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This article was first published on August 2, 2016 and was updated in March, 2018.
I planned my trip to the best wineries near Barcelona with the help of my sister’s husband who works for Torres and studied oenology (wine production). We did quite a lot of research between the two of us with the idea of scrutinising everything there is to know about the wine country near Barcelona, a region we are both very familiar with since we both grew up there, surrounded by the vineyards of the Penedes and cava region, 30min from Barcelona. So here is a list of the best wineries close to Barcelona so you can plan your wine tours.
- The wine country near Barcelona
- 1. The best winery to understand the origins of organic wines in Spain – Albet i Noya
- 2. Spanish wine royalty and one of the most acclaimed wineries in Europe – Torres
- 3. For a hand made genuine Cava family business – Gramona
- 4. High-end modern Cava – Agusti Torello Mata
- 5. Internationally acclaimed and pioneer in Cava – Codorniu
- 6. For the largest Cava producer – Freixenet
- 7. For Cava with the best views and tradition – Cava Llopart
- 8. For pioneer in biodynamic wines – Recaredo
- 9. For traditional Catalan life and heritage – Finca Viladellops
- 10. For a Hollywood wine fairytale – Jean Leon
The wine country near Barcelona
Having grown up in the region and in a winery myself (as my father also produces wine) I knew a lot of brand names and was familiar with all the families attached to the wine businesses so I used this expertise to pick the most significative and representative of Catalan wines.
There are almost 180 cellars and 2,800 wine farmers in the Penedès Appellation, a small wine region about 30 minutes from Barcelona and which you can drive, end to end, in less than an hour. The concentration of wine cellars in this region is incredible, not least because there are both regular cellars as well as cava wineries. Vineyards cover most of the landscapes, together with other Mediterranean trees like olive groves and cereals. Wine making is therefore in the life of almost everyone living in the Penedès.
Denominación de Origen Penedès or DO is the Catalan name given to the appellation (more about DO here). It’s also a region that produces a lot of the Cava. So choosing to visit this area also provides a chance to experience Cava production end-to-end. In terms of numbers, there are 280 Cava producers, some of which are also listed as wine producers in the Penedès DO.
When there is so much choice, it is difficult to understand who the key players are, what the most scenic or picturesque wineries are and which wineries you should put on your “top winery” list. So let me help you – along with the combined knowledge and experience of my father (a wine producer himself) and my sister’s husband – to suggest the best wineries near Barcelona.
Tip: the best way to explore the wine regions near Barcelona is by car. So check out these tips for renting a car in Spain to help you choose.
1. The best winery to understand the origins of organic wines in Spain – Albet i Noya
It is thanks to a Danish wine importer that organic wines arrived in the Penedès and in Spain itself. Young Albet i Noya was already a vegetarian in the 70s when he shared his idea with the Wine Growers Association, volunteering to try it out. 40 years later, around 60% of the Penedès wineries are organic.
A tour of Albet i Noya is a great way to find out more and also to enjoy a lovely day on the garden under the shaded trees.
Book one of the three tours of Caves Albet i Noya
You can go on a winery tour, join an ebike tour or a full tour with wine pairing lunch. Tours run on Monday to Friday at 10am, 12 noon and 3pm. E-bike tours are available on Monday to Friday at 9am (bike pick-up time). The Wine and food pairing tour is available on Monday to Friday at 10am, 12 noon and 3pm.
2. Spanish wine royalty and one of the most acclaimed wineries in Europe – Torres
Torres wines are some of the better known and most widely acclaimed wines in Spain. They are also one of the largest producers, with the widest reach of vineyards spanning from Chile to California.
Torres has been producing fine wine since the 70s and owns estates in several wine appellations beyond the Penedès including Priorat, Rioja and Rueda. One cannot visit the Penedès and not stop at Torres. Torres also owns land and wineries outside of Spain, namely Marimar Torres in Chile and California. Their tours include a ride on a train through the property with translations in all languages, and a wine tasting at the shop.
