Near the border with Álava, a small Riojan population of just over a thousand inhabitants lives closely linked to the wine culture.
San Vicente de la Sonsierra tries to shelter from the winds at the foot of the Sierra del Toloño, between a rugged landscape in which the vineyards upholster much of the land. He doesn't get it, because the wind is constant and intense here, like the wines it produces, considered by many wine experts as one of the best in Spain.
San Vicente de la Sonsierra is a town with deep-rooted historical traditions. The feeling for the land and the old vines has passed from generation to generation, considering them as part of the heritage of the town.
And is that here heritage and wine go hand in hand, as I could see in the visit that led me to Meet the Carlos Moro Winery and its surroundings.
The Castle of San Vicente de la Sonsierra
That is why I was not surprised to see that old wineries had been found next to the iconic castle of San Vicente de la Sonsierra in which it is believed that wine was produced about two thousand years ago. In addition, there were openwork (these of lesser age) to preserve the wine barrels at the ideal temperature.
The visit to the castle of San Vicente was fun and innovative.
A miserable September morning we find ourselves in the main square of a San Vicente de la Sonsierra at parties to Maribel, the friendly - and prepared - guide who would accompany us on our visit to the castle.
Slowly, while Maribel explained to us the origins of the town and some more historical anecdotes, we were ascending towards the soft top where the fortress stands. When we had arrived in front of her, Maribel showed us some small red backpacks and from them she took a totally unexpected surprise: Virtual reality glasses for everyone.
I must admit that it was the first time I tried one of those, but I had wanted to do it for a long time. I was very surprised and valued this tourism initiative very positively.
When I put on my glasses, the sky stopped being gray to contemplate the Gate of the Firstfruit, the main entrance to the first enclosure of the castle, trimmed before a blue sky and without a trace of clouds. While trying to get used to virtual reality, our guide told us that that fortress had risen - at the end of the 12th century and by order of King Sancho the Wise of Navarra - as part of the defensive line of Laguardia and Labastida, in an elevated position from which the Ebro was dominated.
With the virtual reality glasses I could see that part of the entrance as it had been in the thirteenth or fifteenth centuries. A faithful recreation by architects that also included small historical explanations when you looked at one side or the other.