Their success; their ability to effectively communicate about spanish and portuguese wine; their energy to grow and create dynamic, authentic and extraordinary services have attracted hundreds of thousands of iberian wine lovers from around the world.
Joan Gómez Pallarès http://www.devinis.org/

Barcelona: Which Wineries You Can Visit By Train

MilmandaQuite often, we receive requests from people visiting Barcelona, Madrid, Lisbon or Oporto, as to which wineries they can visit by train, taxi or foot. Our responses have commonly been, “Good question! And to be quite honest, I don’t know!” Well, maybe Oporto is the exception, as you have a plethora you can get to, but the rest are rather iffy at best.

As mentioned in several articles on Catavino, enotourism in Iberia is rather primitive at best. Very few wineries even allow visits, less have someone speaking anything other than their regional language, and just a handful will actually go out of their way to make your transportation to their winery convenient and easy.

That said, we decided to do a considerable amount of research to find out which wineries are worth your time visiting while in Barcelona. Of those wineries suggested, I called each and every one to inquire if you can get there by train, and what services they offered. And to be frank, this process was as enjoyable as poking myself in the eye with a rusty nail.

Example Conversation: (in Spanish because the first 10 wineries didn’t understand me in English)

Winery: Yes

Me: Hi, I was wondering if you have visits to your winery

Winery: Who are you?

Me: Um, just someone who wants to visit

Winery: Yeah, but where are you from and why do you want to visit?

Me: Um, because I like your wine and I think it would be interesting to come see you. I’m American.

Winery: Oh, okay. Sure we have visits.

Me: Great, how much do they cost?

Winery:  We would have to analyze the group to give you a price.

Me: Ahhhh, how about a ballpark figure for 2 people who would like a tour in English

Winery: Weekday or weekend?

Me: Weekend [why does this matter?!!!]

Winery: Morning or afternoon

Me: Um…let’s say afternoon [Again, why does this matter?!!!]

Winery: Well, it’s 6 euros per person, but you need to spend 70 euros during your visit, unless you want a tour of the vineyard and our house, but that would depend of course if the translator is here, and that cost would be different as well. But if you come on Tuesday from 9-12 that cost is….. [shoot me!]

Me: Do you give tours in English or French? [you know, the relatively common languages other than Spanish]

Winery: Oh, we don’t give English tours for any group less than 10, but we can do Dutch for 2 people.  [Logically]

Me: Can I bring my children?

Winery: Of course you can!! [Easiest and most consistent answer from every single winery in Iberia – children are welcome]

Me: Can I get there by train?

Winery: You can get anywhere in Spain by train [great marketing ploy, but so not true]

What I can tell you for certain, is that there are many wineries in Catalunya that are “generally” enotourism friendly. What does that mean? Good question, because I think this term is rather vague, as you an see from this article, but I will define enotourism friendly in the following way: able to speak multiple languages, convenient visiting hours, interesting tour, ability to taste their wines without paying a small fortune, opportunity to see the vineyard, child friendly services, capacity to purchase their wines in house, free transportation from the train station, and most importantly, winery tours given based on your level of knowledge and expertise. Now, you’ll notice that I said “generally” enotourism friendly. This qualifier is key, because most wineries in Spain will not meet every single one of these qualifications. You may get someone who speaks English, but you’re required to book a visit a month in advance. Or, there is a 30 minute winery tour, but no wine tasting or vineyard tour. You get the idea.

However, allow me to suggest a little tourism friendly advice: always  email prior to your visit!! You might imagine that like the USA, you can swing by and say hello at anytime, but this is not the case in either Spain or Portugal. Nor can you assume that every winery will meet your specific needs. Hence, my suggestion is to save yourself a headache and contact the winery prior to your big adventure with a specific list of your needs.

