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How to Take a Cava Winery Tour From Barcelona - Getting to Freixenet Winery in the Penedés Wine Region By Train
Anyone who has visited Barcelona will agree it is a very beautiful and interesting city. But, it doesn’t stop at the edge of the city. How about a wine tour day trip? Feeling adventurous? Ready to tackle a little train travel outside of the city? Love sparkling wine? Well….have I got to the day trip for you!!!
The Spanish wine region of Penedés is not far from all the hustle and bustle of Barcelona’s famed Las Ramblas, making it the perfect destination for the adventure minded traveler. This area is renowned as the home to Cava, a sparkling Spanish wine (dare we call it “champagne”?).
Caves Freixenet Winery is located in the town of Sant Sadurni d’Anoia, less than an hour’s train ride from Barcelona, and accounts for nearly 70% of all the exported Cava. Freixenet is located in the heart of the Penedés region, and best of all, when you arrive in Sant Sadurni d’Anoia, the Winery is literally steps from the train station.
Freixenet offers daily tours, in several languages at a moderate cost (around 6 -7 euros per person). Discounts for seniors (pensioners, on their website) cut the cost a bit, so be mindful of that if you are in that age group. Tours fill up fast, so be sure to make a reservation several days, or even weeks in advance. Reservations can be made easily on their website at http://www.freixenet.es/default.asp. (You can select your language of choice for the website in the upper left corner of the home page.) Now that you’ve made your reservation, getting there by train is really quite easy.
Once you are in Barcelona, you will discover that there is a subway that runs throughout the city. Some of the subway stops have both subway lines and portions from where the RENFE Cercanias (regional trains) depart. Both the Barcelona-Sants station and Barcelona Plaça Catalunya station have RENFE sections. So…simply take a subway line (or walk) to either the Barcelona-Sants or Barcelona Plaça Catalunya station (whichever is more convenient), and make your way to where the RENFE Cercanias (regional trains) depart. Purchase your ticket(s), typically from a ticket machine (don‘t worry, they are relatively user friendly) for Line 4 (Linea R4) in the Vilafranca del Penedés/Sant Vicenç de Calders direction (if this sounds complicated, don‘t worry, there is usually a helpful attendant standing next to the self-service machines that can assist you). Trains from both Barcelona-Sants and Barcelona Plaça Catalunya to Sant Sadurni d’Anoia run approximately twice an hour. You can familiarize yourself with the train times (both from Barcelona and to Barcelona, don‘t forget to plan your return trip) here: http://www.renfe.com/EN/viajeros/cercanias/barcelona/index.html.
Once you are at the correct track, watch for your train. There may be several other trains coming and going on the same track. Simply read the side of the train, and once it arrives, hop on board and you’ll be off on your cava adventure. Once onboard, watch for the names of the towns on the reader board located in the train, or the signs outside at the station and simply get off the train when you arrive at Sant Sadurni d’Anoia. Cavas Freixenet is located a mere 50 meters from the train station. Seriously, you can’t miss it.
Now, I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you a bit about the tour. At the beginning, there is a brief audiovisual presentation on the company’s history, which is quite interesting, especially if you are not all that familiar with cava wines in general, or Freixenet in particular. After the film, your guided visit takes you gradually lower and lower in the winery caves, where you’ll learn about both the making and storing of cava. Once you have enjoyed the caves, you will be whisked away (ok, maybe not “whisked”) on a miniature train and continue your tour of the cellar and newer state-of-the-art facilities.
So…..after you’ve seen all this technology, looked at all the barrels, and walked through all those cellars, I’m sure you will parched. Well…fear not…the tasting room is next where you will be provided with one (sadly, just one) complimentary tasting of a cava (persons over 18 only). Of course, additional tastings are available for purchase.
Just in case you want to take a few bottles (or more) home with you, the tour conveniently terminates in the Freixenet Dolores Ferrar gift shop where bottles, boggles, and the regular accoutrements related to the wonderful world of wine and cava can be purchased. Don’t forget you may not be able to take these bottles home if you are flying (or on your transatlantic cruise - http://hubpages.com/hub/Thinking_About_Taking_A_Transatlantic_Cruise), so you may have to imbibe while you continue to enjoy your Barcelona holiday. Enjoy!!