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Exploring Camino de Santiago's ancient wine trail

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Exploring Camino de Santiago's ancient wine trail
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The Camino de Santiago in Spain is home to a number of pilgrimage routes leading to a place called Santiago de Compostela - walked by many for centuries.

However, the region is also where many incredible wines are produced. For this episode of Here We Grow, Euronews visited the area to discover some of the best wineries.

El Bierzo

Euronews started its journey in El Bierzo, in the province of León, before heading to Ribeira Sacra and Rias Baixas, to discover three of the eight wine appellations along the 800km route.

Raúl Pérez, one of the most renowned oenologists in the world, has a deep link with the Camino de Santiago. His first personal wine project took its name from the pilgrims' greeting, Ultreia.

"I had nothing when I started my project. Every day was a new day, an improvement. It reminded me of the people who walked the Camino and who were fighting to arrive. That vision of the Camino, of the people walking, helped me a lot, that word (Ultreia) represents that eagerness, that voice of encouragement that you need many times to continue," he explained.

Raul said he likes to work in harmony with the ecosystem, preserving nature and letting it flow. His priority is to influence the grapes as little as possible - and then transform them into magnificent wines.

"I’m passionate about being original. Having my own interpretation of the wine, I'm very, very passionate about it because it reflects all my energy," Raúl added.

His hard work and dedication to producing wine has paid off. He now has more than two hundred wines on Robert Parker's 'Wine Advocate' list - one of the world's most trusted authorities.

Ribeira Sacra

The next stop on the trail was the ancient wine region of Ribeira Sacra, to discover the steep terraced vineyards that are some of the most picturesque in the world - and the most treacherous to work in the world of wine.

Pedro Manuel Rodríguez of Bodega Guimaro is a winegrower in the area, and his family has been in the business there for generations.

"We all started making wines that were different to what was done before in Spain, we were looking for fresher wines, friendlier wines, easier to drink, whilst being more respectful to the land and the varieties that are produced in it," he explained.

The red wines in Ribeira Sacra are made largely from the mencía grape, which, like the region, few had heard of 25 years ago. It is also grown in the neighboring region of Bierzo.

Rias Baixas

In Rias Baixas, the albariño grape variety dominates the landscape - and has helped put Spanish fine whites on the map.

Winemaker Vicky Mareque is the owner of Pazo Señorans winery in the area - located on a sixteenth century estate, that was bought by Vicky's parents. She described the popular albariño grape as the jewel of the land.

"The more we improve it, it will end up becoming one of the best white varieties in the world," she said.