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The Museo Provincial del Vino, Castillo de Peñafiel in Valladolid

Valladolid's Provincial Wine Museum, Peñafiel Castle

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The Museo Provincial del Vino, Castillo de Peñafiel in Valladolid (c)

The Museo Provincial del Vino, Castillo de Peñafiel in Valladolid

Lisa Sierra (c) 2008 Licensed to About.com

Introduction

The Museo Provincial del Vino, or Provincial Museum of Wine of Valladolid is well worth a visit, even if you are not a wine drinker. It is located high atop a hill, in an imposing stone castle, with a fairytale look, called El Castillo de Peñafiel. Peñafiel is a small historic town of the Duero Valley in the province of Valladolid, in Northern Spain. The castle is divided into two parts. The wine museum is in one half of the castle, while restored and decorated castle rooms are in the other.

The Museum

The ancient exterior of the castle stands in contrast to the modern interior of the museum, which is complete with videos, talking exhibits and private wine-tasting booths equipped with sinks. It is a museum dedicated to educating visitors about wine. Each stage in the wine making process is explained – from the cultivation of grapes and how the various types of soil affect the taste, and the pressing and fermentation process to the aging and storing of wine. In fact, there is a section dedicated to corks and cork-making, as well as an exhibit explaining the history of wine vessels and bottles. Through the exhibits, you have an opportunity to learn about the entire history of winemaking, from ancient times to the present. You’ll even have a chance to test your sense of smell by sniffing jars with various scents and guessing what they are.

The museum’s store has a large selection of books about wine. In addition, you will find books on tourism of the region. Although not for sale, a large collection of Spanish wines covers one entire wall of the store and is interesting to browse.

The Castle

The castle stands next to the town of Peñafiel, in a strategic position atop a bluff, with views that stretch for miles across the valley. In contrast to other castles you may have visited, this one was never a home for nobles, but was used only during battles as a place where both the noble family and townspeople would take refuge.

The guided castle tour is separate from the wine museum and takes you through various rooms in the stone fortress and up to the top, where the views of the town below and the valleys are breathtaking. Guides are professional and informative and are able to answer many questions about the history of the museum, as well as the town and surrounding wine growing region. Standing atop the Tribute Tower (Torre del Homenaje), looking down on the rest of the structure, the shape of a ship becomes clear. It is over 200 meters long, ending in a point, and about 20 meters wide. It is easy to imagine how an entire town would have taken refuge here inside the thick stone walls while the battles were fought outside.

Location

Located due north of Madrid, it will take approximately 2 1/4 hours to drive from downtown Madrid to Peñafiel.

Address:
Castillo de Peñafiel
47300 Peñafiel (Valladolid)

Telephone: 983 88 1199

Hours of Operation & Admission

October through March:
Tues to Sun: 11:30am - 2:00pm and 4:00pm - to 7:00pm
Closed Mondays

April through September:
Tues to Sun: 11:00am - 2:30pm and 4:30pm - to 8:30pm
Closed Mondays except on Public Holidays
Also Closed: January 1 and 6, and December 24, 25 and 31

You can take a guided tour of the castle for 2.50 euros, but we recommend that you purchase a ticket to the museum for 6 euros, because it includes a guide tour of the castle as well! Other tour options are described on the website.

For detailed information about tours, tastings, etc., visit the museum’s official web site, complete with an English version.

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