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Quality control

Control in the bodega

All bodegas wishing to produce and sell Rioja wines must appear on the Control Board's registries and fulfil a series of requirements, such as being located within the Wine Region, the territory of the Designation of Origin, and being separated by a public road from any other place which is intended for non-protected wines, as exclusive dedication to Rioja wines is a prerequisite. The facilities must also meet winemaking, ageing and bottling requirements.

The bodegas are classified into four distinct categories: Winegrowers, Co-operatives, Wine keepers and Ageing bodegas. For the bodega to be an classified as an ageing bodega, it must have a minimum of fifty 225-litre oak casks and 22,500 litres of wine in stock. The period of time during which a wine is aged, which will allow the right to use one or another type of back label, is supervised using control forms containing all the movements of each wine from each harvest within the bodega until it leaves to be sold (tank, cask, bottle, labelling, etc.). These control forms are submitted to the Control Board every month for computer processing and they give a complete picture of the bodega's situation, its stocks and sales of the different types and categories of wine, etc. This also provides very accurate information on the situation of the D.O. as a whole, used to generate statistical analyses.

The Board's Technical Services carry out frequent inspections to check stock volumes by wine type and vintage, number of casks and bottles, back labels, etc., and so verify the accuracy of the statements made by the bodegas. They also control wine movements between different bodegas (mainly sales from winegrowers and co-operatives to ageing bodegas) which require the corresponding authorisation, and they take samples of the finished product for analytical examination and tasting both in the bodegas and at sales outlets in domestic and foreign markets. All the labels used by the bodegas to sell their wines must have prior authorisation from the Board, which must also issue the Certificate of Origin for export to other countries.