After a few days of having no wifi to post my blogs with, I jumped out of bed in the morning of our first excursion. Within the first twenty minutes of driving away from Plaça de Catalunya I saw the first glimpses of how different the landscape of the countryside is from the heart of Barcelona.  As buildings and busy roads gave way to rolling hills, valleys, and endless vineyards, my stress melted away.  In awe of the natural beauty of the landscape, all I could do was sit in silence, enraptured by the flawless sights outside my window.  Our destination was Penedès, a beautiful wine country located along the Mediterranean Sea, about an hour drive southwest from Barcelona.  Upon arrival, we were introduced to Albert, a wine expert, who served as our tour guide and translator in a local family-run vineyard, Eudald Massana Noya and olive oil cellar, Ca La Madrona.  Even though the products differed, the prevailing sentiment between both businesses was a deep pride in prioritizing connections amongst family, the environment, and the city.             

Grafting vines involves scoring the trunk of a bug-resistant vine to be combined with a non-resistant vine. This adaptation of the growers to their environment is based on respect and preservation of the land.

The variety of oak used to store wine is essential to impacting the smell and taste of the final product. More expensive US oak is used for a coconut and vanilla aroma, while Eastern European oak is used for an aroma of nutmeg and almond.

Bottles of cava can be preserved for years as long as the “mother” or yeast, seen as the dark sediment, is in the bottle. Once the yeast is removed by disgorgement, the cava is vulnerable to oxidation and spoiling.

Eudald Massa Nova in Penedes is known for its cava, a sparkling white or rose wine made using the French champagne method. However, cava varies from champagne due to the climate differences between France and Spain.

The “old” way of producing olive oil involves using this conical stone machine to process olives into paste. The paste is later stacked and pressed to produce olive oil with a more distinct taste and “romantic” feeling than the “new” mechanized method.

Albert is demonstrating how olive oil is naturally separated and traditionally removed from the water that is found in the “old” way of processing olive paste.

At Eudald Massana Noya, one woman described the symbiotic relationship of the vineyard owner and the land in context of the growing cycle of the grape vines being linked with the phases of the moon.  She emphasized that they only cut the vines when the moon is in crescent phases because of the deep spiritual connection she feels with the land and what she produces, as she finds the plants grow better following this tradition.  At Ca La Madrona, Antonio worked with limited rainfall over the last three growing seasons and looked at the reduced production with practicality and respect instead of fixating on his reduced profit.  In response to a variety of natural hardships, both producers took pride in their ability to supply their community with fresh products that reflected years of tradition and mutualism.