Wine Tasting in and around Barcelona
Catalonia, in north-east Spain, is blessed with diverse and fertile soils and a warm climate which have proved to be perfect conditions for wine-making for centuries. Today over 70,000 hectares in Catalonia are given over to wineries and vineyards and the region has a long history of wine-making that can be dated back to the Phoenician times, an ancient civilisation who arrived on the Iberian peninsular long before the Romans.
Whilst Catalan/Spanish vintages don't always garner the same hysteria as their French cousins across the border, the vineyards of Spanish and Catalan wineries have been turning out great tasting blends for generations now; although it wasn't perhaps until the 19th century when regional producers truly mastered the art of wine-making. It was of course at that time that the production of the legendary Cava wines began, when Josep Raventos of the Codorniu winery successfully imitated the French Champagne method of producing sparkling vintages in the early 1870s. The Codorniu winery remains one of the most famous and popular in Spain but there are in fact many more around Barcelona where you can visit and tour the vineyards and cellars - as well as of course indulge in some wine tasting, whether you prefer red, white, sparkling or still. Below we list some of those best geared up towards enotourism, as well as some trusted wine tour providers.
Above: Overlooking the harvested vines in the Penedes region
Wineries & Vineyards near Barcelona
Below are some of the most famous wineries within shooting distance of the Catalan capital, and some tips on how to reach them. Many can be accessed by train, whilst for others you'll have hire a car or scooter (in which case please designate a driver!).
A historical winery in Esplugues de Llobregat with cavernous Cava cellars, expansive vineyards, beautiful gardens and Art Nouveau buildings. The wine ain't half bad either. You can reach the winery by making your way to Sant Sadurni (40 mins by train from Barcelona Sants Station) and taking a taxi or walking (25 mins). Tours cost 8 euros and are available in multiple languages. Or check below for a private wine tasting tour that continues on from Codorniu to a second, family-run, vineyard and includes lunch, guide and transport to and from Barcelona...
The last standing urban winery in Spain can be found just 14km up the road from Barcelona, and is a treat not just for wine buffs but architecture gurus too - the cellars are all built in the characteristic Modernista style of the early 20th century, the Catalan version of art nouveau. Tours include a visit to the Marfil Museum, wine-making laboratory, pressing zone, bottling factory, and of course includes wine-tasting (three varieties).
Wine Tasting Activities
Although it is generally cheaper to travel independently from Barcelona to the vineyards by public transport, you may find that joining an organised excursion is worth the extra dinero you pay when it comes to enjoying a day out at the cellars. Little things like knowing opening times, knowing when English-speaking tours are available, and providing hotel pick up in a mini-van (as opposed to navigating train timetables on the Renfe website) can add up to much more enjoyable experience! Check below for a short list of activities which we have hand-picked for our readers, and can help organise for you. Just send us an email!
Barcelona Wine Tasting Tour
On this private excursion, organised by one of the city's most experienced tour operators, participants will be taken to not one, but two top wineries in the Penedes region. The first is the aforementioned Codorniu Winery, where you'll get to see how arguably the most famous name in the business produce their Cava. Then it's off to a much smaller, family-run vineyard where you'll get a more personal tour of the premises, sit down for a delicious tapas lunch - and of course taste a wide range of local Catalan wines. At an all-inclusive cost of 150 euros per person this highly recommended day out is must for those looking for an authentic tasting experience! Email for more details.
Make Your Own Cava
For a more hands-on wine tasting tour, grape lovers should look no further than the Create Your Own Cava experience. This day out combines many of the same activities as any self-respecting wine tour, such as a guided stroll around the sun-kissed vineyards, a nose around the cellars, and a thorough explanation of the production process, but it also invites people to participate directly in the wine's preparation. Having sampled several different blends of Cava, guests choose a bottle of their favourite and then tackle the tricky process of 'disgorgement' themselves. Great fun, and afterwards you can personalise the bottle you prepared... and take it home to drink at your leisure! The cost is 35 euros per head and includes free pick up from the local train station in the Penedes (you can easily make the 50 min rail journey from Barcelona). Splash out an extra 10 euros per head and you can round off your tour with a rustic lunch in the romantic environs of the 1,000 year old farm house. Email for more info.
City-based Wine Tasting
As you can see we fully advocate getting out to the Penedes, but if you have limited time in the region then it's a tough call. We also fully advocate seeing the unmissable architecture of Antoni Gaudi, weaving your way through the narrow alleyways of the medieval Gothic district and checking out the best of the city's art museums! For the entrenched urbanite, or the wine lover on a tight schedule, this city-based wine tasting class offers the perfect solution. Taking place in one of Barcelona's foremost vinotecas you will be talked through four delicious Spanish/Catalan vintages from the Penedes and Priorat regions, and taught some expert techniques on how to sample the good stuff to recognise all those aromas, nuances of flavours and much more. This 1 hr 15 min class, which takes place Tues through to Sat right in the heart of the city (just 1 minute walk from Placa Catalunya), is not only economical from a time perspective, but is very affordable at 35 euros per person. Especially as the class includes some appetising tapas. Email for more info or to book.
Wine Tour Providers
As the trend of culinary tourism continues to grow, and interest in Spanish and Catalan wines continues to rise, no wonder then that there are more and more passionate local companies helping travellers discover the glories of the grape. Below we list some of the expert local providers, and what they offer:
A young company, offering daily wine tasting trips from Barcelona, Castlexperience will transport you from the hubbub of the city to their 10th century castle and winery in Oller del Mas, where you will relax in an idyllic environment whilst learning about - and sampling - the cellar's finest produce. They offer numerous different experiences, but perhaps their best (in our humble opinion) is the Montserrat & Wine tour, where you get to spend two hours at Catalonia's sensational Montserrat mountain... before commencing your more Epicurean journey into the world of Bacchic pleasures. Read more by clicking the link above, or heading straight to their website.
Food & Wine Tours
These gurus of the gastronomic realms naturally know a thing or five thousand about the fruits of Dionysus, and offer a range of grape-related experiences from day trips to the best vineyards in Catalonia to wine-tasting courses in the city. Email us with your requirements and we'll put you in contact!