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Penedès, a Mediterranean wine region located just an hour south of Barcelona, is a noteworthy wine-growing area in the Catalonia region of Spain. Penedès is best known for its Cava, the sparkling wine of Spain, but it also produces excellent dry reds and whites, as well as some interesting dessert wines.

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Where is Penedès Wine Region?

The Penedès wine appellation is located in the Catalonian countryside, southwest of Barcelona, Spain, encompassing two coastal provinces: Barcelona in the north and Tarragona in the south.

It is further divided into three sub-regions: the Baix-Penedes (Lower Penedès) by the coast, the Garraf (another coastal zone enclosed by a mountain park), and the Alt-Penedes (High Penedès), which produces the majority of the region's wines.

Penedès Wine Map

Penedes Wine Map

Penedes Wine Route

Penedès Wine Route is a journey where you get to explore and learn about the region of Penedès. Discover this place with all your senses. The area offers many opportunities for learning and entertainment that reflect the culture of winemaking. Read more about the Penedès wine route!

History of the Penedès Wine Region

The first evidence of wine growing in the Penedès region is said to have dated back to the 7th century BC when Phoenician sailors cultivated the first Chardonnay grape and exchanged winemaking techniques with the Iberians settlements. The Penedès is one of the world's great wine-growing regions, with twenty-seven centuries of wine-growing tradition and an extremely uneven orography.

Penedès has a rich history of pioneering vineyards and wineries, making it one of Europe’s oldest and largest wine-growing regions with a bucolic landscape dotted with picturesque villages, solitary churches, and vineyards.

The ancient Greeks and Romans contributed to the expansion of wine cultivation and trade in the region. The port of Barcelona was established by the Romans to ensure their strategic control of the Mediterranean. Demand for Penedès wines extended throughout the Mediterranean region because the city and the Penedès region were both located along the Via Augusta river. Following the fall of the Roman Empire, trade accelerated and remained relatively constant throughout the Middle Ages.
Although Penedès is currently recognized for its white wines, this was not always the case. In truth, most of the Penedès vineyards were predominantly planted with red varieties before the phylloxera plague of the 19th century. As the region recovered following the plague, the region's wine production moved from red to white grapes, introducing the first Cava to the region in 1872.  Penedès vineyards now have about 10% red grapes and 90% white grapes.

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ava Mestres winery in Penedes, Spain

What makes the Terroir of Penedès so unique to produce amazing wines?

The great diversity of the Penedès wines with different flavours and aromas is born due to the climatic differences and the variety of its soils. The dry and friable clay, sand, and limestone substrates beneath the grapes are ideal for allowing vines to penetrate roots deeply.

The climate is Mediterranean-like, with hot summers, mild winters, and moderate rainfall usually in the spring and autumn. However, because of the complicated geography of the coastal hills, there is a significant climate difference from site to site, allowing winemakers to produce a diverse range of wines. 

Penedes can be divided into three climatic sub-zones:

  • Baix Penedès ('low' in Catalan) is a region in Catalonia that specializes in producing full-bodied red wines from lower-lying, warmer locations.
  • Between 500 and 800 meters above sea level, Alt Penedès is situated in the hills (1,640 - 2,625ft). The freshest white wine styles are produced in the cooler settings here.
  • The transitional zone between the two is the Medio Penedès which is 500 meters above sea level. This subzone is suitable for grapes like Macabeo, Xarel-lo, Tempranillo, and Parellada from which sparkling wines and excellent white wines are produced.

Grape Varieties Cultivated in Penedès

Most wines from Catalonia in northeast Spain come from the Penedès region where almost four-fifths of the wine is white, with grapes covering 37,500 acres (15,200 hectares). The dominant white grape is Xarel·lo, an indigenous variety that thrives in the central region, along with Macabeo (in the lower, coastal region) and Parellada (in the interior highlands). Recently, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chenin Blanc are also grown, as are other whites such as Chardonnay and Muscat.

For the red Penedès wines, traditional Spanish grape varieties such as Garnacha, Cariñena, Monastrell, and Tempranillo (known locally as Ull de Llebre) are mostly used, but we find local winemakers farming the Bordeaux types Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon as well.
Penedès was the first region in Spain to adopt stainless steel equipment and cold fermentation back in the 1970s. Since then, Penedès winemakers have been producing superb modern wines that combine local and French types.

The D.O. Penedès, home to a diverse range of grape types, is experimenting with viticulture and winemaking like no other region in Spain. Since its beginnings, the DO Penedès has produced high-quality sparkling wines, though in far fewer quantities than still wines. However, since 2013, a number of new producers have entered the DO, boosting the popularity of this style of wine in the Penedès DO. Clàssic Penedès produces the highest-quality sparkling wines in the world using a traditional and ancestral process. Some remarkable wines you can try to get familiar with the Classic Penedès are Albet i Noya 'Petit Albet' Brut, Jean Leon 3055 Merlot - Petit Verdot, AT Roca Reserva 2018, and Agusti Torello Mata Gran Reserva Barrica Cava. The Penedès wine tasting is a true reflection of the unique terroir and hard work put together in a bottle.

