In 1970 Luis Cañas changed two hundred years
of tradition and became the first winemaker in Rioja Alavesa to
bottle his young wine rather than sell it as bulk. This bold move,
and his continued pioneering spirit, has cemented the winery's
enviable reputation as one of the most progressive in the
Sheltered below the watchful Sierra Cantabria, the vineyards are
all old, small plots on chalky-clay soils with a dedicated team of
vineyard workers carrying out organic practices and a purpose
built, fully equipped accommodation block was built for the entire
vineyard team in 2006. Today, now in his late 80's, Luis still
leads the annual harvest, standing at the head of the selection
table, keen to ensure that only the best parcels of grapes are used
in his wines. His son, Juan Luis Cañas is now the powerhouse behind
this highly accomplished winery, but everywhere you go there is a
feeling of family, and especially of the lasting legacy that Luis
Cañas will leave for both his son and the Alavesa.
It all happens in the
One of the fundamental philosophies of Luis Cañas is that the best
wines can only be obtained from the best possible grapes - and this
begins and ends in the vineyards.
With 350 hectares of outstanding vineyards, split across 870
different plots, the viticultural department control every aspect.
Each of the plots has its own personality and is categorised and
used for different wines according to its characteristics.
The vineyards supply Tempranillo, Graciano, Mazuelo and Viura
grapes which are then selected and crafted into a range of fine
Riojas using a combination of modern technology and
"If I only ate salads I wouldn't make
the wines I do..."
Food is one of the social foundations of the Basque Country and
feeds into the style of wines crafted by Luis Cañas. Juan Luis
says, 'if I only ate salads, I would not make the wines I do.'
The structure, texture and flavours - fruit wrapped in a silky,
oak laced layer that seems unique to this part of Rioja - lend
themselves to the many culinary delights found both in and outside
This was underlined when Ferran Adrià, who included only 2
wineries from Rioja on his wine list, chose Bodegas Luis Cañas and
sister winery, Bodegas Amaren.