Wine Bike Tour & Wine Pleasures in the High Penedès

foto16A cycling tour of the Catalonian countryside interspersed with a visit to local sights and a regional winemaker; sounds ideal doesn´t it? Cycling up undulating roads through the pine trees of the high penedes overlooking the Montserrat mountains, sipping wines and seeing local sites of interest seems like the perfect way to spend the day.

Our group of five set out at half past nine for the start of the day. Combining a passion for wine and cycling, the plan was to cycle to a nearby winery, stopping along the way to take in the feel of the place. I was lucky enough to be in with a group with a real knowledge of wines; two locals who were researching local winemakers and a former wine exporter. All were keen to experience products direct from the source with descriptions from the people who make them.

But there were many stops to enjoy first along the way to the winery. Our first stop was La Llacuna, a traditional village with small windy streets leading to a picturesque courtyard. A crowded restaurant overlooks the plaza, spanish chatter filling the square. The village square, dappled with bright light and with olive tree dotted about, is where the summer fiesta takes place, when the fountains water is changed to cava. Sadly that was not the case on that day, so on we cycled. Biking through the village and beyond, past old buildings and tiny churches, it´s hard to believe that busy Barcelona is only thirty-one miles away.

Wine & bike webA dusty track lies to the right of us, we turn and suddenly from the tall trees we have moved into fields of wheat and poppies growing wild, the smell of hay wafting from the grass. The sound of crickets and birds are in the air and the weather is phenomenal. I can´t work out why everyone else isn´t out here too, experiencing this for themselves. The track gets smaller and smaller until we reach an opening, which winds us down to sheltered and secluded spot to rest in during the warmth of the day. In between the trees there lies a pond created by a spring of fresh mineral water, with a young family playing nearby. Here we stop and take the opportunity to refill our water bottles directly from the mouth of the spring. The water tastes unbelievably cool and fresh, invigorating us on this hot summers day.

After we manage to tear ourselves away from the spring, we head towards the winery. We spot vineyards hidden through the hills, sudden pockets of order in the wild countryside. Lavender bushes lined the roads up to the winery, creating not just an exqusite smell, but attracting clouds of butterflies overhead. The actual wine visit I won´t describe here, as it has been depicted in past blogs. Suffice to say, the location was stunning, the host genial and the wines delicious. After some Montenegro, Riesling and Merlot it was back on the bikes for the final leg.

rentadorsThere was a final stop on our way home, the old communal washing site of Sant Joan de Mediona where women would gather to chat and socialise during their chores. Women could work together by the river and collect water from the village fountain next door. At this point the sense of past and present intermigled, and it was easy to believe that women even now oculd come here to wash their clothes. After taking plenty of photos we journeyed on, where we knew food and drink would be waiting. 43

Finally, our cycling finished, all that was left to do was enjoy the nibbles, sip the cava and reflect on the wonderful views and experiences of the day.

Amy Wilkerson, Wine travel writer for Wine Pleasures.

FINCA MAS RODÓ Wine Pleasures´summer visit to a young winery with a lot of potential

Mas Rodo1
I enjoyed the pleasant contrasts of Mas Rodo, a family-owned and managed winery and vineyard set in the High Penedes, from the unnamed entrance to their deceptively simple-looking bottles of wine. The unidentified gate that turns into a long driveway may confuse some strangers, but once we arrived inside the property, the family was nothing but welcoming and forthcoming. The winery itself has several pretty, old stone buildings, but the heart of it clearly is their Wine Cellar, an arresting stone structure encased in a bright, modernistic, wooden shell. (Notably, this was designed by Carles Sala and was a finalist in Spain´s ¨Living with Wood¨architectural competition.) Together these old and new buildings overlook what is one of the largest estates in the region, but surprisingly the winery maintains relatively low production. And although the winery currently sells only merlot, riesling and montonega, each wine was memorable, and there is the promise of many more varieties to come.Mas Rodo2
The estate has been growing vines for decades, but Mas Rodo was formed just five years ago. In 2004, the approximatey 150-hectare estate was purchased by the Sala family. During the tour, Oriol Sala emphasized the intensive thinning and pruning of vines, hand-harvesting of grapes, a rigorous second sorting of the harvest, and the resulting low production of wine. These techniques are meant to ensure a quality that sophisticated wine connoisseurs could appreciate, but Mas Rodo´s more ambitious goal is to make high quality wine that novices or connoisseurs can understand and enjoy. They hope to achieve this range with their quality standards and marketing and educational efforts. The Mas Rodo bottle labeling was designed to attract and edify consumers. The front label is simple and elegant, providing only the company name, year, wine, and a brief but vivid description of the wine.The back label provides specific details on the grape, the soil and land it was harvested from, its fermentation process, and even production figures for the vintage
Mas Rodo5The winery anticipates being fully open this summer for tours and free tastings. I am already looking forward to bicycling through the undulating green hills of Mediona one autumn day, and revisiting Mas Rodo. Perhaps their muscat will be ready then, or I can enjoy sipping in their Wine Cellar the lovely montonega, drinking in as well the spectacular views of their vineyard awash in orange and red-golds set against a backdrop of the lush Penedes mountains.
Anne Shih.
Here’s the video made during the wine tasting:

