During the month of September, viticulture comes to the fore. It is wine harvest time, the time to collect grapes.
The fermentation of grape juice gives us wine, one of the most distinctive products of Mediterranean cuisine. Bread and olive oil also form part of this regional diet, which is highly acclaimed both for its flavours and its beneficial health properties. In fact, vineyards, olive groves and wheatfields have formed part of the Mediterranean landscape since time immemorial.
Each year around this time, many areas with a wine making tradition celebrate the so called ‘festes de la verema’, or wine harvest festivals, which include the traditional grape treading.
It is impossible to talk about Catalunya without mentioning the world-class sparkling wine made here, cava. Two of the world’s most famous brands are Freixenet and Codorniu. While you are in Barcelona you can take half a day to visit these historic wineries located in Sant Sadurní, less than an hour outside the city.
This time, we visited Freixenet.
The Freixenet brand has cellars in 18 locations over 3 continents, making it one of the most recognizable and expansive wine brands in the world. Although now world famous, the winery had humble beginnings almost 100 years ago. The Catalonian Freixenet winery was built in 1922 and over the years has experienced tremendous growth although not without challenges. The emergence of the Spanish Civil War and Second World War made for difficult times for Freixenet. Although over the next 50 years Freixenet began exporting wines worldwide and gained a global presence which became dominant by the 1980’s. Today it is arguably the most famous cava, or sparkling wine producer in the world. Freixenet now exports its products to over 150 countries. Freixenet is known within Spain for its Christmas spots in which a celebrity endorser wishes the viewers a happy Christmas on behalf of the company. Past celebrity endorsers have included Shakira, Antonio Banderas, and Sharon Stone.
Luckily, you can explore the history and sprawling grounds of Freixenet for only 7 euros. You can also bring the children younger than 8 for free. Over the course of an hour and a half guided tour you will learn the intricacies of the winemaking process, explore the cellars, and finally enjoy a glass of famous Freixenet cava. The cellars of Freixenet are so large, in fact, that your tour will require you to take a miniature train to traverse the labyrinth of passageways.
If you’re looking to enjoy a glass of delicious cava and get cultured all at the same time, Freixenet is the answer. Book a tour for yourself today!
Photo Credit: Grayline.com /Dinaster.com