Alicante has been famous for its tourism for decades. Alicante’s sunshine, beaches, mild climate prompted Wenceslao Fernández Flores to call it “the home of Spring”. Then there’s the delicious food, the palm trees and the exotic fruits that give it a touch of sensual beauty.
But besides that image of blue domes, mountains stretching down to the sea, palms and band music, there’s another Alicante, a rich and diverse side only a few kilometres away from the coast and within easy reach, where vineyards, olive groves, fig trees and unspoilt countryside create the Wines of Alicante landscape. These are very individual wines, with terroir, which speak of their arid, dry climate, of castles on mountain tops, of restrained literature, gastronomy halfway between the Mediterranean and Castile, sober people and Mediterranean history.
Nowadays you can visit wineries and destinations in the Alicante interior by following some of the routes and options we suggest here:
Route through La Marina Alta
The La Marina Alta route takes in the area of Benissa, Teulada, Xaló and Parcent, plus the famous Valle del Pop, the closest to the Mediterranean Sea. You can stop at several wineries that welcome visitors enthusiastically. For example, Bodegas Xaló and the small family wineries of Bodegas Parcent. You can have lunch and if you go on a Saturday you can explore the Xaló street market.
A little way further on, in Alfaz del Pí and very close to Benidorm, you’ll find the Enrique Mendoza winery, which runs tours and wine tastings in a beautiful estate.
Routes through the Vinalopó Medio
Route 1: From Monóvar to Pinoso you travel through there is a broad valley full of vineyards and with one of the area’s most distinctive landscapes.
Starting from Petrer, you can visit Bodegas Bocopa, a large business group comprising most local producers and offering wine tourism with guided tours, tastings, etc. In the same area of Elda and Petrer, you can also explore the curious Footwear Museum or eat alongside creative specialists in La Sirena or in Pastelería Totel (Paco Torreblanca); you might even fancy a trip to the various brand outlets to shop for designer footwear. Wines, fashion, gastronomy. It’s an interesting mix, isn’t it?
Monóvar has always been one of Spain’s historic wine centres. This is home to Monastrell and Fondillón. One of the wineries, Primitivo Quiles, is steeped in winemaking history. You’ll find it in the centre to town, right next to the pretty bullring. This family winery makes a range of wines and they have the first Fondillón to get points on the Parker Rating System.
In Monóvar you have to take short walk to get to the Azorín House-Museum, the church and the casino in this charming and traditional town.
On your way to Pinoso you’ll find large and small wineries, including El Mañán, Bodegas Alejandro and Brotons. They all offer wines in the style of small wineries plus authentic traditional shops. You can smell wine everywhere you go.
Very soon you arrive in Pinoso (unless you stopped to have lunch in one of the little villages on the way, such as Enzebras, Casas del Señor or Úbeda, where they make the area’s best rice dishes and stews, many of which are cooked over fires fuelled by vine shoots). Pinoso is a small but attractive town with several wineries. You may want to visit La Bodega de Pinoso, with its large, early 20th century brick building. Or perhaps Volver, Vivanza or the modern facilities at El Sequé. People traditionally go to Pinoso for the wine and to eat. Gazpachos, “Perusas” (homemade sweets), traditional sausages and lots of other delicious treats from this part of the Mediterranean.
From Pinoso you can link up with the Jumilla Wine Route through Las Cañadas, one of the most arid, mysterious and secluded places in the area.
Route 2: Most of the wineries in this northern area can be found in Villena. Before coming here you could visit Sax, whose castle seems to defy the laws of gravity and beneath which lie the vineyards owned by the Bodega Cooperativa. If you go to Salinas you can visit the charming winery of Finca Collado, set in a tranquil spot and surrounded by vines, where they will take special care of you.
In Villena you can visit large estates like Chaconero de Mendoza or look round small wineries like Vinessens. On the road to Pinoso you might want to stop awhile to gaze at the peaceful valley of Salinas and explore the spectacular Bodegas Francisco Gómez, or continue a bit further to Bodegas Sierra Salinas, which offers tastings of its popular red wines.
In the town are two other wineries, Bernabé Navarro and Bodega Nuestra Señora de las Virtudes, where you can buy top quality wine and oil.
