Barcelona Wine Tasting
City sipping, plus cellar tours in Catalonia’s picturesque wine country
By Duncan Rhodes
With 12 denominacion de origen wine regions in Catalonia, worshippers of Dionysus will not go thirsty in Barcelona. We take a look at some of the famous wineries, plus offer up a selection of fantastic wine tours and activities.
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 production that can be dated back to the Phoenicians, an ancient civilisation who arrived on the Iberian peninsular long before the Romans.
Whilst vintages on this side of the Pyrenees don’t always garner the same praise 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. It was of course at that time that the production of the now world famous 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.
Wineries 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 (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 (which is 40 mins by train from Barcelona Sants Station) and taking a taxi or walking (25 mins) from there.
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!
For a 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 just 42 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 a bit extra and you can round off your tour with a rustic lunch in the romantic environs of the 1,000 year old farm house. Email email@example.com for more info. The great value price and reviews make this our number one booked activity!
On this bespoke private excursion, organised by one of the Catalonia’s most knowledgeable guides, participants will be transported to two top wineries in the Penedes region. However you won’t be calling in on the more touristic Codorniu and Freixenet wineries, but rather you’ll be shown around two family-run boutique vineyards where you’ll get a more personal tour of the premises and of course taste a wide range of mouthwatering local Catalan wines with some delicious snacks. Afterwards you’ll visit a top quality local restaurant for a hearty lunch with regional dishes. The cost is €220 pp for 2 people, €175 pp for 3-4 people and €150 pp for 5 or more and includes all food and wine, hotel pick up and private guide, making this day out a great value luxury experience for those looking for that authentic tasting experience. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
A fabulous day trip that combines a visit to the unmissable Montserrat mountain and the sacred abbey nestled in the folds of its jagged peaks, followed by a delicious traditional lunch and the chance to taste some excellent regional wines. After visiting the mountain, the second half of the day takes places in a 10th century castle, where your party will have exclusive roaming rights of the grounds and vines. Then it’s time to hit the millennium-old medieval cellars and sip some choice vintages with some cheese tapas. At the all inclusive price (guide, transport, food, drink) of €94 per person it’s a great deal and it gets better because our partners now offer all our readers a 5% discount. Start by emailing us on email@example.com with your preferred dates and group size and we’ll get back to you with the promotion code.
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 top class 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. Prices are €120 per person for 2 people, €95 p.p. for 3, €85 p.p. for 4, €70 p.p. for 5, €65 p.p. for 6, €60 p.p. for 7, €50 p.p. for 8-9 and just €45 p.p for 10 or more people. To book simply get in contact via firstname.lastname@example.org with your dates and group size.
Wine Tour Operators
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 (as per above), where you get to spend an entire morning at Catalonia’s sensational Montserrat mountain… before commencing your more Epicurean journey into the world of Bacchic pleasures at a wonderful old castle. In fact we liked it so much that you can now book it simply by emailing us on email@example.com with your required dates and group number. We have even negotiated a 5% discount coupon code for our readers, which you will receive only when you send us an email! So do get in touch with us first to get the best price.
Barcelona Wine Tours
Need more impartial advice on which tours and experiences might be right for you? Then check out the resource dedicated to Catalonia’s enotourism opportunities. You can reserve a range of grape-related activities from day trips to the best vineyards in Catalonia to wine-tasting courses in the city.
About the Author
Duncan established Barcelona Life in 2009, whilst freelancing for the likes of Conde Nast, The Guardian, Easyjet Magazine, CNN Traveller and many more. From interviews with Ferran Adria to revealing the secrets of the city’s poetry brothels, he knows the city inside out… and shares all his best tips right here.