Catalan wine and cava - a symbol of the region's natural wealth
Catalan winemakers and producers are constantly producing outstanding wines and cavas. This long track record utilises the most innovative production techniques and methods. The upshot are sumptuous wines with an array of nuances and flavours that embody the essence of each landscape and each variety of grape. The sum of these characteristics has enabled Catalonia to achieve a total of twelve designations of origin to date - a stamp of quality and diversity. Wine culture, tradition and landscape are part of Catalonia's history. The Greek and Roman civilisations brought vine-growing to the Mediterranean. Since then, vines, vineyards, wineries and wines have been part of our history.
Catalonia, land of wines
As the third-largest in the region's agri-food industry, the Catalan wine sector is highly strategic and very strong. It is also a competitive sector, with the best technical and human capabilities, facilities and winemakers. Catalonia has an ideal climate and soil to produce wine, and the sector is one of the main ambassadors of Catalan land and identities. Every bottle contains tradition, culture, landscape, research, innovation and passion. These features make the world its natural market, and turn drinking and enjoying this wine into an experience for the best taste buds.
Catalonia is the largest producer of quality wine with a designation of origin in Spain. Its production totals more than 180 million bottles of wine and more than 200 million bottles of cava. Twelve DOs prove it: Alella, Catalonia, Cava, Conca de Barberà, Costers del Segre, Empordà, Montsant, Penedès, Pla del Bages, Priorat (qualified designation of origin), Tarragona and Terra Alta. The geography, climate and grape varieties in each of these areas result in a range of distinct Catalan wines, all with one common denominator: quality, due to the producers and winemakers' dedication and constant quest to improve.
Designation of origin
A designation of origin guarantees the geographical origin and quality of a wine, and shows that it is made from specific varieties using specific growing, making and ageing practices. To qualify for a designation of origin, experts carry out rigorous analytical and tasting checks that prove its quality. Let’s take a look at the Catalan DOs:
- DO ALELLA: This is the smallest, but one of the oldest and most unusual. It has always been linked to urban development, as traditionally this was the wine drunk by Barcelonans.
- DO CATALUNYA: This DO continues to grow steadily and is expanding on both foreign and domestic markets: over 40 million bottles in more than 100 countries.
- DO CAVA: Although the cava-producing region stretches over several of Spain's autonomous communities including Catalonia, La Rioja, Valencia and Extremadura, 95% of the total production comes from Catalonia.
- DO CONCA DE BARBERÀ: This area has an ancient winemaking history, ranging from several medieval monasteries to agricultural cooperatives created in the early 20th century. The current trend is to add high-quality red wines to its range of whites and rosés.
- DO COSTERS DEL SEGRE: This designation in the province of Lleida is made up of the sub-areas of Artesa, Vall del Río Corb, Les Garrigues, Pallars Jussà, Raimat and Segrià. Use of advanced technology and innovation are prominent features.
- DO EMPORDÀ: New registered wineries that have successfully adapted to new technological trends. The Regional Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries has put in place a vineyard restructuring plan that entails varietal conversion and enhanced cultivation techniques.
- DO MONTSANT: Although this is the youngest Catalan DO, it has already carved out a strong position on the market. It encompasses cooperatives opened almost 100 years ago, modern wineries, young and well-trained winemakers, and high-quality production.
- DO PENEDÈS: Classified as a white winemaker, the last few years have seen a major revolution with the production of high-quality red wines lauded by sommeliers and experts from all over the world.
- DO PLA DE BAGES: There are only a few hectares of vineyards here, but quality prevails. The Pla de Bages is known for having reintroduced the Picapoll - an autochthonous variety of very small grape that can be either white or red.
- DOQ PRIORAT: This is the only DO in Catalonia and one of only two in Spain that has the qualified designation of origin seal. Considerable growth is expected in the future.
- DO TARRAGONA: This area produces many high-quality fortified wines, including the Tarragona Clàssic. Red wines have become more prominent in the last few years, in addition to its historic whites and rosés.
- DO TERRA ALTA: The spirit of the cooperative is deeply rooted in this region. A quest to modernise among wineries, winegrowers and winemakers has resulted in fruity rosés, whites with low acidity, and full-bodied vivid reds.
Events and fairs
Trade fairs and events showcasing Catalonia's winemaking tradition are held to promote its wines and cavas, for which Prodeca supports the participation of Catalan wineries. Some 60 wineries exhibit at the Catalan Wine and Cava Fair held every year in Barcelona. Worldwide, the sector is also involved in global trade fairs such as the meetings for professionals that are organised annually in Hong Kong and Germany.
*Based on data for 2017.