If you fancy visiting a Bodega in or near Jumilla you are spoilt for choice, however if you are specifically looking for a tour in English that will limit your choice a bit, as Jumilla is inland and therefore many local people only speak Spanish. This guide is intended therefore to point non-Spanish-speaking people in the right direction.
The bodegas situated within walking distance of the city centre are all very different, so this is also a resumé to help you decide which bodega is right for you. You may of course want to visit several bodegas, however you will need a lot of stamina if you intend visiting them all on the same day!
1. Bodegas Viña Campanero
This is the smallest bodega in Jumilla and if you speak a bit of Spanish it is definitely not to be missed. Pedro and his father are very welcoming: they enjoy showing people around and are very proud of their newest acquisition, a small bottling unit, which was only installed last year. There are great views of Sierra Santa Ana from the salón, a tiny wine museum, and they also have a reasonably priced shop on their premises. The bodega is behind BSI, so it would be good to combine a visit here with one at BSI.
2. Bodegas San Isidro (BSI)
The largest bodega in Jumilla is BSI, which is a co-operative. Tours in English are available, but please make sure you book in advance. They have some experimental vines on their site, however in the vendimia we see tractors queuing up with loads of grapes to deposit there, many of them from small vineyards, as well as trailers full of olives later in the year. They also have their own wine museum and a shop on their premises.
3. Bodegas Silvano Garcia
They have two members of staff who speak good English, and they do several different tours, including a visit to their aroma room. The visit to the aroma room costs a bit more but all our visitors have said it is worth doing, as it is not only educational but also fun.
If you don’t normally like sweet wine (I didn’t), I recommend forgetting your prejudices and trying their award-winning dulce wines. I am now a convert and particularly enjoy their Monastrell dulce, which is perfect with dessert at the end of a good meal.
4. Bodegas Pedro Luis Martínez
More commonly known as Bodegas Alceño, we think that this bodega is so good because the chief winemaker is very particular about things such as the correct temperature, which is reflected in the quality of their wines. It is the oldest bodega in Jumilla, being founded in 1870. Some English is spoken, but remember to book in advance if you want a tour in English. Don’t forget to buy some wine before you go!
5. Bodegas Bleda
We were lucky enough to be guinea pigs for their first tour of the bodega in English several months ago. Antonio Bleda had only been learning English for two months at the time, and we were very impressed by how good he was: by now he probably speaks perfect English!
It is worth visiting this bodega for its location alone: situated about 2 kilometres outside Jumilla on the road to Ontur, and surrounded by vineyards. Not only that, but they have many award-winning wines, though my personal recommendation is their Castillo de Jumilla Blanco, which everybody who has tasted it rates highly – even the committed red wine drinkers! It is also very reasonably priced, so you can afford to buy several bottles to take home.
6. Bodegas Carchelo
Slightly off the beaten track, but recommended for a visit because of its location in the Valley of El Carche and because at least one member of staff (Poñi) speaks good English. My daughter Kate was impressed by their branding, and said that she would immediately spot their wines in any wine-shop because of the distinctive black and white hoops around the neck of the bottle.
7. Bodegas Viña Elena
Another family business, which was originally called Bodegas Pacheco after the grandfather of the current generation. It is now named Bodegas Viña Elena after Paco’s youngest daughter Elena, who is being groomed to take over from him. You can see the original bodega as well as the smart new installations, and don’t miss the lovely garden at the back. The bodega is at km 52 on the N344, the main road between Jumilla and Murcia. Tours are available in English by contacting them in advance.
The local bodegas charge from 5€ per person for a tour, including wine tasting and nibbles, though you can negotiate a reduction for a large group. As mentioned above, it is advisable to book in advance, especially if you want a tour in English. All of them sell wine on the premises, so even if you haven’t booked a tour of the bodega you can pop in to buy a few bottles of your favourite wine.
Other bodegas well worth a visit are Bodegas Luzón, Bodegas JM Martínez Verdú, Hacienda del Carche, Casa de la Ermita and Bodegas Finca Omblancas. They are all out of town, which means you can see the vineyards as well as visiting the bodegas. More details can be found on the Ruta del Vino website - you need to scroll down their page to find links to all the bodegas.