Today, more than ever, Rioja Alavesa is synonymous with vineyards, wineries and fine wine. This drink has played a important role in the culture of Mediterranean peoples, although it was the Romans who turned it into an ordinary consumer product along with other goods such as oil. The Lagar (press) is where the grape was trodden and olives pressed to obtain their juice.
The stone wine presses are spread out all over the surrounding area, between vineyards, on banks of sandstone that generally rise some two to three metres up out of the ground, although in some cases they are flush with the ground. This circumstance has greatly contributed to their preservation into the present day, however, recent massive ploughing operations have caused the destruction and loss of some.
The stone wine press is a very simple and relatively unheard-of structure associated with the most archaic forms of winemaking.
Most notably They are the origin of winemaking.
Given their age, not only do the stone wine presses represent exemplary historic heritage, they also allude to essential issues such as the occupation of the territory, economic activities, geopolitical planning or social organization during the creation and development of feudalism.
In the eastern part of Rioja Alavesa, specifically the town of Labastida, there are still 12 stone wine presses used for treading the grape which can be visited: Atxalde, Fonsagrada, Iscorta, La Torera, Las Piletas, Los Arenales, Marrate Monte Buena Norte (most accessible and best preserved), Monte Buena Sur, Mugazabal, San Cristóbal and Santurnia.
Open all year round
There are links to each one of the stone wine presses on the Labastida website. Each wine press has a type of technical file, describing its characteristics, timeline, etc.