El Penedès is one of Spain’s top wine-producing regions. It boasts a ridiculously high bodegas-per-capita ratio, being the birthplace of Catalunya’s signature drink: Cava. Cava is the Catalan version of Champagne, and while it is much less known than its French cousin, it has nothing to envy it. If you take the time to visit the cellars where it has been produced for centuries you’ll see. Some of the most important and worth visiting are as follows:
Dating back to 1911, Freixenet is one of the pivotal wineries in the Penedès. The business was (and still is) run by one family who have dedicated themselves to creating the most perfect sparkling wine. Their product quickly came to the attention of wine connoisseurs in Spain and further afield which, in turn, led to them becoming the world’s leading producer of sparkling wine in the 1980s. Today, Freixenet is all about tech-savvy innovations. With new ways to press grapes and space technology, the family have changed the way the Spanish cava industry works.
Codorniu is a little special. Not only does it produce some of the best-quality cava in the world, but it’s also the world’s oldest and second-largest producer of the fizzy stuff on the planet. Founded way back in 1551, it’s taken the title of the very first winery to bring cava to the masses. Lately, Codorniu has been getting back to its roots, creating new cavas that are inspired by the art nouveau styles of yesteryear and traditional cava-making methods.
A fine producer of artisan wines and cavas, Cava Rimarts prides itself on a passion for Mother Nature and its respect for natural, traditional processes. As a fairly new addition to the winery scene in Penedès (it was founded in 1987), it has used its steadfast philosophy and its dedication to innovation to propel itself up alongside some of the longer-running bodegas in the region.
The largest winery in Spain dates back to 1870. For over 140 years, it has excelled in producing delicious, unique cava and wines for the whole world. Today, it boasts the most extensive collection of vineyards in Penedès, as well as elsewhere in the world – it has wineries in Chile and other important wine-producing parts of Spain.
Wineries are not only a good opportunity to sample some of Spain’s richest plonk, but they can also give you an insight into an historic tradition that perseveres in the present day. Even in a world where technology has ruled the roost, authentic Spanish wineries are standing their ground and continuing to produce the artisanal flavours that their forefathers did – surely that’s worthy of a visit?