Going into our first excursion, I didn’t know what to expect. I knew nothing about wine and olive oil production, which made me more aware of how removed I am from the foods that I consume regularly.

After a scenic ride through the Penedès region, the first stop was the Eudald Massana Noya winery. We met our guide, Albert who exuded passion for winemaking, since his family has been in the industry for generations. We were able to see the entire process of making wine from the growth and harvest of the grapes, to the production and storage of the wine, a process that takes at least a year. Albert shared that 2 out of 3 bottles produced in the Penedès region is exported.

At the olive oil production center, Ca la Madrona, Antonio showed us the facility that has been in his family. The center featured a new style of making olive oil, which uses efficient machinery. We also toured the old facility that requires more time and labor. I wondered why they continue to use the old method. Even though he doesn’t speak English, Antonio spoke with pride how the old method produces a better flavor. Unlike the wine, most of the olive oil stays in Catalonia, causing a direct relationship with consumers.

Both facilities take pride in their product and these facilities remain in families for generations. I realized how much labor and love both of these producers give to their products, which is not typically seen in the US. By directly selling to consumers, the businesses we visited had a closer relationship with their clients.

At home, many individuals purchase food from a grocery store, which mostly contains products that are mass produced from larger corporations. Because of that, you lose the connection with the producers. The closest we can get to the experience is shopping at farmer’s markets, which are not easily accessible in all areas of the city. This excursion taught me not only the process of wine and olive oil production but also the importance of local businesses on the local economy.