Enotourism and education go hand-in-hand at J Miquel Jane
If there is one thing you take away from a visit to the Bodega J Miquel Jane, it’s everything. That’s because this is one of the most comprehensive winery visits one can experience. This is by grand design, because at Miquel Jane they want you to learn, to understand, to see behind the curtain and know what it takes — from vine to bottle — to make superb wines.
Located near the town of Font Rubi in beautiful upper Penedes region, the four generation family-owned bodega has come a long way from its humble beginnings selling bulk wine in barrels to Cuba. Now J Mique Jane produces awarded wines of distinction from its sprawling, modern winery. As the production increased and the quality improved, the family began to explore other opportunities which often accompany success. So it comes as no surprise given its scenic location and ample facilities, the winery would explore and develop enotourism. Rather than introduce a tour designed to ultimately increase retail sales of their wine at the cellar, J Miquel Jane decided to develop its wine tourism as a stand alone business segment.
Current owner and director Bernadette Miquel shared with us her intention is to give guests more than just a pretty romp through the vineyard as a means to encourage them to buy wine. Having done their homework, they found that most vineyard tours typically leave visitors with more questions than answers. The aesthetic-centric formula has proven to be affective in marrying the Kodak moment with the impulse purchase, but why not more? Bernadette understands her winery is not reinventing the wheel or even fixing something that was broken, with their enotourism program. However, if there was a way to improve upon the old model which gave people more value in their visit, made them want to buy and feel good about it, well then you’d be onto something.
So what is this sliced bread their selling up at J Miquel Jane?
Ssh! Wait for it.
I can hear you thinking every vineyard “educates” its guests. Allow me to see your what and raise you a who, when, where, and even how (Poker terminology for those who I may have lost there). What J Miquel Jane offers with their tours is more than a fond memory, but knowledge. This is a true understanding of their process from vine to bottle to mouth. In doing so, they bridge the disconnect “pretty” tours create. This allows them to maintain steady enotourism throughout the year, even after it’s cold and the vines are bare.
Allow me make one thing clear, so as to not be misunderstood. Tours at J Miquel Jane are visually wonderful. The tours start at the winery which also used to serve as the family home. “Enoartifacts” sprinkle the exterior of this beautiful Alta Penedes abode boasting scenic views in all directions. Guests are warmly greeted and checked in by their hosts and guides. First stop from here is the vineyards where more than just history, hectarage and grape varieties are discussed. Guests also learn about some extra efforts necessary for organic practices to be followed, as well as how to recognise the hand worked vineyards from the machine worked ones and identify the grape variety a vine grows by its leaves.
The tour then moves inside the cellar where the pressing, varying fermentation processes, and barrel ageing are shared amongst its very modern facility. Here guests get some proactive understanding of the varying steps taken that lend to the differences of what they will taste minutes later.
The culmination on the tour is of course the tasting, and is conducted in the banquet hall and mahogany rich dining room. However, this is no mere sniff, taste, spit event but a full-on wine course featuring 4 of their 5 labels and some cheeses and sausage to pair with but ultimately encourage the enjoyment of the wines. Did I mention this part is two hours with handouts, pencils, and a few quizzes (okay maybe no quizzes).
While this class might seem a bit too elementary to the seasoned wine lover, it is pure gold for newbies and from a buyer’s standpoint. After all, isn’t it about creating new wine lovers and attracting new people to the religion of the grape? Not only does Miquel Jane introduce and educate their guests about their wines but they also help them make informed purchases rather than an impulse one.
By taking this extra step Miquel Jane connects their guests with the wine in the bottle, not just the label on the outside, and have essentially created customers out of their guests not just tourists. Such details and extra measures are important to Bernadette in her vision for the future success and growth of J Miquel Jane, where the bodega’s enotourism washes the hand of wine sales and vice versa.
If you’re a seasoned wino, and you’re looking to get your friends into wine, this is a great place to get them started. You and J Miquel Jane, can count on us doing the same.