I had planned to spend my whole time in Rioja with purple lips, bouncing from winery to winery until I just couldn't take it anymore. At the recommendation of our hotel director, I decided to branch out and start with a trip to the Dinastía Vivanco Museo de la cultura de vino (Vivanco family culture of wine museum) in Briones, Spain. The museum is locally touted as one of the best museums on the subject in the world, and it truly is incredibly well done, from its picturesque location at the base of Briones surrounded in grapevines from its vineyard to its open modern architecture, to the interactive museum displays. This museum could make even a tea-totaler interested in wine production: it truly is one of the best museums on any subject I have visited.
The museum's exhibit structure must have been the creation of a winemaker: it takes you room by room through the process of making wine from the land, the process (crush, chemical process, fermentation, barreling) , the bottling, the distribution, to the enjoyment of wine. Some of the highlights include the 3,000 piece corkscrew display separated by genre, the smell of the full oak barrels in the octagonal wine cellar, and fascinating and well done movies about making corks, bottles, and oak barrels. The end of the tour ends up at the tasting room (where any good tour should end), where you enjoy their latest creation while watching the sun set over their 3,000 hectare vineyard.