To consistently produce high quality wines it is necessary to own vineyards, where constant care can ensure a consistent quality of grapes – something which cannot be guaranteed when buying from other growers.
For this reason, Don Rafael López de Heredia y Landeta founded Viña Tondonia in the years 1913-14. Tondonia was to become the bodega´s most famous vineyard and product. Viña Tondonia is a beautiful vineyard of over 100 hectares, situated on the right bank of the river Ebro, where the most typical Rioja wines are grown. Apart from Tondonia, López de Heredia owns three more vineyards also set in the Rioja Alta region. These are the “Viña Cubillo”, “Viña Bosconia” and “Viña Zaconia”. These vineyards are planted to ensure that maximum quality starts in the vines themselves, forming the basis of the reputation of our wines.
The Tondonia vineyard has to be is the most spectacular in Haro. Situated in a shell-like depression next to the River Ebro which serves as a border with Rioja Alavesa (the part of the Rioja appellation region belonging to the Basque Country), it is characterised by poplar trees. The soil is alluvial clay with a high proportion of limestone. The vineyards, cared for with enthusiasm and love, cover a total area of 170 hectares and produce an average annual yield of some 800,000 kg of grapes. Grapes from Viña Tondonia are always used in making our highest quality wines, and naturally, with truly exceptional vintages, becoming “Gran Reservas” if the vintage is truly exceptional – as was the case in 1976, 1973, 1970, 1968, 1964, 1961 and 1954. The first “Reserva” was bottled by the founder as long ago as 1890. A few bottles of this are still kept in the family wine museum.
On analysing plans for a project offered to a construction company from Bilbao, Gamboa y Domingo, it is clear that Don Rafael López de Heredia Landeta wanted to build an Arabic-style castle on the highest point of Viña Tondonia, after he purchased the parcel in 1907.
According to the Project, these engineers designed three building projects. Foundations were laid and an underground wine cellar built at the top of the hill overlooking the meander in the River Ebro.
However, the First World War began in 1914, and one of his children passed away at the age of 17. Discouraged, Don Rafael didn’t continue with his dream of building a Bordeaux-style chateau – a concept he had discovered in his travels.
Today the completed foundations and cellar keep watch over the flowing river, surrounded by our most emblematic vineyard, which celebrated its centenary in 2007.