Second International Workshop

August 29-30, 2005
Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain

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More specific information about the cellers that we will visit will be available soon.


Catalonia is land of good wines. There are several wine-growing regions in Catalonia and Penedès, located in the south-west of Barcelona, is one of the most important ones. Wines from this area are highly appreciated, and the most popular product is the sparkling wine or Cava. The region of Penedès is one of the most important wine regions of Europe. The main social event of the workshop will be a visit to the one of the famous Catalan Cava cellers in Sant Sadurní d'Anoia, the capital city of the wine region of Penedès. Sant Sadurní d'Anoia is a very singular town, full of underground cellers, that produce the 90% of the whole cava production of Catalonia in an area of more than 26.000 hectares. Some of the producers located in the area are considered to be the largest winery in the world.


The region of Penedès is in a priviledged geographic location. The soils are rich in limestone at altitudes of between 200 m and 800 m. A persistently cool Mediterranean climate breezes year-round. The region has three different micro-climates itself.

  • The Baix Penedès (low Penedès), which follows the coast line and has a warm climate due to the influence of the sea.
  • The Penedès Central (middle Penedès) expands between the sea and the mountains, and it is between 200 and 400 meters high.
  • The Penedès Superior (high Penedès), which is located inland and protected by forests. The height of the land is about 800 meters over the sea level, and this determines the properties of the wine plants.
This climate diversity allows to cultivate different types of grapes, e.g., Xarel-lo, Macabeu, Perellada (which are autochthon) for elaborating cava, or Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay for the elaboration of wine.

The origin of Cava is associated to the splendor of Catalan viticulture in the middle of XIXth century and to the Champagne renown towards the end of XVIIIth century. The studies of microbiology carried out by Louis Pasteur applied to wine, involved a control of the second fermentation in the bottle and the discovery of cork allowed to avoid the losing of bubbles produced in wine. The traditional method or Champenoise was born this way.

In 1872 Josep Raventós i Fatjó, from the historical house Codorniu, elaborates the first 3.000 bottles of Cava following the traditional method of second fermentation in bottle. It is his son and heir, Don Manuel Raventós i Domenech, who initiates the expansion and consolidation of the enterprise. Other producers from the town start also their elaboration and Sant Sadurní d'Anoia becomes de main capital of Cava.

In XIXth century some families from Sant Sadurní d'Anoia started to investigate that new technique of elaboration applied to vineyards on the area. As a result of their studies and attempts vinculated to the prestigious Institut Agrícola Català de Sant Isidre, they chose the autochthonous varieties of white grape. Cava was born consequently achieving its own peculiar identity different from any other sparkling wine of quality.

Along the decade of 1920, Cava was already consolidated into the Spanish market fact culminating in expansion in the 1960 decade and an international consolidation in the 1980 decade. Today it is one of the most dynamic and successful vitiviniculture sectors in the essentially Catalan vitiviniculture, with a total production of about 200.000.000 bottles per year that reach consumers worldwide.

Have a look at the Regulating Council of Cava, where you can find this and much more information about the Catalan cava and its production process.