You can find many hotels in Zaragoza, but our accommodation this evening is in the winery itself—gorgeously remodeled rooms in a structure dating back to 1944. My bedroom in particular is a study of high-tech creativity as it features an open floor plan with glass "bricks," a whimsical picture of "old Spain" captured in stained glass that overlooked the old winery, and actual foliage in the bathroom.
8:30 am and we are already in the modern new winery, where we are greeted in the very gorgeously designed, yet efficient, front office. Here we also see wall after wall of awards the wines have won over the years at festivals around the world.
From here we walk to the start of our tour at the visitors' center, where we see attractively arranged bottles of wine, many of which we enjoyed the previous night at dinner. The two roses, one garnacha and the other a syrah blend, are available for about three Euros and quite a bargain. The visitors' center also includes a large private tasting room with spittoons and a gorgeous chandelier made of wine bottles, and a short film in a variety of languages about the history of the Grupo BSV. We are given white lab coats (making me feel very official) and sent off into the factory. The first space we see is the vat room, and if you ever read or heard of the book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory you can imagine the sounds and giant hoses and huge stainless steel vats. Hoses are everywhere.
Here in the winery, grapes are quickly de-stemmed and crushed and sent through the pipes into the giant stainless steel fermentors, where according to variety they spent a minimum (for red) number of hours in maceration. From the vat room we entered the laboratory, where scientists in white coats more elegant than our own disposable ones went about their work analyzing random bottles of wine to ensure uniformity and stability. If you have seen the TV show CSI, some of the wine was treated like a blood sample in that it was put in different vials, and the different vials were put into a tray inside a machine that was hooked up to a computer. Just like the blood samples in that TV show, the wine was subject to an instant analysis of the various chemical components, which showed up on the computer.
After the laboratory we saw the bottling area, which is quite fascinating, as the winery makes wine for a UK airline in the tiny airplane bottle size, as well as making regular 750 ml bottles. A machine lined the empty bottles up, filled them, and then put screwcaps on the airline bottles and corks in the 750 ml bottles, then put a label on them. Like in that Willy Wonka chocolate factory, machines were all over the giant packaging area, doing any number of things: grouping bottles together and putting them two by two into boxes, then lifting and stacking the boxes. There was also an area where—gasp, village women! Actual humans!—sat wrapping bottles by hand. These were the “reserva” wines which deserved special attention.