Mas Rodo1
I enjoyed the pleasant contrasts of Mas Rodo, a family-owned and managed winery and vineyard set in the High Penedes, from the unnamed entrance to their deceptively simple-looking bottles of wine. The unidentified gate that turns into a long driveway may confuse some strangers, but once we arrived inside the property, the family was nothing but welcoming and forthcoming. The winery itself has several pretty, old stone buildings, but the heart of it clearly is their Wine Cellar, an arresting stone structure encased in a bright, modernistic, wooden shell. (Notably, this was designed by Carles Sala and was a finalist in Spain´s ¨Living with Wood¨architectural competition.) Together these old and new buildings overlook what is one of the largest estates in the region, but surprisingly the winery maintains relatively low production. And although the winery currently sells only merlot, riesling and montonega, each wine was memorable, and there is the promise of many more varieties to come.Mas Rodo2
The estate has been growing vines for decades, but Mas Rodo was formed just five years ago. In 2004, the approximatey 150-hectare estate was purchased by the Sala family. During the tour, Oriol Sala emphasized the intensive thinning and pruning of vines, hand-harvesting of grapes, a rigorous second sorting of the harvest, and the resulting low production of wine. These techniques are meant to ensure a quality that sophisticated wine connoisseurs could appreciate, but Mas Rodo´s more ambitious goal is to make high quality wine that novices or connoisseurs can understand and enjoy. They hope to achieve this range with their quality standards and marketing and educational efforts. The Mas Rodo bottle labeling was designed to attract and edify consumers. The front label is simple and elegant, providing only the company name, year, wine, and a brief but vivid description of the wine.The back label provides specific details on the grape, the soil and land it was harvested from, its fermentation process, and even production figures for the vintage
Mas Rodo5The winery anticipates being fully open this summer for tours and free tastings. I am already looking forward to bicycling through the undulating green hills of Mediona one autumn day, and revisiting Mas Rodo. Perhaps their muscat will be ready then, or I can enjoy sipping in their Wine Cellar the lovely montonega, drinking in as well the spectacular views of their vineyard awash in orange and red-golds set against a backdrop of the lush Penedes mountains.
Anne Shih.
Here’s the video made during the wine tasting:

Wine tourism in the Anoia region of Catalonia, Spain.

Anoia? You might ask yourself “Is that yet another new DO in Spain?” Well, it could well be one in the future particularly if wheat farmers sell thier land to wine producers. The Anoia province (comarca) is actually part of the High Penedès wine region but not part of the Penedès province if that makes any sense?

The Consell Comarcal de L’Anoia (basically the Anoia tourist board) has created their own wine routes to include 16 wineries. If you had asked me two days ago how many wineries there are in the Anoia I would have said 4: Can Feixas, Can Bonastre, Bohigas and Celler Puig Romero of La LLacuna. Seems that the Anoia boundary includes many more!

Boundaries apart this is obviously good news for wine tourists as they have even more wineries to choose to visit. I was impressed to see owners of wineries actually turning up for the official presentation of the new wine route – Can Bonastre, Torres, Can Feixas, Pages Entrena, Cavas Bohigas and others I probably didn’t recognize.

Other attendees included hotels such as Tall de Conill, rural hotels and restaurants from Anoia.

