Autumnal landscape near the town of Clavijo in Spain's Rioja district

Wine time. Harvest time in wine country
Autumnal landscape near the town of Clavijo in Spain's Rioja district © Olimpio Fantuz/eStock Phot

While today's image of beautiful autumn colours in Rioja is serene and peaceful, the people of this area are hard at work harvesting grapes at 14,800 different vineyards across the region. And soon the 600 wineries in the smallest Spanish province will begin the lengthy process of turning this year's grape harvest into its world-famous Rioja wines. (To get an idea of how tiny the Rioja province is, it makes up just 1% of Spain's land area and only about 0.67% of Spain's population lives here.)

While winemaking techniques have evolved and improved over the thousands of years that wine has been made here, each year around this time locals and visitors gather in the region's capital, Logroño, to celebrate the wine harvest and see a traditional example of the first, erm, step of this process - crushing newly harvested grapes by stomping them with bare feet.