Book a wine tour and ham pairing tour at Torres Winery
Book a wine and cheese pairing tour of Torres Winery
Tours are available from Monday to Friday at 11am, 1pm and 3:30pm, Saturday at 11:30am, 1pm and 3.30pm and Sunday and holidays at 11:30am from November to March and from Monday to Friday at 11am, 1pm and 3.30pm, Saturday at 1p, Sundays and holidays at 10.30am from April to October.
3. For a hand made genuine Cava family business – Gramona
Gramona is one of the smallest and most beautiful cellars in Sant Sadurni d’Anoia, the Cava’s Capital. Book a visit and they will guide you down several basement floors under the busy streets of the city and through the dark.
They will finally lead you through silent aisles that are lined up with Cava bottles resting and waiting to be disgorged. It was one of the most fascinating, genuine and beautiful tours I have ever taken, especially because we got to see the manual disgorging done live, something which is still done at Gramona.
Gramona is a small and family-owned cava winery which does not run organised tours. They are happy to welcome you on a private tour. You can book directly with the winery here. Getting to Gramona is easy as the main cellar is located in the village of Sant Sadurni d’Anoia which can be reached via Rodalies train from Barcelona. The journey takes 45min and there are four trains every hour.
4. High-end modern Cava – Agusti Torello Mata
Not as long term a Cava producer in Catalan terms, Agusti Torello Mata, coming from a tailoring family, wanted to enter the wine industry from an early age. He opened the first ever wine lab in the 70s and then started the Cava Guild where he is Honorary President.
A visit will most likely allow you to meet him, since he likes to wander the shop and cellar on the weekends. His famous Kripta wine is shaped like the ancient Roman Amphoras that were used to transport wine to Rome 25 centuries ago. Consequently, it is one of their most awarded Cava wines.
Agusti Torello i Mata does not organise group tours but you can reach out to them directly for a private visit. All the details are available here. The winery is open Monday to Friday from 10am to 1pm and from 5pm to 7pm on on weekends from 11am to 2pm. They offer three types of tours. A basic Reserva visit, a Gran Reserva visit and a Premium visit ranging in price from 10 euro to 50 euro and all include wine tastings. Tours are available in English.
5. Internationally acclaimed and pioneer in Cava – Codorniu
The Cava name is undoubtedly associated with Codorniu. They started Cava production in 1872 and have built a family empire ever since. When you go on a tour, like I did, you get to have a quick look at the 30km of underground tunnels built on the side of the hill, below the winery.
The cellar and visitor center sit in quite a famous building, designed by Gaudi contemporary Puig i Cadafalc. It is a great representation of Modernism and is worth a visit on their own. Codorniu also produces wine under the Raimat brand and owns several other estates.
Book an e-bike and winery tour of Codorniu
Tours run at 10am on Thursday (except public holidays) in English and on Saturday, Sunday and public holidays in Spanish. You can get there by Rodalies train from Barcelona to Sant Sadurní d’Anoia station and then take a taxi from the train station. The journey takes 45min and there are 4 trains every hour.
6. For the largest Cava producer – Freixenet
The largest Cava producer and the brand name most commonly found outside of Spain is Freixenet. Selling over 100 million bottles a year, Freixenet have expanded into several other wine appellations and geographies after purchasing many other brands.
Freixenet started exporting wines to the US in the 1930s and its international profile has only but expanded. Today, Freixenet exports to over 100 countries and produces wines in 16 wine regions from California to Argentina to Australia. Christmas in Spain does not start until the Freixenet Christmas ad has aired. It’s the most anticipated advert in the country year after year, probably because it features celebrities. It’s the company’s way of sharing their best wishes for the holiday season. It is therefore akin to switching the Christmas tree lights on.
Despite its size and international presence, Freixenet continues to be a family business in its 5th generation. Produced in Sant Sadurni d’Anoia, Freixenet impacts the life of 2,000 farmers in positive way because it purchases their grapes.
