Wine festival season is in full swing, and the last weekend of May in 2015 was quite the busy one with three happening at the same time. I chose to head to Temps de Vi in Vilanova i la Geltru (just south of Barcelona) at the encouragement of Joaquin from Torre del Veguer.
I was not disappointed.
I drive through the outskirts of Vilanova when I go visit Torre del Veguer, which is frequently due to our relationship, plus the documentary I’m filming about Catalan wine this year. While the outskirts are really nothing special, the downtown core certainly is something special. Featuring a ramblas that stretches 1,3 kilometres from the beach all the way to the cathedral Sant Antoni Abat, Vilanova is what most cities around the world strive to achieve – a centralized pedestrian friendly zone lined with restaurants, shops, preserved architecture dating several hundred years, culture, and tonnes of activity. Vilanova reminded me of the best of Girona, but with a beach!
Temps de Vi, running for the last four years, is the result of work by co-organisers Carles Carbonell and Oscar Villagarcia. What’s cool about their efforts is the fact they are attracting the under 36 crowd, which is a key demographic for wine people around the world. Of the registered attendees, 57% have been this key demographic during Temps de Vi’s run. Carles attributes this to keeping the festival in the downtown core, plus incorporating other activities from music, an after hours shopping night, a antique car festival on Sunday, plus tasting which take place on boats moored at the Vilanova marina.
Due to the schedule of other events, I was only able to attend Friday night, where Neus Munté, Catalan minister of Family and Social Services came to lend her support to the event. Not only were there wines to sample, but there was also food booths (along with a food fair on Sunday also), plus interesting stands of wine-related products, like Winey’s cartoon art celebrating wine love!
I met some old friends at the events, and especially enjoyed Torre del Veguer’s Xarel·lo, which on the warm evening with the gentle ocean breeze made a phenomenal combination. Other highlights included trying several varieties of Xitxarelo’s parent company Marti Serda, showing me that they can do more than a clever white with clever branding. Another highlight was Masia de la Roqua’s red and white, showcasing the best of local varietals, plus the quality wines of AT Roca.
The event was also great for Missus Timmer, who enjoyed a night of shopping, mingling and music. If your significant other isn’t necessarily a fan of wine, there are things for him/her to do while you are enjoying a phenomenal selection of varietals, including lounging on the beach!
After attending one day of Temps de Vi, my recommendation is to definitely put this one on your calendar, but plan on attending two days of the event. Next year I won’t miss the concert, nor the boat tastings. There’s so much to do, you need at least 48 hours to enjoy it all, if not the entire weekend!