IWINETC 2016 Barcelona: Wine Tourism, Cava, and Very Good Times

Oh Spain, say my name…say my name. I had the pleasure of going to Spain for the International Wine Tourism Conference on a press trip. It was my first time at the conference as well as my first trip to Catalunya.

There were people in attendance from around the globe: United States, Italy, France, Korea, South Africa, Greece, the list goes on. Some people attend the conference every year so that they can get information, network, or check out a different wine region since the conference goes to a different city each year.

As soon as I arrived, I was whisked off on an excursion to Codorniu with other attendees of the conference. The winery is known as “the cathedral of cava” and is one of the top producers of cava. We were taken on a thorough tour of the winery and given a tasting of several wines. This was the kick off of my Catalunya experience.

The conference was jam packed with workshop, tastings, and tours to wineries. There were people in attendance from around the globe: United States, Italy, France, Korea, South Africa, Greece, the list goes on.

I learned so much about what is going on with wine tourism around the world. It is a growing industry with lots of opportunities. The IWINETC is the conference to attend if you want to know what’s going in with wine on an international level.

Some of the highlights from the conference were:

The Grand Cava Tasting with Sarah Jane Evans, MW

Some Masters of Wine are so snooty that it’s not fun to drink wine with them, but Evans is a pure delight. I had actually bumped into her at the opening reception and realize that she was the keynote speaker.

Evans gave us the lowdown on 8 premium cavas from wineries that included Codorniu, Vilanaru, Vallformosa, Llopart, Castellroig Sabate, Gramona, Casa Sala, and Bohigas Noa De Bohigas. 95% of cava is made in Catalunya, though that is not a requirement to be able to produce cava.  With each cava Evans explained the grape varietal and aromas in the wine.

It was an informative tasting that expanded my appreciation the wine. There are many cavas to discover.


Freixenet Gala Dinner

We had the opportunity to go on a tour of the Freixenet winery, the largest producer of cava in Spain. As we made our way through the cava caves, there was wine and pairings along the stops.

After the tour, there was four course gala dinner.  Four of their wines were paired with dinner, Casa Sala, Reserva Real, Elyssia Pinot Noir, and Malvasia. Everything was well done, especially the cod in honey paired with the Reserva Real. There is something rather delicious about fish paired with cod. Spain does know how to do amazing fish dishes.

Visiting Freixenet gave me a scope on how many wines they have in their portfolio. Most of us know the Cordon Negro Brut, they have so many delightful wines that people may not know about.

Next year IWINETC will be in Italy. See you there!



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