Wine tourism is more than a trend. Tasting the Atlantic food is an activity that has long been accepted. The combination of both constitutes the key factor that makes Vilagarcía, capital of the ría de Arousa and port of Compostela, different.
Vilagarcía belongs to the Rías Baixas Designation of Origin, one of the most deservedly valued in Spain, not for nothing, it was one of the first cities to organize and signpost its Wine Route.
There are three family-run wineries in Vilagarcía and they can be visited: Maior de Mendoza, Pazo de Rubianes and Eladio Piñeiro. As it happens, the three of them are bordering the municipal territory.
Maior de Mendoza is to the north, on the hillside of the mount Xiabre. This location makes the winery even more attractive for its splendid views on to the ría de Arousa. Its owners became pioneers in modern wine cultivation in O Salnés – the main productive area in this Desigantion of Origin (DO)- as well as in producing the first Albariño on lees which made them be awarded some national and international prizes amongst which the best Spanish white wine in the International Wine Challenge. With more than 150,000 bottles a year, it is the main winery in Vilagarcía.
Pazo de Rubiáns, is in the middle of he eastern border of the council. Apart from having an enormous – the biggest in O Salnés – and easily recognizable vineyard, Rubiáns is also a pazo with rooms filled with history and memories of royal visitors, and a garden considered of international excellence for having more than 800 specimens of camellias. One of the main features of its wines is that they are “de pago, i.e. produced exclusively with the grapes grown in the vineyard surrounding the pazo, home to the only feudal estate in Galicia.
Finally, Eladio Piñeiro, also a family-run winery located in Vilaxoán, at the southern limits of the council. As in the case of the Maior de Mendoza winery, from here it is also possible to overlook the ría. But its best asset is inside, it is its know-how. The Piñeiro family have long been growing vineyards and producing wines and they have passed this tradition on to their wines which are faithful to the “terroir”. Their wines are also presented with an exquisite design , to the point that they are marketed through a “private reserve”.
But, if the art of fine drink is guaranteed, the art of fine food is not far behind. Before surrendering yourself to the delicious temptations cooked with fresh produce from the market and from the ría and served by the restaurants of Carril, Vilagarcía and Vilaxoan, we had better approach these temptations in its natural environment.
For that, you can take part in a seafood tour in Carril, picking up clams and cockles, going on a boat up to the mussel bateas, or going to the place where the traditional fishing systems are used to fish lampreys and eels as well as other fish from the ria. Another alternative is to visit the traditional canned food company “Los Peperetes” in Carril, where you can see personally the care with which a product recently caught from the sea becomes a delicatessen canned food.
The perfect complement to know more about the productive sector of the ría is a visit to the harbour market of Carril, or to the fresh produce market of Vilagarcía where smells, tastes and coulours mix on a palette that you will find difficult to forget.
If you want even more, do not hesitate to visit any of the six delicatessens in Vilagarcía. There you can buy everything you saw and tasted during your visit so that you can continue remembering Vilagarcía: wine, canned food, pastries, jam, infussions…
everything with an excellence that evidences that our ría is the largest and most productive shellfish bank and our wines one of the most reputed designation of origin among the international wine spectrum.
Finally, if you are in Vilagarcía whilst the Tapas Fair (September) or the “Castes” Independent Wine Fair (November) are being held, do not hesitate to visit them. Both of them will show you something really good.