It all began with Pedro Vivanco, a shrewd businessman who made his fortune in the wine trade and started producing wines way back in 1915. Starting out as a wine merchant, he became a substantial vineyard owner and went on to build a portfolio of his own bodegas. The family now own seven bodegas and some 400ha of vineyard, with other wine interests in Navarra.
In 1985 Pedro bought the site of the current winery, in the heart of Rioja Alta. In 1990 he started the ambitious project that would become the driving force for himself and sons Rafael and Santiago: Bodegas Vivanco. Today, four generations later, Vivanco is one of Rioja’s leading producers, with winemaker Rafael Vivanco Saenz at the helm. Rafael crafts a modern style of Rioja, focussing on bright, juicy fruit flavours. The wines are made exclusively from the family’s vineyards, where in-depth knowledge of the sites enables them to create some superb Rioja, packed full of rustic charm and fresh fruit flavours.
The winery is located in the Briones region, an enclave in the Rioja Alta at the foothills of the Cantabrian Mountain Range, with its own unique microclimate. Most wines are made from Tempranillo, alongside Graciano, Mazuelo and Garnacha.
But Vivanco is far more than a family wine business, as anyone who has visited can testify. The family’s passion also lies in disseminating the culture of wine, with their very own on-site Museum of Wine Culture. The museum explores the history of wine and winemaking in permanent and temporary exhibitions, and features a 6,000-strong corkscrew collection. Step outside and you find yourself in the Garden of Bacchus – a celebration of over 220 grape varieties from across the globe.