I entered this excursion with an open mind, undivided attention and complete curiosity. For someone who consumes wine and olive oil, on a daily basis, I had no knowledge about how Barcelona’s wine and olive oil is grown, packaged, distributed and sold. As a tourist, I feel very honored to be welcomed with open arms, into not just their work area, but their home. I was very intrigued by how passionate Albert and Antonio are about what they do. The love for what they do showed immensely through the way they explained the processes, with so much emotion.
Who would have known that white wine is made with the same grapes as red wine? Mind blown. I was so captivated by the history of the vine trees importation, and how one little insect devastated many vineyards in Europe. Listening and watching Albert explain and demonstrate the solution founded by a french man was so fascinating. Another interesting fact I retained from the excursion, was a gadget used during the vegetation cycle helps determine that for every 17 grams of sugar, it equals one percent of alcohol. Aside from the history, being taught the different machines used during this cycle made me appreciate, even more, the hard work and dedication put into growing the grapes. Next time I drink a glass of wine, I will really savor the taste, while remembering the process of how it was grown.
During the corking presentation, Albert said that 5,000 bottles of wine are processed in a time frame of an eight hour work day. WOW. I took a minute to appreciate the hard work my mom probably puts at her job. My mom has always worked at factories that consist of long hours, of being on her feet all day, packaging or sorting goods.
After the tour, we got to wine taste. My favorite was the Moscato. It was very crisp, simple and it’s a type of wine I would enjoy on a hot, sunny day on a balcony.
While in many countries, olive oil is a luxury, many in Barcelona would argue that it is the single most valuable ingredient in the Mediterranean cooking, admired for its taste, as well as its healthy qualities. Antonio did a great job enlightening me on the history and production of olive oil. Olive growing has a long history in Spain, today, being the number one producer and exporter of olive oil in the world. A visit to the olive mill was a fantastic way for me to get a complete picture of how oil is made, from the harvesting to the bottling and labeling of the foods. No matter which type of olive oil you choose to buy, it is best to buy olive oil that comes in a dark glass bottle– this helps protect it from oxidation, which can cause a loss of valuable nutrients. Antonio taught me that storing your bottles in a cool, dark place will also ensure its longevity, although it’s best not to keep olive oil around for more than a year, as its nutritional value drops dramatically.
Overall, this excursion was a blast. I enjoyed learning the processes of both wine and olive oil production. Furthermore, our group lunch was amazing. I’ve never felt more welcomed the way I did at the restaurant. Flattered from the start, we were welcomed and immediately asked if we wanted to see the kitchen. I’ve noticed that dinners last anywhere from 2-3 hours, that is something that I appreciate and value here, and will take home with me. I’ve learned to cherish moments at the dinner table, appreciate the food and appreciate the time we have together. As a student, worker, sister, whatever title I carry, I feel like time is very limited and no one ever has much of it. However, during meals here, in Barcelona, time is the last of our concerns. I’ve learned to live in the moment after this excursion, and cherish what you have.