On our way to our first excursion, a wine and olive oil tour, I believed I had a slight understanding of how wine and olive oil is produced; but it is so much more than taking grapes or olives and producing a liquid. Our first stop was the winery which was called Bodegues Eudald Massana Noya. It is located about an hour away outside the city of Barcelona in the Penedès region of Spain. Our tour guide, Albert Massana, explained
to us the process of how they produce their wines and cavas, but what I found more interesting was how they go about the process of producing. Albert said as a winery they choose to produce for their people, meaning they could make much more money through exporting to surrounding countries but they choose not to. The market they sell to is predominately made up of 80 percent of local villages and their residents while they only export 20 percent to big corporations. Albert said,”If we do not respect our land and the people we sell to, then we are in the wrong business”, when talking about why they choose to be an organic farm. This was a surprise to me because in the United States, monetary capital is the main reason people create their own business along with creating a product or service they love. When talking to Albert he made it clear their outlook on their business is backwards; the relationships with their people are much more important than turning a profit.
We finished up at the winery with a wine tasting and feeling a little more relaxed we headed over to Ca La Madrona, which is a small family owned olive oil mill located about 20 minutes away from the wine vineyard. Once we arrived we were introduced to Antonio who was more than happy to discuss the old and new method of producing olive oil. There was this sense of value in the way both Antonio and Albert talked about their methods of production with family, community, and ownership displayed all throughout their work. When I questioned Antonio about the reason why he kept the older method though the new method was more effective at production; he said the process of producing the olive oil the old way is romantic and personal. Being a small olive oil mill owner he also allowed for the community to use his mill to produce their own olive oil from their own olives. This creates a very strong and personal relationship between the Antonio and his community. Unlike the US business culture, where the ‘time is money’ method is very alive; Antonio is more focused on providing quality over quantity.