We all know Barcelona as an internationally renowned tourist destination due to its prime location right at the sea, the culture and gastronomy. But how about the combination of golf and wine? Well, it turns out Barcelona is quite the destination for wine connoisseurs and golf lovers as well.
The regions of Barcelona, in addition to having Barcelona as their capital city, have been blessed with spectacular natural settings that can be enjoyed in all sorts of ways, one of the finest being golf. The perfect sport for those who love outdoor activities. And golf in the Barcelona area, where there are no fewer than nine magnificent courses to play on, offers a genuinely exciting challenge.
Wine tourism is the perfect complement to a day of golf. The world of wine is a fresh way to explore Barcelona and its territorial contrasts. A good wine is the end result of multiple circumstances. This exciting and often unfamiliar universe involves an elaborate process that culminates at the table in the form of a glass of wine and a good meal in the company of friends. But all sorts of fascinating things have to occur to make that magical moment happen.
A changing landscape
Vines grow in open spaces, forming a striking landscape that changes with the seasons. In the winter, the vines are bare and the winemaker’s work comprises pruning them and oxygenating the soil. When the first shoots appear in the spring, they’re thinned out, leaving only the strongest. In the summer, the vine shoots turn a luscious green, shielding the first bunches of grapes. As summer turns to autumn, the grape harvest takes place and vineyards buzz with activity. Tractors haul grape-laden trailers to the cellar, where the potential alcohol content is measured and the crushing begins, the first step of the long process. The harvest is also a festive occasion, a time to celebrate or pray for a good harvest, as well as to taste the first must.
The world of wine, a new way to explore a destination
Wine tourism activities usually involve a visit to a winery. The building itself is of paramount importance, be it a family farm, a piece of Catalan modernist architecture or the work of a prestigious architect. History, and above all the various stages of the winemaking process, play an important role in the end product. Subsoil, grapevine and climate are the other determining factors. The composition of the substrates will be suited for growing a particular type of grape and the climatology will do the rest. All of this will have a decisive influence on the aromas and flavours of the wine obtained in the cellar, and wine tourism is all about discovering this process and the elements involved.
Five Designation of Origin seals, five different worlds
The province of Barcelona is home to five of the twelve Designation of Origin (DO) seals boasted by Catalonia: three seals specific to the province (DO Penedès, DO Alella, DO Pla de Bages) and the Catalonia-wide DO Cava and DO Catalunya seals. There are several wineries associated with each seal that together offer a wide variety of wine tourism options: tastings led by wine experts, gastronomic pairings with wine as the protagonist, signposted trails through vineyards, whether on foot, by bike, horse and cart or Segway, dramatized tours… You even have the chance to take part in field work, whether during the grape harvest, when the vineyards are alive with activity, or in the winter, when the grape vines are prepared.
DO Penedès, the seal covering the largest area in Catalonia
Covering an area between the Catalan Pre-Coastal Range and the Mediterranean coast, the influence of the sun and the sea breeze make this superb winegrowing territory, an area of gently rolling hills with varying microclimates. Xarel·lo is the grape variety that has best adapted to the soil and climate of the region and is therefore the most widespread. The area of the DO Penedès seal also contains the largest number of wineries and, therefore, the widest variety of wine tourism activities. One of the must-see attractions in this part of the world for wine-loving visitors is the VINSEUM (Museum of the Wine Cultures of Catalonia), located in Vilafranca del Penedès. The museum is housed in a superbly refurbished historical building and takes you on a journey through the history of wine from its origins right up to the present day.
Green vines near the sea
By contrast, the DO Alella seal covers a much smaller area, boasting just nine wineries, all of which produce excellent wines. Proximity to the sea is undoubtedly a decisive factor in determining the colour and aroma of the white wines of this region, which are mostly produced from the Pansa Blanca grape variety, and which have been historically associated with the Catalan bourgeoisie. Nowadays, the region also produces red, rosé and dessert wines, along with cava.
A walk through the Landscapes of Barcelona
The DO Pla de Bages seal covers an area stretching between the Montserrat, Castelltallat, Sant Llorenç del Munt and L’Obac mountain ranges, also taking in the Montcau Massif. Some of these mountain ranges are listed as natural parks, which indicates how important the landscape is in this part of the world. Picapoll is the main variety cultivated In the DO Pla de Bages area, giving its wines a strong personality. There are a dozen wineries in this area. Wine tourism activities include the chance to discover the stone wine huts and vats scattered throughout the area. The purpose of these constructions, built by hand, was to facilitate work in the vineyards. Many of them have been restored thanks to a major conservation programme. Some of the most typical ones are found in the Montcau Valleys.
Quality bubbles, synonymous with festivities
The DO Cava seal covers almost the entire Alt Penedès region. The wineries here are of paramount importance since millions of bottles of cava rest in their underground galleries. What’s more, some of these buildings were designed by the most prestigious architects of Catalan modernism. In Sant Sadurní d’Anoia, known as the cava capital, the Cava Interpretation Centre, housed in an old wine spirit distillery built in 1814, is a must-see attraction. This intense sensory experience gives visitors the chance to discover the history of cava, its values, aromas, festivities and the architecture associated with the production of this sparkling elixir.
Round off your day of golf with a visit that will give you a fresh perspective of the culture of the Barcelona area.
This article was created in cooperation with the Barcelona Province Council. For more information visit the following websites: