This article contains affiliate links. If you click and make a booking I will make a very small commission paid by the booking company at no additional cost to you. 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 grew up there, surrounded by the vineyards of the Penedes and cava region, the closest vineyards to Barcelona.
Having grown up in the region and in a winery myself (my father also produces wine) I knew a lot of the wine labels and was familiar with all the big names attached to wine businesses in Catalunya so I used this expertise to pick the most significative and representative of ones for a few days of wine touring near Barcelona, not just the easiest to visit or the ones that the tour companies take you to, which may be beautiful and great, but are not the most iconic. The ones here are. Without further ado, here is a list of the best wineries close to Barcelona so you can plan your wine tours.
- The wine regions and vineyards near Barcelona
- 1. The best winery near Barcelona to understand the origins of organic wines in Spain – Albet i Noya
- 2. One of the most acclaimed wineries in Europe – Torres
- 3. For a hand crafted Cava winery near Barcelona – Gramona
- 4. For a premium modern Cava near Barcelona – Agusti Torello Mata
- 5. For the pioneer Cava producer close to Barcelona – Codorniu
- 6. For the largest Cava producer near Barcelona – Freixenet
- 7. For the vineyards near Barcelona with the best views and longest tradition – Cava Llopart
- 8. For the pioneer in biodynamic wines in Spain – Recaredo
- 9. For a traditional winery with heritage – Finca Viladellops
- 10. For a Hollywood fairytale winery near Barcelona – Jean Leon
The wine regions and vineyards near Barcelona
A lot of people ask me about wineries in Barcelona. Let me start by saying that there are no wineries in Barcelona, at least not in the city or the metropolitan area. There are however plenty of wineries and vineyards near Barcelona you can visit, some of them as close as just 30min by car or under an hour by train and public transportation. This article will talk about a few of the best wine tours close to Barcelona providing a range of options in the Penedes wine region.
As you can see in the above map of wine appellations in Catalunya the closest wine regions to Barcelona are Alella, Penedes and Cava. Because of the breath and range of wineries, I will focus on the ones in Penedes and Cava, just south of the city.
There are almost 180 cellars and 2,800 wine farmers in the Penedès Appellation, but the wine region is small enough that you can drive it in less than an hour. The concentration of wine cellars is incredible, not least because there are both regular cellars as well as cava wineries. As soon as you approach the region, you will notice the rolling hills covered in vineyards and other Mediterranean trees like olive groves and cereals. Wine making is in the life of almost everyone living in the Penedès.
Denominación de Origen Penedès or DO Penedes is the Catalan name given to the appellation (more about DO here). It’s also a region that produces a lot of the Cava and there are 280 cava producers, some of which are also listed as wine producers in the Penedès DO. By visiting this area you also get the chance to learn more about Cava production end-to-end.
However, since with so many vineyards and wineries near Barcelona, it is difficult to understand who the key players are, what the most scenic or picturesque wineries are and which ones you should put on your bucket 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 this article suggests the best vineyards and wineries near Barcelona.
1. The best winery near Barcelona 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 wine region and in Spain. Young Albet i Noya was already a vegetarian in the 70s when the idea had not been heard before in the country. In order to further his lifestyle philosophy, he approached the Wine Growers Association with the idea of testing organic wines and volunteered to try it out. He was a visionary and succeeded. Today, 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 about growing and producing organic wines 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. The Wine and food pairing tour is available on Monday to Friday at 10am, 12 noon and 3pm.
Click here to book
2. One of the most acclaimed wineries in Europe – Torres
Torres wines are some of the better known and most widely respected wine brands in the country. They are also one of the largest producers in Spain, having 1,300 hectares under their ownership, and have been awarded several international accolades from “The world’s most admired wine brand” to a “Lifetime achievement award” for the founder.
Torres has been producing fine wines since the 70s and owns estates in several wine appellations beyond the Penedès including Priorat, Rioja and Rueda in Spain. 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. The tours of the main Torres winery and estate in the Penedes include a ride on a train through the wine production area with translations in all languages, followed by a wine tasting at the shop. Read more about what to expect on a tour here.
DIY independent visit to Torres
Tours at the winery directly 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 crafted Cava winery near Barcelona – Gramona
Gramona is one of the smallest and most beautiful cellars in Sant Sadurni d’Anoia, the Cava’s Capital. Organise a visit and they will guide you down several basement floors under the busy streets of the city.
