March 3, 2023
In the latest episode of Orbea’s Pachamama, a gravel walk takes us to the Rioja Alavesa wine region in Spain
This article has been produced in collaboration with Orbea.
In the Southern Basque Country of Spain, nestled between the Sierra de Cantabria and the Ebro River, lies the Rioja Alavesa, a Spanish region with red, ochre, claret and purple colors. It is a magical place with a long history steeped in some of the best wines.
While wine lovers from all over the world have traveled to this rich part of Spain, fifth-generation winemaker Javier San Pedro Ortega, featured in Pachamama d’Orbea’s latest video, was born and raised between the rows of vines, tending the land carefully to secure it perfectly. grapes ripen every year. A passion that has been passed down from generation to generation, the juice of these fruits practically runs through his veins.
And now, alongside the rows of grape vines that stretch across the land, there are miles of beautiful trails perfect for riding on gravel. A destination with long planes, steep slopes and undulating slopes. Javier not only works the land, but now walks these paths, which flow up, down and through the village.
People find cycling for different reasons. Some may love the thrill of competition, others may want to seek adventure, and others may ride a bike to get away from other things. For Javier, it is the latter. Ride to get away from work.
He works to continue his family’s legacy among the vineyards, but it’s a demanding job. It requires determination, obstinacy, physical effort and patience throughout the year. It can also be especially stressful during harvest time, when what you harvest determines what you and those who work for you live on for the rest of the year.
But when the day ends, Javier jumps on his bike and walks the land he earns a living. Recharging the batteries and regaining balance. A job without a nine-to-five, often the only chance he has to build his own Terra gravel bike it’s night, once the sun has set. It’s good, then, that Javier knows these paths like the back of his hand.
Over the years, however, the land has transformed. The winemaker’s daughter, Blanca Mateo Gotzález, who appears in the video, explains how Rioja Alavesa has always been ‘vine land’, but back then there weren’t many vineyards. Instead, most of the land was cultivated for cereals. It wasn’t until the grain crop stopped growing that farmers planted vines, and the rest is history.
When Javier first took over the family winery, he expected to make 10,000 bottles of wine a year to ensure a comfortable living. But times have changed and he has acquired more plots, meaning a different variety of grapes. Now he makes 17 to 18 different wines.
Rioja Alavesa was a hidden gem that has come to life, not only because of the hundreds of wines the region now produces, but also because of the beauty of the riding area. Every year, cyclists gather at the Orbea Grava Rioja Alavesa, treading their own path through a land steeped in history.
Live the experience
To experience the beauty of cycling in this wine region of Spain, Pachamama is giving away two registrations for the next edition of the Orbea Gravel Rioja Alavesa, which will be held on October 28, 2023. To enter, just register on the web.
For more information about Orbea’s Pachamama, visit the website