Brief History of Catalan Wines

The region with some of the best wines in Spain

Spain is one of the major wine producers in the world. Catalonia, the region where Barcelona is located, has ancient traditions in wine making and distribution. We want to share with you a brief history of Catalan wines and importance in our local culture.

Wine making in Catalonia

Nowadays this area has one of the highest concentrations of certified wineries in Spain. With a total of 11 designations of origin (DO) and Cava, a landmark among the world’s sparkling wines. We are very glad we can also make you a part of this ancient tradition. In fact, we can take you on a trip to the wine region of Alella or Pla de Bages located just a short drive away from the city center of Barcelona. 

Sidecar tour to winery near Barcelona.
Ride on the sidecar all the way into the vineyards with BrightSide Tours.



Ancient times and Medieval Period

Wine production in Spain dates back to the Phoenicians who inhabited the peninsula more than 3000 years ago. They discovered how favorable the warm climate was for wine making. But it was during the geopolitical dominance of the western Roman Empire, that wine making was strongly developed in Catalonia. It became one of the region’s main exports for centuries. Until the fall of the Roman Empire and arrival of the Moorish rule. By the middle ages, the favorable Mediterranean climate made Spanish wines one of the most frequently traded products in the Mediterranean. The deeply rooted commercial spirit of the local people and the know how knowledge was a succesfull combination

Modern Era

Later on, already in the 19th century, the unfortunate arrival of phylloxera pest in northern Europe devastated the vineyards. During this period, many French winemakers settled in the area around Barcelona. Bringing with them their grape varieties, machinery and methods that boosted Catalan wine making yet again.

The transformation of the quality and image of Catalan wines during the last quarter of the 20th century has been truly remarkable. Catalonia is home to 95% of the country’s total Cava wine production, but the exotic, powerful, warm and mineral-laden wines red and white wines also are made within its borders.

Vineyard tour and wine tasting tour from Barcelona

In Catalonia, elevation as well as proximity and exposure to the sea became crucial to the wine making methods. The vineyards of the area may be coastal, as in Alella, or remote and mountainous, as in Pla de Bages.

Family smiling and toasting with glasses of wine during a tour in Penedes
The magic of the spanish wine country is unique.

Heading to the wine country is an excellent plan to enjoy the sunshine, nature and the magnificent views over the Mediterranean Sea or Montserrat Mountain. What better way to do that than visit a traditional family ran vineyard and try several international award winning wines. Both our van and sidecar tours include a visit to the estate and tasting – red, white, rosé, sparkling Cava – all locally produced. 

Have you ever tried Catalan wine? Which is your favorite? 

For more information on our unique wine country tours, have a look here

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