Castilla y León has gained prominence among the grape and wine-growing regions in Spain.
Ten Denominaciones de Origin or DO's (apellations d'origine) and four areas producing vinos de la tierra map out the wine-producing areas in the region.
The most important wine-growing areas in the market for quality wine are found along the río Duero (Duero river). Over 400 quality wine-making bodegas (wine cellars / distilleries) are home to the Denominaciones de Origin or DO's (appellations d'origine) such as Ribera del Duero, Cigales, Rueda, Toro, Bierzo, Arlanza, Arribes, Tierras de León, Tierra del vino de Zamora and Valles de Benavente and are protected by the regulating council in each area.
The some 200 bodegas (wine cellars) which account for the areas producing vinos de la tierra are practically spread out all over the region and are situated in places of great historic and cultural value. Vineyards spattered with bodegas (wine cellars or distilleries) showing the architecture of the people are a true sign of the wine tradition in Castilla y León.
The region is responsible for the production of the entire array of quality wines. Beginning with the tintos de guarda, wines which require a long ageing process, the crianzas (requiring a minimum storage period) and the reservas (3 years storage) then moving on to the soft and fruity vinos jovenes (made for immediate drinking), not forgetting to mention the blancos (white wine) of distinct variety. Not to mention the espumosos (sparkling wine), licorosos (strong wine of high alcohol content)and aguardientes (a kind or liqueur) which all make up a wine selection which blends perfectly with the delicious cuisine.
The awakening of interest in oenology and developments in vine-growing in the region of Castilla y León create routes of interest to the tourist as the vineyards and bodegas (wine cellars or distilleries) are coincidentally located in areas of historic and artistic interest.
Apart from the improvements made in the quality of the wine and the up-dating of the bodegas (wine cellars or distilleries), efforts have been made in order to develop groups of qualified professionals specialising in wine. As a result, in restaurants the sommeliers help promote an understanding of wine. The increase in number of specialised stores, the wide selection of wines on offer in grocery stores, supermarkets and department stores make quality wine shopping easy for tourists.