of making singular Rioja wines of a type which are increasingly prized and sought after both locally and afar.