White wines

Rueda is a Spanish Denominación de Origen (DO) for wines located in the Community of Castile and Leon.

It comprises 72 municipalities, of which 53 are in the province of Valladolid, 17 are in the north of the province of Segovia, and 2 are in the north of the province of Ávila.

It is known primarily for its quality white wines based on the verdejo grape.

The DO is centered around the town of Rueda, in the province of Valladolid about 170 km northwest of Madrid. The land is a flat high plain at an altitude of between 600 and 780 m above sea level. The River Duero flows through the area from east to west.

The climate is continental (long hot summers, cold winters) with a certain Atlantic influence. Temperatures vary widely and can drop below zero in winter (-1°C) and can reach 30°C in summer, which is not as high as similar wine-producing regions in southern Central Spain. There is a risk of frost, freezing fog, high winds and hailstones in winter/spring. On the other hand there is only a very small possibility of drought.

Normally it rains in spring and autumn, with an average rainfall of 400 mm/year, while the vines receive 2,700 hours of sunlight per year.

Close to the River Duero the soils are alluvial with a high lime content (max 24%). To the south the topsoil is brown and sandy with a gravel and clay subsoil. Drainage is good, has a rich iron content and is easy to plough.

The main authorized white varieties are Verdejo, Sauvignon Blanc and Viura.

Authorized red varieties are Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Garnacha.

The authorized yield for white varieties is 8,000 kg/ha (10,000 kh/ha if on trellises) though in practice the yields are only between one quarter and one half of this level. Most new vineyards are planted with rows at 3 m intervals to allow mechanization. Irrigation is only allowed under special circumstances. Vines are often trained close to the ground to resist the strong winds that are characteristic of the area.