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Food to Pair with Penedès Wine

Most dry sparkling wines, like brut Champagne and Spanish cava, have a slight sweetness to them. When eaten with light seafood dishes, salty meals, spicy foods, fried chicken, and appetizers, they become even more refreshing.


Paella is a traditional signature Spanish meal made with rice, broth, saffron, vegetables, chicken, and seafood that is cooked in a single pan and served. A glass of white or rosé Penedès wine is a perfect match for Paella as the fresh and fruity taste of the wine intensifies the flavors of the seafood.


Garlic Shrimp Linguine

The creamy lemon and butter flavors are a natural affinity for garlic shrimp Linguine. The aroma of saltwater shrimp can be complemented by a bottle of white, red, or bubbly Cava wines with a fruity citrusy taste, furthermore, the acidity in the wine helps to balance the shrimp's sweetness.

Tortilla Española

Tortilla de patata is a traditional go-to Spanish tapas that is made from 3 ingredients: potatoes, eggs and onions. Add a little herb and rosemary to the dish and taste the enhanced flavors and spices adding richness to your palate. Pair this dish with a medium-bodied white, red, or off-dry Cava from Penedès to indulge in the delicious authentic Spanish food.

Places to Visit in Penedès

Penedés has a thriving tourist industry for a variety of reasons. Its warm climate and beauty in the shade of the Montserrat Mountains represent the best of the Mediterranean. Its proximity to Barcelona, one of Europe's top destinations, makes it a good alternative for day visits to see the sights or go wine tasting. Here are the top three tourist destinations you can visit in Penedes:

VINSEUM: Museu de les Cultures del Vi de Catalunya

The VINSEUM, or Catalan Wine Cultures Museum, is a museum in Vilafranca del Penedès (Alt Penedès) that is built in an antique house-palace of the Crown of Aragon rulers.

The museum features a large collection of ancient and modern tools and instruments, as well as mock-ups and actual models that show how technology has evolved in vine growing and winemaking. The collection also includes dioramas of Egyptian and Roman wine cellars and taverns, as well as the cellar of Poblet Monastery.

Basilica of Santa Maria

The Basilica of Santa Maria de Vilafranca is Catalonia's first Gothic structure. It is regarded as a one-of-a-kind work in Catalonia and the most notable example of Catalan Gothic sculpture from the second half of the fifteenth century.
A tour around the church involves a journey through space and time during the duration of the museum's 725-year history, as well as a look at its interior and exterior elements.

The Basilica Of Santa Maria De Vilafranca

The Town of Vilafranca del Penedès

Vilafranca del Penedès was founded in the 12th century and quickly rose to prominence as a political and commercial center. It now has a picturesque town center with a relaxed, village atmosphere, as well as a number of historic buildings and monuments. Begin your journey at the Plaça de Jaume I and walk the streets that branch off of it.

Frequently Asked Questions About Penedès

What wine region is Penedès?

Penedès (Denominació d'Origen Protegida in Catalan) is a Spanish Denominación de Origen Protegida (DOP) for wines produced in Catalonia, Spain. All of the Penedès area, as well as municipalities from four adjacent counties: Anoia, Alt Camp, Baix Llobregat, and Tarragonès, are included in the Penedès DOP.

Where is Penedes Spain?

Penedes is located about an hour South of Barcelona province, between the Catalan pre-coastal land and the Mediterranean coast lowlands. Alt Penedès (capital Vilafranca del Penedès), Baix Penedès (capital el Vendrel), and Garraf (capital Vilanova I la Geltr) are the three counties that make up the region.

Is Cava from Penedès?

Approximately 95% of all cava is manufactured in the Penedès region of Catalonia, Spain, with many of the greatest Catalan production houses based in the village of Sant Sadurni d'Anoia. The Penedes wine region is most recognized for being the world's largest producer of Cava, Spain's sparkling wine equivalent of French champagne.

What are the primary grapes of Penedès?

Red Grapes: The traditional variety grapes are Tempranillo, Garnacha, Graciano, Mazuelo, Carignan, Maturana tinta, Maturana and Monastrell.

White Grapes: The primary grape white grape varieties are Xarel lo, Macabeu, Parellada, Viura, Malvasía, White Grenache (Garnacha Blanca), chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, Verdejo, Maturana white, Tempranillo blanco and Turruntés.

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Just getting started on your wine journey, or jumping back in?
Taste through a selection of a great local wines.

Wineries in Penedès