Villena is an ideal town for exploring on foot, with a historic centre, churches, museums and the famous Treasure. If you drop into the Tourist Office they can recommend the best places both in town and in the surrounding area. Make sure you don’t miss the magnificent castle of Biar, the road through the Benexama Valley (Bodegas Bernabé Navarro is on this road) packed with vines, olive groves and fruit trees, towards the impressive castle of Banyeres de Mariola.
Other Tours / Areas
From Alicante to Vinalopó on the A31 road to Madrid is Novelda, where you’ll find Heretat de Cesilia, a relatively new winery that offers wine tourism in an area where vineyards are being recovered for wine production alongside the traditional “Uva Embolsada” (bagged table grapes). A visit to this town could be rounded off with a tour of the castle of La Mola, La Magdalena church and the Modernist museum.
Alternatively, you could take a trip to Alicante’s most mountainous region, with a different climate and spectacular countryside, and take a look at the winery of Vins del Comtat in Cocentaina. They run winery tours and trips round the mountain region that some refer to as “Alicante’s answer to Tuscany”, with castles, cherries, ancient olive trees and the Natural Parks of Sierra de Mariola and Montcabrer. On your way you could stop off in Alcoy, one of the towns that has made the most of the rugged local countryside, a bustling place with lots of shops and charm, and where the sound of gunpowder and brass bands takes over the streets at certain times of year.
Another interesting option is closer to Elche. In his fruitful field, and in the village of Matola, a small but unique winery has regained growing grapes with muscat grape varieties. Bodegas Faelo has modernized the famous ” Matola´s wine.” Feeling that area is always a pleasure because you will find the fields between palms and a rich variety of irrigated agriculture and high value products.
Of course, if you coincide with the annual festivals in these towns you might see some of the best Moors and Christians parades in the entire province, or take part in a Romería (a rural pilgrimage) or let your ears ring with brass band music and gunpowder. Just like the joyful and effusive personality of our wines.
The wines and landscapes in the Alicante DO will captivate you.
The Alicante PDO Regulatory Board
One of the buildings in the old part of the city of Alicante is proud to be the home of the Alicante PDO Regulatory Board, an institution stretching back over 80 years of the city’s historical milestones and reflecting the city’s social and economic growth.
The Regulatory Board occupies modern facilities in Plaza Virgen del Remedio, just behind the new City Council building. The building houses a visitor reception centre where you can obtain information about all the wineries and wines across the province. It also has an auditorium, tasting room and a rooftop area with spectacular 360º views of the old part of the city, which stands beneath the imposing hill of Benacantil. This is a wonderful opportunity to make contact with the sector, with its history and its many activities.
You can contact the wineries to arrange a visit:
Bodegas Xaló 966480034
Bodegas Parcent: 636536693
Enrique Mendoza: 965888639
Vinalopó: Route 1
Bodegas Bocopa 966950489
Primitivo Quiles 965470099
Bodegas Santa Catalina Mañán 965978155
Brotons, Vinos y Aceites 965477267
Bodegas Alejandro 966960291
Bodegas Viña Prado 679450984
Bodegas El Sequé: 968435137
Bodega de Pinoso: 965477040
Vinalopó: Route 2
Bodegas Las Virtudes: 965802187
Bodegas Francisco Gómez: 965979195
Bodegas Agrocastelló: 962868613
Bodegas Sierra Salinas: 968791115
Bernabé Navarro: 966770353
Other Tours / Areas
Vins del Comtat: 965593194
Heretat de Cesilia: 965603763
Bodegas Faelo: 655856898
Other phone numbers of interest:
Ayuntamiento de Pinoso: 902190900
Ayuntamiento de Villena: 966150236
Ayuntamiento de Monóvar: 966960400
Ayuntamiento de La Algueña: 965476001
Ayuntamiento de Novelda: 965609228
Ayuntamiento de Parcent 966405301
Ayuntamiento de Benissa: 965730058
Ayuntamiento de Alcoy: 965537155
Tourist Info Alicante: 965200000
Turismo Costa Blanca: 965230160
Consejo Regulador de la DOP Alicante: 965984478
Alicante Wine Route
The best way of finding out about the Wines of Alicante PDO is to visit the wineries and the surrounding countryside. Now you can do this by following the Alicante Wine Route. Make the most of your trip to combine your winery tours with trying the fine food in every location and don’t forget to check the festival calendar in each town.