Jordi Mercader, Vice President of the Consell Comarcal de L’Anoia gave a presentation of the project and was quickly followed by a chance to taste some of the wines of the producers in the wine trail. Jordi will be presenting his conclusions at the next Wine Pleasures Wine Tourism Conference and Workshop in January/February 2010 (dates pending).

Cut to the chase here’s a rare moment on film – an interview with 3 wineries stongly committed to developing wine tourism in the Anoia region.

COMUNICADO DE PRENSA: El Congreso de Enoturismo reunió a más de 150 personas.

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Del 24 al 27 de enero 2009 se celebró en la cuidad mediterránea de Sitges (Barcelona) en el Hotel Port Sitges Resort la 1ª edición del Wine Pleasures Congreso y Workshop de Enoturismo.

Del  24 al 27 se celebró la 1ª edición del  Wine Pleasures Congreso y Workshop Internacional de Enoturismo que, desde el viernes 23 y hasta el martes 27 de enero se reunió en la ciudad de Sitges a más de 150 personas, según las cifras de inscritos y ponentes que maneja la organización de este gran evento. Procedentes de casi todas las regiones vitivinícolas de España (desde Galicia hasta Jerez, pasando por Rioja, Ribera de Duero o Penedés) entre los ponentes y asistentes se encuentran también profesionales y expertos venidos desde el Reino Unido, Argentina, Italia, Portugal, Austria, Suiza, Namibia, e incluso Japón.

Congreso de Enoturismo y programa “After Congreso”

El programa empezó a las 20.00 el día 23 a con una cata de vinos de Portugal. (Sandeman, Quevedo Estates, Vera Rendeiro, Quinta dos Savidagos y Sogevinus) El día 24 (durante un fuerte temporal y sin luz en todo Sitges) se abrió el Congreso con una sesión plenaria a cargo de Joan Aguado Masdèu – Director General del Instituto Catalán de la Viña y el Vino (INCAVI):

Red social e intercambio de conocimientos: la iniciativa debatdevi en Cataluña.

Después y a lo largo del día se impartieron 3 ponencias simultaneas y así el asistente pudo escoger la ponencia más interesante para su caso concreto. Cabe destacar las siguientes ponencias por el interés demostrado por parte de los participantes: La Oferta Enoturística de Bodegas Torres. Ponente: Anna Manchon (Bodegas Torres), Enoturismo con los cinco sentidos. Ponente: Gloria Vallès (Can Bonastre Wine Resort), Marketing of cultural tourism, including enotourism Speaker: Ramón Alvarez (Gsar Marketing), Enoturismo en el Priorato: deseo, idea, desarrollo, implantación y futuro. Ponente: Josep Grau (Vertical Wines), Corporate Wine Tasting Events. Ponente: Alex Duran (Loftwines), Gestión de Eventos en el Ecoturismo. Ponente: Oriol Miralbell (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya), Enoturismo al límite: WINEMAKING. Desde EEUU a España con ArtCava. Ponente: Patricia Sueiro (EFEMACÉ Real Marketing), Presentacion del Plan Empresa Nueva Linea de Negocio: Enoturismo.Ponente: Pol Fages y Joan Pages (Pages Entrena), El Impulso del enoturismo en el Priorat. Ponente: David Esteller (Plan Fomento Turismo Priorat), Vijazz Penedès: Mixing Penedès Wine & Cava with an International Jazz Festival. Speaker: Francesc Palau (Parenthesis Marketing Consulting), Cursos de Cata a Domicilio. Ponente: Isaac Fernández (Vinífera).

A las 18.00 en una sesión plenaria a cargo de Rainer Brusis titulado “Grape Escape Destination in Spain” en la cual participaron 25 TTOO/AAVV internacionales que viajarón expresamente a España para conocer la oferta enoturística española e de otros destinos como Portugal, Italia y Francia.

Por la tarde empezó el programa “Alter Congreso” dónde el participante pudo elegir entre 3 actividades enoturísticas: Cata de vinos de España. (Las siguientes bodegas participaron con sus vinos: Bodegas Dinastía Vivanco (DO Rioja). J.Miguel Jané (DO Penedès), Casavides (DO Alicante), Taygaimut (DO Penedès) y también se cató vinos de la bodega Namibiana Kristell Kellerei), Visita Bodegas Torres y Visita VINSEUM con cata de cavas a cargo de Oriol Rossell (DO Cava)

El domingo comenzó con una sesión a cargo de Ryan Opaz sobre como una bodega y cualquier proveedor de productos enoturísticos puede aprovechar de las oportunidades que ofrece el Internet 2.0. En el programa Alter Congreso los asistentes participaron o bien en una cata de aceites de oliva (oleoturismo) a cargo de Carlos Serra (Rutas del Aceite) o bien en una vista a la bodega J.Miquel Jané.

