Spain is one of the large producers of wine around the world, first on the ranking of planted land. In recent years, also the first producer of grape must, overcoming Italy and France, the second worldwide exporter in terms of volume and the third in terms of value. That’s the reason why this sector has a great importance on the economic component, but also in social and historical terms, being one of the most recognized and famous symbols of the nation.
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Wine is elaborated in all of the autonomous communities (Spanish regions), although almost the 50% of the vines are located on Castilla La Mancha (540.000 hectares), becoming the largest wine-producing region in the world. Some of the best known wine-making regions are La Rioja and Ribera Del Duero, famous for the red wine production using the traditional grape variety Tempranillo. The Jerez region is also well-known for the production of fortified wines. Rías Baixas in Galicia and their white wines produced with the Albariño variety, the white wines from the appellation of Origin Rueda with the increasingly popular variety Verdejo. The Catalan region of Penedès with the rich production of Cava, white and rosé wines. Also the appellation of origin Priorat and the elaboration of outstanding wines using Garnatxa Negra and Carinyena.
The highlands that fill the centre of Spain are one of the leading elements of the country viticulture. Rivers as Ebro or Duero pass through that zones, representing the core of some of the most important wine-growing zones. The mountain ranges that isolate some vines also influence on the climate, impacting directly on the wine production. To give an example, the Cantabric mountains and Pirineus protect the wines in La Rioja against the rains and the cold. The most extreme climate is on the country heart, characterized by hot summers with temperatures that can reach the 40°C. However, in winter the climate conditions use to change and the thermometers register lower temperatures, even reaching -22°C.