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How do we get Penedès on the International Map of Wine?

What is Penedès?

Well, most of you know that I moved here from California about two years ago, and honestly, although having worked in the wine business for many years, I barely knew about it. To some extent, the ‘fault’ for this has to lay in the lap of the  Penedès, Catalonia and Spain governmental and tourist authorities. But the international wine press doesn’t seem to make much of an effort to explore and discover the Spanish wine country outside of Rioja, which is a travesty since Spain is the vine densest country in the world. That doesn’t necessarily mean that all Spanish wine is fantastic. But, it does mean that some of the most wonderful and memorable wine go undiscovered. And that is sad and unforgivable, for Spain and for the rest of the world.

When I lived in California I, like most of the people who worked with or just loved wine, subscribed to the Wine Spectator, one of the most influential wine publications in the world, just a step after Robert Parker, with a similar point grading system of wine. Having moved to  Penedès, I continued to subscribe to Wine Spectator (WS) and was hoping for this important magazine to realize that there are other fantastic wine regions here outside of Rioja. But when the annual ‘SPAIN’ issue arrived this week, of course it was Rioja that was the main feauture. So, I wrote a letter to the editor! And I am very curious to see if they will print it! Wanna bet????

Here’s the letter to the Wine Spectator editor;


There is more to Spanish wine than Rioja!


As a loyal Wine Spectator subscriber – having lived and worked in the California wine world for 20+ years – I kept up my subscription, despite the cost, when I moved to the  ‎Penedès wine region in Catalonia some two years ago. Not knowing anybody here, or the language for that matter, it took me awhile to settle in and thoroughly discover what this area has to offer. What I did find was an amazing spectrum of cava, which this region is known for, but also still wine, red, rose’ and, especially, fabulous whites.

Meanwhile, I was eagerly anticipating the annual ‘SPAIN’ issue of WS. Since Spain has –geographically – more vines planted per area than any other country in the world, the time should be ripe to let WS’ readers discover that there is fantastic wine produced in all areas of Spain, not just Rioja. (Reminds me a bit of California, where Napa Valley is behind only approx 5% of the total wine production, but because it knows how to promote itself – and granted, some Napa wines are incredible- the other 95% of CA wine sometimes seems like an afterthought in the wine press)

When the Spain issue finally arrived, my worst fears were confirmed. Not only was the main subject Rioja again, but the ‘Silver Lining’ feature seemed like a stepsister category featuring – barely- the rest of Spain by region. But how can you write about a region when you don’t even get the facts right?  Cava is not a region, it is what sparkling wine from Penedès, and a few other wine regions, is called. Penedès is about 25 miles south of Barcelona, in the autonomous state of Catalonia. I’m not sure how it works, but I assume that wineries have to submit their wines for tasting by WS, but as the only cavas mentioned in your report, apart from Raventos i Blanc, are Jaume Serra  (which most Catalonians may use for cooking) and Freixenet (the worlds largest cava producer, hard to ignore) I wonder what your ‘Cava editor’ tasted? It couldn’t have been Recaredo, Gramona, Castelroig or Torello’ Kripta, because if it had been, she couldn’t have helped herself but to excitedly let the world know how fantastic they, and many others, are!

I invite you to Penedès to discover the best kept wine secret in the world!


Helena Centerwall,

Gelida / Sant Sadurni,


Catalonia, Spain

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