El lunes comenzó el Workshop enoturístico en lo cual participaron 16 vendedores de productos enoturísticos y 27 TTOO/AAVV internacionales. Por la tarde los tour operadores participaron en una cena gastronómica en la bodega Bohigas (DO Catalunya) con el apoyo de dos bodegas activas en el enoturismo: Pages Entrena y Pares Baltà ambos en el Penedès.

Fam Trip Enoturístico

En paralelo al Congreso, 12 Tour Operadores (18 personas) participaron en un Fam Trip organizado por Wine Pleaures en el cual colaboró el Patronat de Turismo de Tarragona y la Oficina de Turismo de Priorat. Durante el programa de 5 días visitaron bodegas, hoteles, lugares de interés cultural y restaurantes en el Priorat, Montsant, Garraf, Conca de Barberà, Penedès Cava y Tarragona. Este grupo, junto con más TTOO/AAVV participaron en el Workshop Enoturístico y el día 28 hicieron una ruta enoturística en bicicleta en la Conca de Barberà y Costers del Segre terminando con una visita, cata y comida de productos artesanales de la zona en la Bodega Olivera (DO Costers del Segre). 

Wine Pleasures Congreso y Workshop Internacional 2010

Los elogios de tanto los ponentes comos los asistentes han sido múltiples. El balance ha sido muy positivo e interesante. Y, no sólo por el nivel y el interés de las ponencias sino también por los debates e intercambio de inquietudes y dudas que muchos de los asistentes tenían. Según comentarios de asistentes el evento “ha sido realmente enriquecedor”.

Muchos de los asistentes ya piden fecha y lugar de la 2ª edición del Wine Pleasures Congreso y Workshop Internacional de Enoturismo en el 2010. Wine Pleasures esta en fase de decidir fechas y lugar de celebración. Basándonos en la zona de residencia de los asistentes de la 1ª edición los siguientes destinos son posibles lugares de celebración: Galicia, Ribera del Duero, Douro – Oporto, Catalunya y Valencia).

Más información

Anthony Swift

Wine Pleasures

C/Vino y Sol, 1

08779 La Llacuna (Barcelona)   

E: info@winepleasures.com

T: +34 93 897 70 48

M: +34 687 34 57 44

Web: www.winepleasures.org

Gag the Winemaker! Let the clients do the talking?

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anthonySpeaker: Anthony Swift – Wine Pleasures

The purpose of this talk is threefold. Firstly it will demonstrate the different discourse structures used in a wine tasting activity. Secondly, it will get people who lead wine tasting activities to reflect on the discourse structure they often adopt and thirdly it will help buyers of winery visits and tasting activities to make better purchase decision s for their clients.gag1

Over the past 6 years or so I have witnessed hundreds of wine tastings at wineries and I would say that easily 80% of them adopt the IRF (Initiation, Response and Feedback) discourse structure and 18% do not even create a discourse opportunity for the customer to respond to ie a monologue. The remaining 2% are what I like to call ringmasters, not necessarily cracking a whip but certainly directing and controlling a real tasting performance. To clarify, here’s an example of the first two:

Example 1:

What colour is this wine? (Winery Initiation)

Pale yellow (Tourist Response)

Good! I agree. (Winery Feedback)

Example 2:

As you can see this wine is pale yellow (Winery Initiation)

In this talk I will practically demonstrate three discourse models using wines and wine tasting note sheets which are/can be used in the tasting room and at the end of the talk the audience can give their views on each one and decide on which should be using with customers.

Want to know more? Feel free to contact me via the Wine Pleasures Social Network hosted by the Open Wine Consortium or send ma an email to info@winepleasures.com

Thinking about attending the Conference? Just complete the enrollment form.

Want to meet the Tour Operators coming to the Workshop and them your winery visit/winetourim products? Just complete the application form.

Come back tomorrow for an new post!