The Following Wineries Can be Visited from Barcelona by Train: (to purchase ticket, go to the Barcelona Sants Train Station)

40 minutes from Barcelona

  • Rimarts (Sant Sadurni Station) minimum of 5 euros for tour and tasting; multi-lingual; multi-sized groups okay, 5 minute taxi ride
  • Freixenet (Sant Sadurni Station) 6 euros for tour and tasting; multilingual; multi-sized groups okay, within spitting distance of the train station
  • Codorniu (Sant Sadurni Station) up to 8 euros pp for tour and tasting; multi-lingual tours available, multi-sized groups okay, 25 minute walk or 10 by taxi
  • Gramona (Sant Sadurni Station) price varies from 6 euros up for tour and tasting depending on size and type of tour; multi-lingual tours available; 15 minute walk
  • Marfil Alella 5 euros for tour and tasting; hours fluctuate; language available dependent on size of group; bus available from train station
  • Castellroig (Sant Sadurni Station): 5 euros for tasting and tour: multi-lingual tours available, multi-sized groups okay; 20 minute walk or 10 minute taxi to winery
  • Can Feixes (Sant Sadurni Station) free tasting and tour; multi-lingual; multi-sized groups; 15 min taxi ride from station
  • Pages Entrena (Sant Sadurni Station) 5 euros for tasting and tour: multi-lingual tours available; multi-sized groups okay; 15 min taxi ride

1 hour from Barcelona

  • J. Miquel Jané (Vilafranca del Penedés Station) Only for large groups (min. 10) for a 3 hour course; multi-lingual; prices vary from 35-40 euros pp; 5 min taxi
  • Pares Baltá (Vilafranca del Penedés Station) 10 euros pp for tour and tasting; multi-lingual; multi-sized groups okay; 5 min taxi ride
  • Abadal (Manresa Station) 5 euros pp for tasting and tour; multi-lingual; multi-sized groups okay; 20 minute taxi ride

1 hour 30 from Barcelona

  • Josep Foraster (Montblanc Station) Free tour and tasting; multi-sized groups okay; tours in many languages; 10 minute walk to winery
  • Simó Palau (Montblanc Station) 3 euro tour & tasting; hours fluctuate; size of groups dependent on day; tours in French, Spanish and Catalan; 15 min walk to winery
  • Rende Masdeu (Espluga de Fracola Station) free tour and tasting; Spanish and Catalan only; multi-groups; 5 min walk to winery
  • Can Bonastre (Masquefa Station): free tasting and tour; multi-lingual tours available; multi-sized groups okay; 5 minute taxi ride or 15 min walk
  • Milmanda-Torres (Vimbode Station) minimum of 2 euros pp for tour and tasting; multi-lingual; multi-sized groups available; 5 minute taxi ride
  • Avgvstvs (El Vendrell Station) 5 euros pp for tour and tasting; multi-lingual, multi-sized groups okay; 3 minute taxi ride
  • Jane Ventura (El Vendrell Station): 5 euros for tasting and tour; multi-lingual available; multi-sized groups okay; located right next to the station

2 hours from Barcelona

  • Celler Laurona & Clos Figueres (Marca-Falset Station): free tasting and tour; multi-lingual tours available; can pick you up at train station
  • Costers del Siurana (Marca-Falset Station) 25 euros for tasting and tour; multi-lingual; multi-sized groups; 15 min by taxi
  • Fincaria Vins (Montsant) I can’t get through to these guys, but we’ve visited them in the past! Suggest dropping an email.

Don’t forget to tell them that Catavino.net sent you! And if you have any suggestions of wineries that should be added or subtracted to the list, please don’t hesitate to let us know your thoughts below. As each of us have our own unique perspectives and experiences, we value your contribution! Stay tuned for similar winery visits for Madrid, Lisbon and Porto!

Finally if you want to play it safe and would prefer to sign up for an organised English speaking guided tour then check out our page on wine tasting day trips from Barcelona for a cherry-picked list of experiences which we recommend.

Cheers,

Gabriella Opaz

This list has been created with the help of Juan Manuel Gonzalvo,  correspondent writer for Catavino.es and an enologist; Anthony Swift, founder of Wine Pleasures Wine Tours; Alex Duran, founder of SommelierAlumni; Henrik Heikel of Winepick Wine Tours; and Yuko Satake, our resident Japanese blogger devoted exclusively to Spanish wines.

  • http://magnacasta.com Nuno Monteiro

    Hi,

    There is also Torres, near Freixenet and Codorniu.
    They have visits in spanish, english and french, with wine tasting in the end of the visit.
    I can’t remember the price.

    • http://www.ryanopaz.com Ryan

      Nuno, they are listed above! :) with prices! :)

      • http://magnacasta.com Nuno Monteiro

        Hi,

        I didn’t notice that one at Vimbode :)
        But I was talking about another one from Torres I visited a few years ago at Sant Sadurni:

  • http://www.adegga.com Andre Ribeirinho

    “Oh, we don’t give English tours for any group less than 10, but we can do Dutch for 2 people.”

