Garnacha is the second most widely planted variety in the DOCa Rioja. representing 18 per cent of the Rioja grape crop. It is very prone to coulure (irregular fruit setting), but it is a hardy variety, withstands drought conditions well and is also fairly resistant to some of the major vineyard pests and diseases such as grape rust mite and powdery mildew, features which helped its cultivation to spread. It prefers dry, warm soils with good draining properties but adapts relatively well to all types of vineyard soils. It is a kind of grape which produces aromatic wines, not so intense in colour, and highly alcoholic, with medium body and good acidity. Nevertheless, one of its drawbacks is its rapid ageing and tendency to oxidation.


The first documented reference to this grape dates back to 1321: a sentence from the Parliament of Paris mentions a shipment of 1,387 barrels of “half griece” (a name which may have been used for muscat and malvasía wines which came from Greece) and “half varnacie” (garnacha) wine, the type of wine that the Venetian merchants distributed around Europe from the year 1204. It also appears as vernache, gernache or grenache, the name the French gave to the well-known fortified wine at the end of the 18th century.
Valier, in 1882, stated that garnacha was the most modern wine planted in Aragón. He asserted that at the beginning of the century it was used as a dessert grape and in mid century, thanks to its resistance to mildew, its cultivation spread to the Aragón region, occupying 85% of the Cariñena vineyard district at the end of the century. Valier explains that before the phylloxera plague garnacha spread through the south of France under the name of grenache, bois jaune and bouge de Alicante. He describes it thus: ‘A beautiful and very sturdy vine, with abundant leaves of a light green colour on both sides, Its clusters are well spaced and suspended in the node of the third internode, so that few of them touch the ground’.

Manso de Zúñiga states in 1905 that ‘the garnacha was imported into La Rioja from Aragón after the Rioja vineyards were infested by powdery mildew in 1854’

In 1914, García de los Salmones mentions the growing of garnacha in various Rioja districts and highlights Quel as one of the main places in our region.
Marcilla, in 1942, describes garnacha in these words: ‘Upright bearing, adult leaves hairless, medium or small in size and light green in colour. Abundant flowering but the setting of its fruit is never complete, especially on Ruprestis de lot rootstocks. The grape ripens late and achieves a lower level of alcohol and higher acidity than the Madrid red wine. The colour of its wines is not very intense and they have a marked tendencu to turn to that “onion skin colour” of rancid wine in their ageing’.

Larrea in 1978 lists the agronomic characterístics of garnacha: ‘It grows well in stony ground and also in clay soils, but especially it needs well ventilated exposures, on a slope, with a relatively hot climate. It suffers from attacks from downy mildew and insects but is resistant to powdery mildew. It has a good yield although it is quite prone to coulure of the flower (setting failure)’.

La colección de variedades de vid de ‘El Encín’.
Un recorrido por la historia de la Ampelografía.



with garnacha



Ampelographic characteristics

This variety varies considerably in terms of the vigour of its growth and the shape and size of the clusters. Shoots with the tips moderately open, yellowish green in colour with red-wine hues on the edges and a low density of flattened hairs. Medium-sized leaf, rounded, three lobes, with open petiolar sinus in the shape of a lyre. Hairless underside. Medium-sized cluster, pyramid shaped trunk, compact, with wings; medium-sized berry, elliptical in shape and unevenly distributed violet-blue colour, fairly thick, waxy skin; juicy pulp with a simple flavour.

Aptitudes for cultivation

Very vigorous variety with upright semi-sturdy canes and shorts spaces between nodes; it adapts to diverse growing areas. It prefers hot climates and, in northern zones, well ventilated slopes with good exposure. The best qualitative results are achieved through cultivation in slightly acidic, stony or calcareous soils.

Sensitivity to diseases and adversities

Normal, a little prone to botrytis in colder, wetter climates. It is sensitive to a lack of magnesium. It reveals a significant lack of affinity in SO4 and 140RU rootstocks; it sometimes shows thickening of the graft point just from the plantation, in particular on SO4, 779 Paulsen and 140Ru.

Oenological potential

It produces wines with a pale ruby red colour, with a pleasant, special flavour. Fruity and harmonious with a light structure. In hot districts you can obtain a rosé wine with a pleasant, delicate, fruit perfume. Normally its potential to accumulate sugars is high, but the colour quickly fades and it is generally short on acidity, so it is necessary to limit the vigour and the productivity with careful management.

Training and pruning

It adapts to various ways of pruning, preferring those of medium expansion such as cordon with spurs and short not too strong pruning.

Shooting period


Ripening period



Good and consistent
La colección de variedades de vid de ‘El Encín’.
Un recorrido por la historia de la Ampelografía.



with garnacha