Castilla La Mancha is a region in central Spain that is famous for its rich and diverse cultural heritage, its natural beauty, and its grape products. Grape production is one of the oldest and most important agricultural activities in the region, and it has shaped its history, culture, economy, and society.

Castilla La Mancha, landscape
Castilla La Mancha landscape, photo via Canva PRO

Grape and its derivatives are also one of the main attractions and sources of income for tourism in Castilla La Mancha, as they offer a unique and authentic experience to visitors who want to discover the region’s traditions, flavors, and landscapes.

Not only that, grape products have an incredible impact in different industries, local companies like Vinumar make use of the grape to its max, taking advantage of every component and making something useful out of it while being eco-friendly, and reducing waste.

Origins and evolution of grape cultivation in the region

Castilla La Mancha region in Spain
Castilla La Mancha region in Spain, photo via Canva PRO

Grape cultivation in Castilla La Mancha dates back to ancient times, when the Phoenicians, the Romans, and the Arabs introduced different grape varieties and techniques to the region.

It is a blessed region due to its climate, soil, and topography being ideal for grape growing, as they provide a wide range of conditions and microclimates that allow for the development of diverse and distinctive grape products.

The grape cultivation, production, and more got world-known appreciation thanks to the efforts of cooperatives, associations, and institutions like Vinumar that improved the quality and recognition of grape products, and promoted their exportation and consumption.

Diversity and quality of grape varieties and products

Castilla La Mancha is the largest grape-producing region in the world, producing at least a third of the country’s output.

In the region, you can find a great diversity of grapes, both native and foreign, that give rise to a wide range of grape products that are used in other industries, from alcohol and wine extracts to seed and skin extract as well as polyphenols and more.

Many of those products are used in different industries. For example, some extracts are used to make oil or vitamins; the alcohol is often used for liquor or used by the pharmaceutical and chemical industries.

Main attractions and activities related to the grape in Castilla La Mancha

Windmills in Castilla La Mancha, Spain
Windmills in Castilla La Mancha, Spain. Photo via Canva PRO

The wine routes and wineries

One of the most popular and attractive ways to enjoy and learn about grapes in Castilla La Mancha is to follow the wine routes and visit the wineries that are scattered throughout the region.

The wine routes are thematic itineraries that allow visitors to discover the different grape varieties, products, and regions of the area. They offer an immersive experience since most tours include not only visits to the vineyards and wineries, but also to other places of interest, like museums, monuments, natural parks, and more.

wine in Castilla La Mancha
photo via Canva PRO

Some of the most famous and recommended wine routes in Castilla La Mancha are:

  • La Mancha Wine Route
  • Ribera del Júcar Wine Route
  • Uclés Wine Route

The festivals and events

Another way to enjoy and learn about grape products in Castilla La Mancha is to participate in the festivals and events that are organized throughout the year in different locations of the region.

The festivals are an opportunity to have fun and socialize with the locals and other visitors while enjoying the music, dance, art, and entertainment.

Some of the most famous and recommended festivals and events related to grape products in Castilla La Mancha are:

walking itinerary in Castilla de Mancha
Photo via Canva PRO

The gastronomy and cuisine

By far the best to learn and enjoy the grape products of the area is to explore the gastronomy and cuisine of the region, which are strongly influenced and enriched by the grape products.

The gastronomy of Castilla La Mancha is based on the use of local and seasonal ingredients, that are cooked in simple and traditional ways.

Grape products, especially wine, are essential elements of the cuisine of the area since they are used to accompany, enhance, and complement the dishes, as well as ingredients.

A good example is the Perdiz escabechada, which is a partridge combined with different seasonings, vegetables, and a strong presence of dry white wine and white wine vinegar.

Cover image: photo by Maja Petric, via Unsplash