Rioja
: History

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

There is archaeological evidence that the Romans made wine in the upper Ebro valley (see spain, history). Wine trade was tolerated rather than encouraged under the Moorish occupation of Iberia, but viticulture flourished once more in Rioja after the Christian reconquest at the end of the 15th century. The name Rioja was already in use in one of the statutes written to guarantee the rights of inhabitants of territory recaptured from the Moors. Rioja’s wine industry grew around the numerous monasteries (see monks and monasteries) that were founded to serve pilgrims en route to Santiago de Compostela, and the region’s first wine laws date from this period.