You will be led through silent underground maze of alleys lined up with Cava bottles resting and waiting to be disgorged. It was one of the most fascinating, genuine and beautiful wine tours I have ever taken, especially because we got to see the manual disgorging of the bottles done live just for us, something which is not done in a lot of cava wineries anymore where everything is mechanised. Don’t forget to buy a bottle or two to take home for that special celebration.
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. For a premium modern Cava near Barcelona – Agusti Torello Mata
By any Catalan term Agusti Torello Mata is not a long term wine producer. Coming from a tailoring family, he 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 the Honorary President.
A visit to Agusti Torello i Mata will most likely allow you to meet him, since he likes to wander the shop and cellar on the weekends and say hi to any visitors. The winery is known for the famous Kripta wine which is shaped like the ancient Roman Amphoras that were used to transport wine to Rome 25 centuries ago and is one of their most awarded Cava wines and one Catalans drink in special occasions.
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. For the pioneer Cava producer close to Barcelona – 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. Read my review of the visit here.
The cellar and visitor center sit in a very famous building which is a good enough reason to visit. The building was designed by Gaudi contemporary Puig i Cadafalc and is a great representation of Modernism. Codorniu also produces wine under the Raimat brand and owns several other estates.
DIY independent visit to Codorniu
Winery 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. Book here
6. For the largest Cava producer near Barcelona – 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 since then. Today, they export to over 100 countries and produce wine in 16 different 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 and usually features celebrities. The ad is the company’s way of sharing their best wishes for the holiday season. It is therefore akin to switching the Christmas tree lights on.
DIY independent tour of Freixenet
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. Book here
7. For the vineyards near Barcelona with the best views and longest tradition – Cava Llopart
After Codorniu decided to make sparkling wine following the 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 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.
DIY independent tour of Llopart
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.
Organised tour of Llopart
Alternatively, since it is hard to get to Llopart independently, you may want to join a tour of the winery where you will also learn how olive oil is made. There are two options I would recommend, one which also includes Montserrat and one which spends more time at the vineyards.
8. For the pioneer in biodynamic wines in Spain – 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 the most outstanding profile in the biodynamic world.
Recaredo does not offer organised tours but is open to private visits and tours booked directly via their contact form.
9. For a traditional winery with 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 fairytale winery near Barcelona – Jean Leon
Jean Leon was 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 in a ship to New York. He eventually arrived in Hollywood, where he first worked as a waiter at Frank Sinatra’s restaurant La Villa. After working his way up, he 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 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 and brand.
BONUS: SELECTION OF THE BEST WINERY DAY TOURS NEAR BARCELONA
This is the most complete day tour of the wineries near Barcelona. You get to try both cava and wine. Enjoy a cheese and wine pairing tour at Torres, brunch at Freixenet and a wine tour of Jean Leon. This tour includes the most respected wine brands in Spain. The tours lasts 8 hours and starts and ends in Barcelona. You can purchase an audioguide available in all languages. The tour departs from Barcelona Plaça Catalunya (in front of El Corte Inglés).
This tour of Can Bas combines the fun of an open-air jeep with the adventure of getting out into the vineyards to learn the origins of wine with an expert. There is quite a lot of cava and wine tasting paired with great snacks and cold cuts, the Catalan way. Great for groups of friends looking for a fun afternoon or for those who are less interested in the wine making process and more into wine tasting
I always believed that what made the wineries and wine region of Penedes and Cava so amazing was its proximity to the sea. In some cases the vineyards are right by the seafront, on the edge of the Mediterranean. What better way to pair a wine visit than with an afternoon at the most quaint and pretty of towns: Sitges (I may be biased since it’s my home town). Sitges is by the sea and its many beaches and cobblestone streets are beautiful. This is the playground of the wealthy.
If you’d like to read more about Spain, check these posts…
- Learning about Kosher wines at Celler de Capcanes
- Caring for the Earth at Bodegas Torres Winery, Spain’s Wine Royalty
- The most unique activities, cool places and unusual things to do in Barcelona
- Albet i Noya – the pioneer in organic winemaking in Spain
- Where to stay in Barcelona – Best areas and luxury boutique hotels