Penedès is both a Catalonian region and a Spanish wines Denominación de Origen, DO (“Designation of Origin”), and it has long been considered one of the country’s best wine-producing regions after Rioja. Its name may not necessarily ring a bell in itself, but its main production certainly will: cava. Yes, Spanish sparkling comes almost entirely from Penedès, one of the most ancient wine making areas in Europe; then, it goes without saying that a visit to this breathtaking region a mere 30 minutes from Barcelona, will be bubble-filled.
Penedès is a magnificent region with fantastic beaches, imposing mountains and seemingly infinite vineyards that make for a singular countryside landscape. Local wineries and cava producers have contributed to bringing international fame to the area thanks to their sparkling wines.
These are but a few of the original activities you can expect to take part in when visiting the region:
- Join a “Make your own Cava” workshop: learn everything you need to know about Spanish bubbles, including the famous disgorgement process and… get your own label on the bottle!
- A Phylloxera plague decimated vineyards around the world in the late XIX century and to this day, remains a black chapter in wine making history. In Penedès, however, they host a yearly festival in Sant Sadurní D’Anoia to “celebrate” the pest: the Festa de la Filoxera. This 2-day event is unique in the world: people dress up, they parade giant representations of the sap-sucking insects down the streets, they fire firecrackers and share -what else?, lots of bottles of cava. A truly incredible insight into the Catalonian culture and traditions.
- If instead you are looking for an exclusive, luxury experience, then a helicopter ride over the vineyards and the Mediterranean Sea should be at the top of your list. Land in the vines to join the winemaker for a special tour of his winery and a superb wine tasting.
- If you are visiting at the end of August, make sure you join in the celebrations of the Festa Major de Vilafranca (literally, “the Major Party of Vilafranca”), one of the most popular and spectacular festivals in Catalunya. Get ready for fireworks, music and dances in the streets, colorful parades and human towers galore.
- Speaking of which, don’t miss the harvest season’s most impressive event: the Castellers de Vilafranca, for a grandiose representation of team work, strength and concentration.
Penedès is definitely a memorable destination for fine wine, culture and nature lovers.
Source: Wine Paths