Catalonia has been producing wine since the Greeks introduced grapevines to Empordà and the Romans to the region surrounding Tarragona and Barcelona. Though famous internationally for Cava (it was created in 1872 and swiftly became one of the most important wines produced in Catalonia), Catalan vineyards produce a wide variety of wines thanks to its position geographically; with a Mediterranean climate on the coast and a more continental climate further inland. Nowadays the region has many grape varieties: white wine grapes of Macabeo, Parellada and Xarel•lo and the red wine grapes of Garnacha, Monastrell and Tempranillo amongst many others.
There are ten official wine producing regions: Alella, Conca de Barberà, Costers del Segre, Empordà, Montsant, Pla de Bages, Tarragona, Terra Alta, Penedès and Priorat. Each region has its own speciality in grape variety and the wines produced can be extremely different. Priorat for example produces powerful red wines and has been recognized as having some of the best ground in the world for producing wine. Conca de Barberà on the other hand is famous for its white wines using the Parellada grape and Rosé. There has also recently been a surge in the amount of bodegas producing organic wines, using only organic fertilisers and ancient production methods.
In the last few years, due to a growing interest in Catalan cuisine in general, more and more bodegas have started offering visits and tastings. Why not spend a day at La Vinyeta in Empordà, tasting their selection of full bodied reds, appley sweet wine and extra virgin olive oil before moving on to visit the Costa Brava or La Garrotxa regions? If you prefer a more hands on approach Art Cava offers visits, tastings and lets you do the final step in creating you very own bottle of Cava to take home. Needless to say if you are a fan of the product of the bodegas you visit you can buy from them at a lower price, an added bonus to a fantastic day out discovering Catalan wine making.