What wineries to visit near Barcelona
One of the best options to spend a day while in Barcelona is actually to leave the city itself and explore the beautiful wine country. A short getaway near Barcelona can also be a good idea. At only a little over half an hour from the city, the surroundings of Barcelona are quite impressive with a magnificent landscape of vineyards stretching out as far as the eye can see.
Barcelona is especially famous for its cavas, Spain's iconic sparkling wine that is mostly produced in this region. Cava is the only Denomination of Origin that allows for its wines to be produced in other areas (in order to do so, a winery needs to be accredited as a producer). Therefore, it is possible, although not very common, to find wineries that produce cava in other regions of Spain.
The truth, however, is that more than 90% of cava is produced in the area to the south of Barcelona. Sant Sadurní de Ainhoa is the capital of cava. Its people live from and for the production of cava wine. Sant Sadurní is home to the two largest and best-known wineries in the world of cava: Freixenet and Codorníu. Many more cava wineries, however, are also present in this town.
Sant Sadurní is also known for its Phylloxera Festival. Strangely enough, the Phylloxera was the plague that was once on the verge of destroying the vineyards of Europe and yet it receives a special celebration in Sant Sadurní. Thanks to the Phylloxera, many wine regions in Spain profited greatly by selling their wine to France when the French vineyards were largely affected by this plague. What was first good news turned sour fast when the plague advanced to different wine regions in Spain, leaving behind a sense of uncertainty and a crisis for an entire industry.
Sant Sadurní is very well connected to Barcelona, and anyone who wishes to visit wineries from Barcelona simply needs to take the highway towards Tarragona and exit at Sant Sadurní. Once there, a large roundabout welcomes you to the world of Spanish sparkling wine. Another recommended option is to take the Cercanías train. The station is located very close to the Freixenet winery which welcomes visitors with its enormous facilities. The easiest way, of course, is to enjoy a guided wine tour by minibus from Barcelona.
The Freixenet and Codorníu wineries offer visits that are of great interest. They are also winery visits that are suitable for children since a good part of the visit consists of a small train ride that runs through the parts of the winery where the cava rests.
Both wineries stand out for their impressive installations and they each welcome visitors with a video that portrays the essence of their family business. Freixenet and Codorníu have very interesting architectural elements as well, with Codorníu’s standing out a bit more.
There are other cava wineries in San Sadurní that we can mention. Cavas Gramona has all the charm that one looks for in a traditional cava winery. Gramona has more modern facilities outside of the center of Sant Sadurní, however, it retains its original traditional facilities for the delight of its visitors.
Another example of a cava winery, incomparable in size to that of Freixenet or Codorníu, is Conde de Valicourt. It is the smallest winery of the town in which you can find a style of cava that is very different from that of the big name brands.
If you are looking to visit a cava winery surrounded by vineyards, we recommend leaving Sant Sadurní for Cavas Nadal winery. Nadal welcomes visitors with the concept of a chateau winery and inside, just like the majority of cava producers, you can find a secret cave where the sparkling wine is aged.
Moving on from our discussion of cavas, the other great wine city to the south of Barcelona is Vilafranca del Penedés. Vilafranca is a city with a lot of history and with an important chapter during the Spanish Civil War. Vilafranca is home to the Wine Culture Museum of Catalonia (Vinseum). Located in Vilafranca’s main square in front of a beautiful church, Vinseum is an interesting visit for information-hungry tourists. Its different floors have a large number of informative panels which provide all kinds of information relating to viticulture and wine-making. If you prefer wine tasting, Vinseum has a wine bar as well where they offer a large variety of local wines that can be ordered by the glass.
In the same way that we mentioned Sant Sadurní as the capital of cava, we can define Vilafranca as the capital of Penedés. Bodegas Torres plays an important role in the Penedés wine landscape. Torres has a similar size to that of the Freixenet and Codorníu wineries but, in this case, as a producer of quality still wines.
If you prefer visiting smaller wineries, the outskirts of Vilafranca has a good number of family wineries. The already mentioned Bodegas Nadal is a good example between Sant Sadurní and Vilafranca. Not very far, in the town of Torrelavit, is the chateau-style winery called Jean Leon which pertains to the Torres group. Pares Balta is a family winery closer to Vilafranca that is strongly committed to producing organic wines.
To the north of Barcelona, you can find the wine region with the most proximity to Barcelona: Alella. It is a small production area with very few wineries that have managed to preserve the wine tradition despite their proximity to Barcelona. To the east you can find Pla y Bages which offers wines with very different personalities. This area is higher in altitude than Penedés and the climate is less Mediterranean giving it a distinct style compared with the wines of the Alella wine region.
For more information about places to visit near Barcelona, check out our section on Wine Tourism in Catalonia and Penedés.