Ricardo Miguelañez, Agricultural Engineer. @rmiguelanez
The Pagos del Rey Wine Museum offers an excellent and complete experience which teaches the public about the relationship between the region and the well-known wines produced at its vineyards. Wikispanishfood.com interviews Rodrigo Burgos, Director of the Pagos del Rey Wine Museum. Burgos has a degree in Humanities from the University of Burgos, with a major in historical heritage and a Master's and PhD in cultural and heritage management and in projects and new technologies applied to heritage. He is also a professor in the Master's in Cultural Management program at Charles III University of Madrid.
The Wine Museum, in Toro, Zamora, is located inside one of the former cooperative's production plants, a large space which still maintains the tanks from years ago. It was built in 1964 with a singular roofing system which has been maintained as a distinguishing characteristic.
Twenty-eight of the original winemaking tanks are located inside on the ground floor, and are part of the museum exhibition. The 1,000 m2 indoor area has objects, reproductions, audiovisual materials and digital screens with which visitors can interact. The more than 2,000 m2 garden contains larger pieces on display.
Ricardo Migueláñez.- Félix Solís Avantis operates in several parts of Spain. Why was Toro chosen as the location for the museum?
Rodrigo Burgos.- Through Pagos del Rey S.L., Félix Solís Avantis aims to extend the culture of wine in the DOs of northern Spain, where it has wineries producing top-notch wines, in Rioja, Ribera del Duero, Rueda and also Toro. Toro and, by extension, Zamora province, is a strategic location for Pagos del Rey in terms of geography, culture and wine tourism. It is the DO which is experiencing the greatest growth in sales in Spain, and its rich heritage and gastronomy make it a potential inland tourist destination. Moreover, the museum is near the winery where the company produces well-known wines such as Bajoz and Finca La Meda, and they share the barrel room, which is visited as part of the tour.
R.M.- What are the museum's objectives?
R.B.- The museum reflects the cultural commitment of the Solís family to the world of wine. The goal is to raise awareness about the environmental, scientific, family, social and artistic values arising from wine, directly or transversely, in society in the last few centuries. Using the museum design, and with a plan to raise awareness among different types of people close to the museum, the goal is to become a driver of growth in the area, creating a community of users who are loyal to the Pagos del Rey concept in terms of culture, and to attract Spanish and foreign visitors to the region to enjoy Toro wine and learn about its history.
R.M.- What does the museum offer visitors and what is its most surprising feature?
R.B.- The Pagos del Rey museum stands out because of its comprehensive approach to design, content and architectural refurbishment. The store and reception area where visitors enter stand out in that the decor is from the last century. The atmosphere in the garden, with large pieces from the collection, is balanced with the vision of the current Pagos del Rey winery building and the aromatic plants outside. The two-story building, which has been very carefully restored, comprises the museum, the former Nuestra Señora de las Viñas Cooperative, which has all of the original tanks and roofing and which is part of the tour, and includes the most modern and interactive exhibition elements. Some of the features of the museum which impress visitors are seeing the inside of the old tanks and experiencing the wine fermentation process, visiting the largest barrel room in the DO, and tasting Bajoz Vino Museo (the special and limited editions), which can only be purchased at the museum and which all visitors taste at the end of their visit.
R.M.- The museum was opened more than a year ago. How would you describe the results to date? How many people have visited the museum?
R.B.- Since it opened, the museum has been well-received with growing visitor numbers. We have welcomed more than 10,000 people in slightly more than a year, which encourages us to continue working to raise awareness about the world of wine through culture and educational activities.
R.M.- Wine tourism is fashionable in Spain, but have you noticed this interest in wine by Spaniards since the museum was opened? And what about people from other countries?
R.B.- Although promotion of the museum is being focused on the nearby community so as to enhance loyalty and so that they spread the word, Félix Solís Avantis is Spain's largest exporting winery, with the result that our brand and wines are known around the world, which also notably increases the number of foreign visitors we receive. People come from all over Spain, as well as from France, the US, the UK and Japan, where Pagos del Rey has a very high market penetration.
R.M.- What specific wine tourism initiatives does the museum offer?
R.B.- In view of a museum's commitment to education, preservation and awareness raising, Pagos del Rey Wine Museum has something special to offer to every kind of visitor. We have educational options for families, educational itineraries and also workshops for children and families, wine training through tasting courses and special tastings, cultural experiences focused on wine, concerts in the barrel room, musicalized and dramatized tastings, and also thematic visits. These options are in line with the intense cultural programs on offer, which are in addition to the free and guided tours available all year long at the museum. We have a very extensive offer which highlights, at all times, our wines.