ANSWER: Nothing, it just let a little wine!

The fields behind me house thousands of growing grapes that will be harvested later in September and October.

 

Our first excursion was to a local vineyard and olive oil mill in the Penedes region located just an hour outside of Barcelona. Check out my video of our trip! Our tour guide, Albert, took us through what types of local grapes are grown, how the climate and location of the grapes can affect the taste of wine, method of pruning, and more. Afterwards, Albert walked us through the wine making process and introduced us to Cava, a Spanish sparkling wine processed similar to the champagne production method. Later, we got to taste some of the white wine and Cava made on the vineyard.

Albert pouring Cava made at the vineyard into glasses for us to try. Two out of three Cava bottles are exported out of country.

 

 

 

 

Antonio describing how the olives run up this large conveyor belt to be separated by its leaves and cleaned.

 

 

 

Later in the day, Albert came with us to a local olive oil mill where we met Antonio, the owner of the mill who does not speak English. As Antonio talked about his life’s work at the mill, Albert translated the manufacturing of the oil, both newer and older processes. The newer method consisted of large machines connected through three different rooms. This production assembly makes about 1,000 kilograms of oil in two hours. In contrast, we subsequently visited the older method of making olive oil. This similarly had bigger machines, but was physically demanding and required more attention. The production of 1,000 kilograms of olive oil with this technique takes about five hours! Most of the production of oil stays in Catalonia. We ended our day with a tasting of an organic, non-organic, and older production method olive oil.

Albert (right) translating for Antonio (left) on how the older technique of producing olive oil is a more romantic method.

Some students listening to Albert explain the differences between the olive oils we were tasting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My favorite part of this excursion was the passion and love our local experts had for their craft. Being a self-sustaining vineyard and olive mill can be difficult in the world of mass production and globalization. It’s like the saying, “When the going gets tough, the tough gets going.” Both Albert and Antonio are tough workers who are pressured to globalized but adapted their practices to keep the intimate bond with their neighbors.