    I love this part. It basically translates to “we have a cousin who works here and speaks Dutch so he can do a visit any time, the English speaking person is not in the family so we have to hire it and it’s only available for a minimum of 10 people” :)

  • http://www.montaudesadurni.wordpress.com Barbara

    Hey Gabriela,

    This is hilarious!!! I can tell you that I am fighting every day with and against the so-called Spanish life and day rhythm and it often give me a headache. Just to let you know we or Montau de Sadurni charge 3eur for a “simple” winery visit, without a tasting though if there is demand a bottle can always be opened. If the guests however decide to stay for lunch the visit is for free. You can drop by whenever you want but it is always better to call and concrete the visit to get a better prepared attending. The Sadurni family speaks English!
    The disadvantage is that we are not close to the train station – you would have to take the bus from Gava to Begues.

    Saludos
    Barbara

    • http://www.catavino.net Gabriella

      Hey Barbara,

      Thanks so much for your comment. Great to know that there is another Spanish winery close to Barcelona that is willing to attend to tourists. I’ll add you to our list!

  • http://twitter.com/ricard67 Ricard

    OK guys, let’s be fair here.

    First, thanks for the entertaining post. Very good, very amusing.

    Second, subject matter: excellent. I always ask about how to get to places in Spain by train, wishing to avoid going by car, and tend to get told either that you can go “anywhere” (simply and totally NOT true) or just get stared at. It is a very car-centric society. Big cities are well-connected by train – better than most EU countries in fact – but little places are not. So this is an extremely useful a valuable guide. If I remember well, Albet i Noya (http://www.albetinoya.com/eng/index.html), Spain’s most venerable organic winery is easily accessible by train to Vilafranca del Penedès (http://maps.google.es/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=08739+Sant+Pau+d'Ordal+Spain&sll=53.981935,-4.042969&sspn=17.005532,46.582031&ie=UTF8&ll=41.384022,1.778927&spn=0.084491,0.181961&z=13&iwloc=A).

    However, to be fair to your selected wineries, let’s just get a few things straight. The “why does this matter?!” bits (which, by the way, should be in square brackets [] not round brackets () or otherwise they’re part of the conversation) is a little naïve if I may say so. Weekday or weekend? Well of course it matters! A weekday is a working day and a weekend is a non-working day. Most wineries have tight budgets, many are family run, and it’s perfectly relevant to ask whether you’re going to turn up on a Saturday or Sunday. I would say that’s self-evident and needs no further explanation. Second, the Catalan (and Spanish) concept of “matí” (“mañana”) and “tarda” (“tarde”) is fundamental to life: before lunch or after lunch? Of course people need to know: it’s a question that’s asked all the time, it’s part of the forward-planning process. Also, it’s perfectly possible that the winery has specific routines before lunch and other ones after lunch, so they logically need to know if they’re going to have to disrupt those routines, hence the question. Be fair to these people, please! They work hard and don’t need distractions.

    Lastly, if I may continue to offer constructive criticism: I appreciate the high standards of enotourism you want to see, but let’s be realistic. Why on earth, especially in the smaller wineries, should *anyone* speak English or French? They are under no obligation to speak a foreign language, however widespread. However, this objection is obviously invalid if they have a website stating that they do winery tours in English – point taken in advance.

    Oh, and Can Feixes is Can Feixes, not Can Feixas.

    Don’t misinterpret me – this is a very useful and informative and funny post. I just wanted to throw a few bits in.

    Thanks!

    • http://www.catavino.net Gabriella

      First off, your comments are ALWAYS welcome here Ricard. Regardless if you constructively correct me on my grammar, or if you have a point differing from ours, I always want yours, and everyone else’s voice, on Catavino. It is because of you that our website is as rich and textured as it is. So thank you!

      Additionally, you’re absolutely correct that these guys work hard. And the entire reason why we created this post, was to give Spanish wineries the attention they deserve. So to be absolutely clear, we in no way mean to dismiss their work, their dedication or their passion for their product. If we didn’t believe in Iberian wineries, we wouldn’t be spending our every waking minute supporting them.

      On the other hand, my post did have a rather thick layer of sarcasm smeared upon it, for one very good reason, I had a really tough time collecting this information. And if it was difficult for me as an expat speaking more than one language living in Spain, what is it like for a tourist?

