If someone proposes to visit the Penedès to those who know the wine world a little, they will quickly identify it for its excellent wines and also for the cava, since the territory has this double designation of origin. This beautiful corner of Catalonia is located 30 kilometers south of Barcelona and is a very attractive place of contrasts for a day or weekend getaway. It is close to the sea, allows you to walk through vineyards, visit wineries and climb to the top of a mountain to see a beautiful sunset.
Your wine road is the first wine road from the Mediterranean and allows wine tourism lovers to discover the old route that linked the Penedès vineyards with the Garraf beaches. The project was born in 2015, inspired by that of the Californian Napa Valley, as a call to wine tourism from the Catalan capital and to travel the area by car or public transport, using the Rodalies R4 train that departs from Plaza de Catalunya, and a Once here you can explore its beautiful paths on foot or by bicycle. A 33-kilometer linear route that passes through seven municipalities. Autumn is a magnificent time to visit the area, since the vineyards present green, yellow and reddish tones, since the red grapes make the leaves a deep mahogany color. In winter the plant remains bare until spring, but it continues to be an attractive plan due to the activities offered by the wineries. In this visit to an area that claims 2,700 years of history in the cultivation of vineyards and winemaking, we propose a route by car through three of the 13 wineries that make up the Vi road.
The first stop is at Parés Baltà, one of the first wineries that we found coming down from the city of Barcelona. A family firm with a long tradition, whose origins date back to the seventies of the last century, when the grandfather of the current owners began to work the land with the clear objective that the production process was as natural as possible. Today the philosophy remains the same: to produce organic and good quality wines and cavas, both by the two grandchildren and by their wives, who are also part of the winery as main winemakers.
The visit allows you to get to know its biodynamic vineyards, do tastings, pairings with cheese and chocolates. The most complete experience is in 4 × 4, a journey that crosses the Foix natural park, from the valley to the highest mountains, crossing its most emblematic vineyards. Some of the family’s vineyards are closer to the towns and almost 80 hectares of their plantation are in the forest or terrace, in some places where they operate practically alone because not many neighbors have these plantations in the Penedès.
One of the most special experiences of the visit is its breakfasts among the vines, which can be arranged on request. The proposal includes the traditional bread with tomato with delicious extra virgin olive oil, serrano ham, cheeses, fruits and a tasting of organic cavas. On the property there are also tastings in the patio of the winery, very frequented by the public in the area and open to the public all year round for those who want to know the family’s wines.
Recognized wine tourism destination
Torres wineries It is only 10 minutes away by car following the wine road. A family rooted in the Penedès wine-growing tradition since the 16th century, the winery was born 150 years ago and is one of the most admired in Europe (it is ranked 26th in the world’s 50 best wine tourism destinations, according to the World’s Best Vineyards list). Their wines are among the most recommended by experts and their strong commitment to climate change has made them a benchmark. The visit allows to know the place where some of its most emblematic proposals are born and the museum where one can delve into the history of the family.
It also has the El Celleret restaurant; its terrace is a magical space surrounded by a garden that blends with the Mas La Plana vineyard and with Montserrat on the horizon. The construction is located in an old cellar, hence the vaulted shape of the interior and its name, the cell (in Catalan, old winery). The restaurant manager, Sergi Millet, chef of the Torres family, prepares a menu that is always in season and with local products. So much so that some of the ingredients come from their own garden. The philosophy is the dishes to share, and you can choose between such delicious proposals as the coca with mushrooms and cheese, smoked aubergine with stracciatella, creamy rice, homemade roast cannelloni or steak tartar.
Tribute to Gaudí
Once the meal is finished, we will go to Mastinell Quarry & Hotel. The building was designed by the GCA Arquitectes studio with a unique architectural form: it emulates a sinuous set of cava bottles in rhyme and a spectacular roof, built with the technique of trencadís in tribute to Gaudí. Inside there is an elegant restaurant, En Rima, where you can enjoy local products, and a relaxation area where they offer wine therapy treatments. A good option for travelers looking to stay near Vilafranca del Penedès, as it is only a 15-minute walk away.
This is a city with character and a perfect stop to complete the trip. Here they await the Museum of Wine Cultures of Catalonia (VINSEUM) and the Basilica of Santa María, the first example of the introduction of Gothic in Catalonia. And we will also find a wide and varied gastronomic offer, such as Cal Ton (Carrer del Casal, 8), of Mediterranean food, or Romani, to enjoy tapas, always with a good Penedès wine.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.