Book a Tour of Freixenet Caves
Tour the wineries and taste the cava at the end. Tours run Monday to Sunday and public holidays, at 12 noon in Spanish and 11.30pm in English. You can get there by Rodalies train from Barcelona to Sant Sadurní d’Anoia station. The train takes 45min and there are 4 trains every hour.
7. For Cava with the best views and tradition – Cava Llopart
After Codorniu decided to make sparkling wine or Methode Champenois, local winemakers followed. One of them was Cava Llopart, selling their first bottle in 1887 and are still using the same label today.
Their Gran Reserva Tour is a great all round 360 degree visit of the vineyards, the cellar and the tasting room. Situated up in the Subirats hills, the views are a lovely way to kick off the day. It’s also easy to reach by car, like most other wineries near Barcelona.
You can book your Cava Llopart tour directly with the winery here. Cava Llopart opens Monday to Friday from 9am to 2pm and from 3pm to 7pm and on weekends and public holidays from 10am to 2pm. Tours are offered in English. There is no direct public transportation to the winery which is up on a hill so the best way to get there is by train from Barcelona to Sant Sadurni d’Anoia and then taking a taxi from the train station to the winery.
8. For pioneer in biodynamic wines – Recaredo
Although this family business started making Cava in 1924, they are best known for being the first certified biodynamic winery (2006) in the Cava and Penedès wine appellations. The brand’s name is the first name of the owner’s grandfather, who started the business in the 1920s. Of all the wineries near Barcelona, Recaredo has an outstanding profile in the biodynamic world.
Recaredo’s focus on the land and the vineyard extends into their Cava. Some of the bottles they have released since that 2006 certification include single-vineyard Cava with a long ageing period of over eight years.
Recaredo does not offer organised tours but is open to private visits and tours booked directly via their contact form.
9. For traditional Catalan life and heritage – Finca Viladellops
This relatively new winery has a history dating back to 1877. Although they stopped producing wines, closing their cellar in 1980, they re-opened in 1999.
What makes this winery interesting is the location in the tiny 18-country house village of Viladellops. The town was founded in the 10th century when the Spanish conquered the castle of Olèrdola from the Moors and the area was repopulated. The castle’s tower is intact so you can visit it after seeing the winery. You can also visit the Chapel the Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem built at the same time as the castle.
Caves Viladellops does not offer organised group tours but you can book a visit directly with them here. There are three different types of tours which run daily at 11am and include a visit plus tasting. If you have a large group, they can also organise a lunch in the winery.
10. For a Hollywood wine fairytale – Jean Leon
Jean Leon was actually born in the north of Spain as Ceferino Carrion. He wanted to be an actor, so he left Spain at the early age of 19 as a stowaway to New York. He eventually landed in Hollywood, where he first worked as a waiter at Frank Sinatra’s restaurant La Villa. In addition to this, he then opened the well known Beverly Hills restaurant La Scala with James Dean.
But he eventually returned back to Spain and used his english acquired name to open a winery in 1963 which has become synonymous with high-end premium wines. He is also credited with bringing some of the French grape varieties to Spain.
Jean Leon is part of the Torres Group that acquired the winery in 1994, but is managed as an independent company.
BONUS: BOOK A DAY TOUR OF JEAN LEON + TORRES + FREIXENET
Tours last from 8.30am to 4.15pm and on from November to March on Thursday and Sunday and from April to October on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday in English, Catalan and Spanish. Other languages are available on audioguide available for purchase onboard. The tour departs from Barcelona Plaça Catalunya (in front of El Corte Inglés).
If you’d like to read more about Spain, check these posts…
- Where to stay in Barcelona – Best areas and luxury boutique hotels
- A day out of Barcelona taking the Cava Llopart 1887 Gran Reserva Tour
- Albet i Noya – the pioneer in organic winemaking in Spain
- Guide to Siurana, a legendary village on Priorat’s mountains
- Caring for the Earth at Bodegas Torres Winery, Spain’s Wine Royalty