      Finally, I would agree that the weekend and weekday price does make a difference, but by the time I actually got them to admit the price to me, I felt like I was going through a game show of 20 questions and where my notes looked like a soduko puzzle. But point taken.

      If anything comes from this post, and the future posts we’ll do for other cities in Iberia, it is my hope that wineries will consider some very basic and simple ways they can better receive visitors. Remember, it is because of these visitors, their bread and butter, that they have sales. Now, I’m not saying that they are required to speak 6 languages, but I am saying that Iberia needs to realize that they have a very thirsty consumer base that would love to support them. If these visitors can leave with a positive impression from start to finish, they’ve helped their brand 10 fold.

      • http://twitter.com/ricard67 Ricard

        All very good points well made!! Enjoy your evening! Always a pleasure to discuss things with you.

      • Nick Oakley

        Hey Gabriella, perhaps you should built up a database of those vineyards visitable by train. In Portugal I can think of Almeida Garret’s vineyards in the Beira Baixa, that are accessible by train (Tortosendo staion, between Fundao and Covilha), and Quinta Nova (Ferrao station) and Quinta de La Rosa (Pinhao)

  • http://www.winetravelguides.com Wink Lorch

    Gabriella – congratulations! This is a superb and really useful wine tourism post and has attracted its share of interesting comments too as a good post should. I will spread the word via my FB fans and tweet it to spread the word as widely as possible.

    A couple of specific thoughts:

    1) I guess that I am so car-orientated when visiting wineries (and I realize the potential problems that can cause anyone who wants to taste lots and/or not spit) that I hadn’t realized how many people want to take the train to visit a winery. It certainly would be pretty difficult in many (or even most) wine regions of Europe that I know. And, for a winery to collect visitors from the train station is an awe-inspiring concept to me – I simply can’t imagine any French or Italian winery offering to do that unless the guest was a VIP! But I totally endorse the idea of compiling a list of European wineries that can be visited relatively easily by train – it’s a great idea. We should get going a collaborative project on this.

    2) I know you meant to be sarcastic, but I do actually agree with many of Ricard’s thoughts about the situation and attitude of wineries in Spain towards wine tourism and many of these would apply also to wineries in many parts of France, Italy and beyond. Wineries do want to know why you want to visit because, simply speaking, they want to know whether it’s worth their while to receive you as a visitor. Are you going to buy? Are you already a fan of their wine and going to buy when you are back home (if you are English/American/German and they export there)? Or are you actually a professional buyer or a journalist? Many wineries (and even whole wine regions) cannot yet appreciate the whole PR concept of wine tourism (as opposed to simply selling wine) and it’s something I know you are trying hard to change in Spain/Portugal but I can see this taking a long time (even another half generation perhaps?). But also, the scale of European wineries and/or family-run aspect is an important issue – even more so in France, Italy and Germany, I believe, than in Spain – the wineries are so much smaller than in the New World. Many simply do not employ staff outside of the family. At this time of year for example the family members have to – often with only temp help at most – work hard in the vineyards, bottle some of last year’s wines, go out selling to the export markets in time for fall/Christmas sales, deliver to the local restaurants for the summer tourism sales, not forgetting keeping up with the EU pile of paperwork – and you are expecting them to blog and tweet too, I believe! How do they find the time to be spend time with casual visitors who are wine consumers who might never buy their wine? And – they just might want half of Saturday and/or Sunday off to spend with the next generation or their children won’t want to stay in the wine industry! The whole thing is a big dilemma and challenge for wineries all over Europe, I believe, especially those who are family owned.

    Congratulations again – have not had time to read your blog for a while, but just scanning through the recent articles, it’s just getting better and better.

  • Nina Garcia

    Thanks for the post. We are traveling to Barcelona, finally, after many years of failed attempts and are very interested in visiting at least one winery.

  • http://davidmarkhorowitz.com Dr. Horowitz

    Thanks for the review!

    I’m in Barcelon and headed to:

    http://www.penedesfera.cat/2008/12/01/vijazz-penedes-matching-penedes-wine-cava-with-international-jazz/

    I’ll tell them catavino.net sent me.

    If you have any wine blogger friends who are going tell them to keep an eye out for @dmhoro…

    Cheers

    • http://www.catavino.net Gabriella

      I’ll be there on Sunday. If you are around, let’s grab a glass of Vino!

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