Things are going well in Extremadura, the ‘furthest land on the other side of the Duero'. The climate of Ribera del Guadiana is continental, but is moderated by the nearby Atlantic Ocean. The two rivers, the Guadiana and Tajo, ensure ample moisture in the soil and humidity. The summers are very hot and winters are exceptionally mild. The growers here do not need to fear frosts. The soil chiefly consists of a mixture of clay and reddish brown sand interspersed with broken chalk.
At the time of publication the recognition of a provisional DO for Ribera del Guadiana was a fairly unique occurrence for the Spanish wine industry. This all hinges on the better Spanish wines of Tierra de Barros, which account for 80% of the DO wine production. Only 3,433 hectares of a total 87,450 hectares of vineyards are permitted to bear the DO predicate. There were fewer than 30 bodegas in 1998 that could meet the strict criteria of the DO. This number will grow appreciably in future as more bodegas replace outdated tinajas with more modem installations and their own bottling plants. It is expected that the old bulk wine culture of Extremadura will have been totally replaced within fifteen years. In addition to Tierra de Barros the provisional Ribera del Guadiana DO, the 52nd Spanish DO consists of the other sub-regions: Cañamero and Montanchez in the Cáceres province, Matanegra, Ribera alta del Guadiana, and Ribera Baja del Guadiana in Badajoz province. Tierra de Barros received its provisional DO in 1979. The area of Tierra de Barros (55,000 hectares) borders Portugal and is cut across by the Guadiana river. The vineyards lie along both banks of the river which flows towards Portugal. They are situated at a height of 1850 feet. The area derives its name from the ‘barros’, or clay-like soil which covers the land here.