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Passionate experience junkie. Lover of the arts and architecture. Want to see and share the world, one village at a time.

For the Love of Wine

It’s what keeps the economy chugging in Spain’s Catalonia – and they’re pretty darned passionate about how to grow the grapes.



Codorniu Winery


“You make together – the plant with the wire,” says Joan Raventós, an exuberant restaurateur and vineyard owner whom I met while touring Europe. He trudged ahead of me down one row and up the next pointing out how the structured wire armatures had the vines trained perfectly onto them for maximum exposure to the sun, and more importantly at harvest, so the machines could roll down the rows and grab the grape bunches with efficiency.

“You have to work all year, thinking the machine.”

Catalonia, with its perfect proximity between the majestic Montserrat Mountain and the sparkling Mediterranean, is cava country. Cava is a sparkling wine, like champagne, that results from a perfect blend of three types of high-acid grapes.

Joan stood up and swept his arm across the gently sloping hill, pointing out that this southern facing vineyard was positioned best for maximum taste in the cava grapes.


One of Joan’s vineyards


Small wineries dot Spain’s landscape

Best vineyards

Majestic Montserrat


The Grape Harvest

The grape-harvesting machine picks 1,000 kilos in a half hour, Joan tells me.

“Plants are fickle – good some years, some bad,” he says. I get the feeling Joan’s empire here in rural Catalonia could weather many storms. When I ask how he’s doing – how business is here, he answers with a twinkle in his eye.

“Everyone is thirsty.”

I’ll always remember Joan’s hospitality and enthusiasm, and each time I buy a bottle of Sparkling wine, I make sure it comes from one of the two wineries where Joan delivers his grapes each September: Codorníu or Freixenet. Then I know I’m enjoying a sip from the lovely grapes grown on that southern-facing slope in Catalonia.

Best vineyards

Joan Raventós


One of Joan’s two restaurants: Les Piques

Grape and vine

Beautiful Codorníu Winery


Modern wine vats




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14 Responses to “For the Love of Wine”

  1. budget jan #

    Love the photo of Codorníu Winery and Les Piques. Wouldn’t it be nice to be going to Les Piques tonight?

    January 4, 2013 at 12:38 am Reply
    • Oh Jan, don’t you know it! Let’s go!

      January 4, 2013 at 7:09 am Reply
  2. Sometimes I think I will explode with all the things I want to do and all the places I want to go!
    budget jan recently posted..26 Things to do in Townsville 2012My Profile

    January 15, 2013 at 2:07 pm Reply
    • Oh my gosh Jan, so funny! I know EXACTLY how you feel. Thanks for chiming in!

      January 15, 2013 at 2:49 pm Reply
  3. How interesting to read this today. I just bought a bottle of Codorníu Cava this afternoon in my local liquor store in the middle of Canada. I really enjoyed sampling the Cava when I was in Catalonia but I never toured any wineyards. Something for my next visit.
    Donna Janke recently posted..Man and Nature at the Manitoba MuseumMy Profile

    June 28, 2015 at 11:12 pm Reply
    • Hi Donna,
      Fantastic! I love that you bought Codorníu cava! The grapes may have come from my friend’s vineyard — it’s a happy thought! Enjoy!

      June 29, 2015 at 9:49 am Reply
  4. Well, I’ll be. I’ve opened many a bottle of Freixenet myself. How wonderful to see the grapes and their minder. Joan obviously loves his work. I love the passion in Catalunya for making sure everything tastes and looks wonderful, whether in your glass or on your plate.
    Betsy Wuebker | PassingThru recently posted..Lost Wallet in ParisMy Profile

    June 29, 2015 at 12:16 pm Reply
    • Hi Betsy,

      Yup, Freixenet is right there in Catalonia — and produces the best cava, in my humble opinion. Passion is everywhere in this lovely region of Spain, as you well know. So glad you had the opportunity to discover that recently.

      Wishing you safe and happy travels, my friend,

      June 29, 2015 at 3:27 pm Reply
  5. Always so nice to visit “the source.” We fell in love with cava when visiting Catalonia.
    Irene S. Levine recently posted..In celebration of ceviche on National Ceviche DayMy Profile

    June 30, 2015 at 8:29 am Reply
  6. Cava! I love meeting producers of good food and wine, and hope to do more of this–with plenty of tastings–when I’m next in Catalonia.
    Anita recently posted..Lessons from a Catalan kitchenMy Profile

    July 2, 2015 at 3:57 am Reply
  7. I love reading about wineries; I am fascinated by the art in creating different wines and I enjoyed reading about your experience!

    July 4, 2015 at 6:30 am Reply
    • Hi Marilyn,

      The science of winemaking is indeed a fascinating business — more involved than one might think. Much more than squishing a few grapes and tipping a glass!
      Thanks so much for stopping by!


      July 4, 2015 at 8:05 am Reply
  8. My wine tastebuds will never be the same after visiting Spain. Very new fan of Cava-great summer wine. The Cordorniu winery is beautiful.
    alison abbott recently posted..5 Reasons to Love My Boston Weekend ViewMy Profile

    July 4, 2015 at 12:41 pm Reply
    • I like that Alison — “My wine tastebuds will never be the same after visiting Spain.” I’m learning to enjoy cava more often than just special occasions. The refreshing bubbly is so great with any meal, including breakfast — which we had while in Spain! Those guys just know how to enjoy dining, don’t they?

      July 4, 2015 at 12:52 pm Reply

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