If we want to know more about our wine, we just have to visit one of the specialized museums that we have in Galicia. In them we will learn everything about the tools related to the cultivation of the grape, the origin of the different wines, the production process, the most important wineries…
From north to south, the first museum we come across is precisely the first to be founded in Galicia, in 2001, and one of the first in Spain: the Ethnographic and Wine Museum. It is in Cambados, the capital of Albariño wine, belonging to the DO Rías Baixas. It is one of the most visited interpretation centers in O Salnés. It is in an old rectory, the well-known Casa Ricoi, next to the ruins of Santa Mariña Dozo. As we can see, it is very well located.
The old building is linked to a recent annex by a glass walkway. In the garden we are greeted by the Loureiro sculpture group, by Manolo Paz, with large granite cups, and the reproduction of an old wine press. The center has six rooms dedicated to the history of the Albariño, wine culture, farming tools and traditions. The model of the Armenteira monastery stands out, where it is said that the Albariño grape was first grown. Furthermore, it has a room for temporary exhibitions, where courses are given throughout the year, such as those of the UNED in summer. The museum also has a library and shop. Open from Tuesday to Sunday.
And from the capital of Albariño to the capital of Ribeiro: Ribadavia. There, in the parish of Santo André de Camporredondo, is the Galician Wine Museum. It also occupies an old rectory, which forms a monumental complex with the nearby church and country house. The past of the building was already linked to wine, since here the ribeiro was produced that was taken to Compostela, since it was the house of the priory for the viticultural exploitation dependent on the monastery of San Martiño Pinario in Santiago; later, it was a rectory and, already in 2019, it was rehabilitated by the Xunta as a museum. It is especially dedicated to the history of the creation of wine landscapes, from an ethnographic and anthropological point of view. It also informs us about the work in the vineyards, the grapes, the cellars… It has a room dedicated to each appellation of origin. It opens from Thursday to Sunday, with special hours on certain dates.
One of the subzones of the DO Rías Baixas is Condado do Tea, on the right bank of the Miño. Here we also find a good museum, in Salvaterra de Mño: the Wine Science Museum. It is in the Castle of Doña Urraca, a better place impossible. In this famous building, with origins in the 10th century and rebuilt in the 17th, we review all of Galicia’s wine history and winemaking processes. On the lower floor, a traditional and an industrial winery are recreated. The tour ends at the Casa del Conde, with the tasting of a Condado do Tea wine. It is a museum of these times: many panels, touch screens, video, games and a lot of resources to make the visit more interesting, thinking of people of all ages. Open from Wednesday to Sunday.
In Arbo, in the Condado do Tea, we also have another museum, this one more specific, since it relates the wine of the area with the star product of local gastronomy: the lamprey. The Wine and Lamprey Interpretation Center Arabo is in the old Arbo school, built by emigrants at the beginning of the 20th century. It is organized on three floors: the ground floor, dedicated to the reception, assembly hall and wine cellar; the second, with a room dedicated to the history of Arbo and another to the history of wine in Galicia in general, and specifically to the DO Rías Baixas and Condado do Tea; and the third, which is all for the lamprey. Open from Tuesday to Sunday.
Changing province and wine, we headed to the capital of the Ribeira Sacra: Monforte de Lemos. There, in a cozy 18th century building with a large central patio, we find the Ribeira Sacra Wine Center. It also houses the region’s tourist office, a wine cellar with a selection of wines from the area and, so that you don’t just drink, a tapas bar. As the building has plenty of space, it also houses the headquarters of the Ribeira Sacra DO Regulatory Council. The interactive exhibition, which explains everything that has to do with the cultivation and wines of the Ribeira Sacra, is divided into several rooms that overlook the central courtyard. The tour ends with a final tasting. There is also a restaurant. It is open every day.
To get to know the wine culture of the DO Monterrei in depth, we would do well to go to the Museum of the Mercedario Cloister, in Verín. In the cloister of this former convent from the 18th century there is a permanent exhibition with a lot of documentation on the wine of the region, on the famous cave presses… and even a wine tunnel where you can appreciate the different varieties of Monterrei grapes. The museum opened in 2017 and the collection is growing every year. One of the curious pieces in the collection is the reproduction of the statue of Dionysus and Ampelos, from between II and III AD. C., discovered in 1967 in A Quinta da Muradella, in Mourazos, Verín. A copy of the one found and a reconstruction of the entire one are shown. Open from Wednesday to Sunday.