Earlier this month we were in Barcelona on a trip that I won that was sponsored by Freixenet on the Tesco Wine Club website. The sponsors, Freixenet, really looked after us well and we were given a personal guided tour of the Freixenet winery, including a step by step walk through of the process by which sparkling wines like Cava are made, and then treated to a lovely lunch and wine tasting session.
Freixenet (it’s pronounced “fresh-eh-net” in case you were wondering), is best known for its Cordon Negro cava wine, in its distinctive black bottle. It is, to this day, a family owned company that grew from humble beginnings in rural Catalunya. The roots of Freixenet stretch back to 1861 and are embedded in the history of two longstanding winemaking families: the Ferrers and the Salas, who joined forces following a marriage. Today Freixenet are world leaders in sparkling wines which are made using the traditional method of secondary fermentation in the bottle.
As the Freixenet winery is located in the town of Sant Sadurní (about 45km from Barcelona) and the train from Barcelona stops just metres away, the winery has become a popular excursion for visitors looking for a day out of the city. It’s reasonably priced and under 8s are free. Tours are in either English or Spanish and you should check for times before you make your trip. Each tour lasts about an hour and a half.
The tour includes:
- A video about the history of Freixenet in a mini cinema(This takes about 10 minutes and gives you a good overview of the company’s history and their importance within the Spanish wine market).
- A guided tour of the Freixenet winery which was built in 1922. Here you get to learn about the cava-making process, plus how to it is stored and served.
- A tour of the winery dating from the 1970s and 80s on a miniature train. This reminded me of a James Bond movie for some reason. The scale of the wine storage facility is amazing.
- A glass of cava (grape juice for children) and the opportunity to taste other products from the range as well as different snacks.
- A visit to the lovely gift shop. You can buy wine of course, but there are also lots of other products associated with the Freixenet brand and wine production in general.
It’s a fascinating experience and a great way to learn more about wine growing, wine regions and wine production. You also get to learn a little about the history of wine making and how Freixenet are innovating the wine production process, while maintaining the traditional quality levels.