While Rioja has enjoyed the reputation of being the best known and best producing appellation in Spain, DO Penedes has been long considered a rival appellation when it comes to wine production. It’s been best known for its cava production; white wines are the dominant variety, with DO Penedes promoting the Xarel·lo brand with its 7000 planted hectares.


Phoenicians had a strong presence here in the 6th Century, but unlike other regions of Catalunya, winemaking continued after the Moors began their occupation of the Iberian Peninsula. Many of the early artifacts proving the long history of wine in the region are on display at the Vinseum in the Penedes town of Vilafranca. The collection includes 17.000 items, and includes amphoras, oinochoes, askois and arybalos.

penedes-cava-waysWith the expansion of Spain to South America in the 18th century, Penedes wines enjoyed a huge demand on the continent, and it is a demand that continues to this day. The outbreak of the phylloxera plague was a blow to the region, but the creativity of vintners in the region resulted in a new product. The phylloxera plague can be credited with the creation of the Cava industry during the 1870s, as the region looked for ways to continue some sort of production during the ravaging epidemic which took out red varieties. 

Penedes has a varied climate and varied geology, which allows for a vast range of grape varietals to thrive. Experimentation with Frnech and German strains of grapes combined with high altitude vineyards (some of the highest in Europe) has created blends unique to the region. Most notable in this pursuit has been the famous Bodegas Torres, which produces not only great cava, but also white and red varieties.

The types of grapes grown in the region are as follows:

White wines

  • Chardonnay, Xarel lo, Malvasia de Sitges, Parellada, Riesling, Macabeu, Moscatell d’Alexandria, Sauvignon Blanc

Red Wines

  • Garnatxa, Syrah, Monastrell, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Samso, Ull de llebre


The following vineyards are in DO Penedes. Vineyards highlighted in blue are hotlinked to their website