What? You haven´t heard of Artcava? Ok, so we may not be the most well known winery in the world, nor did we hire an internationally famous architect to design a mind-boggling modernist building. Our cava has never won prizes and most people have never even heard of us. We like to say we are the best kept secret in the Penedès region. So you are probably wondering what Artcava is. We are a small, charming winery located in one of the most important wine regions in Europe, The Penedès ( a mere 40 minutes from Barcelona). We make a modest 18,000 bottles of quality artisan cava a year with our own hands, adding nothing, no chemicals, no funny business, only love.
Who are we and how did we begin?
We are three partners here at Artcava: Eric, the winemaker and wine taster; Ignasi, the one who looks after the business side of things (someone has to), both are in their early thirties; and Ramon, the foodie, a bit more than early thirties ( we call him the Gran Reserve). We opened the doors of Artcava in 2004. One evening chatting over a bottle of cava we came up with the idea. Well, everything starts with an idea but in our case, with a lot of hard work and determination, our idea has developed into a wonderful reality.
Ignasi´s family had been cultivating grapes and making wine since 1730, but the old winery had been abandoned for the previous 50 years and it was slipping into a state of disrepair. That´s when we decided to breathe some life back into its old walls. We set to work restoring the place being careful not to lose its rustic charm. Our intention was not to build a high tech super modern winery, but to acknowledge and respect the past. We wanted to fuse the past with the present.
And when we say past, we really do mean the past. We know from archaeological excavations that the Iberians made wine on the very site where Artcava stands today. You may wonder who the Iberians were, well let´s just say they were settlers in Catalonia before the Romans got here some 2,500 years ago. So considering wine has been produced in this region for the last 2,500 years we have had more than enough time to perfect our art.
Here at Artcava we make every effort to avoid the mass tourism which many of the larger wineries attract. We are not interested in churning out a memorized tour to busload upon busload of visitors. We prefer to apply the philosophy of “slow travel” and we pride ourselves on our personal, informal and friendly manner. If you come to visit us you will find we are young, enthusiastic and completely in love with our work (so much so that we can hardly call it work). We can guarantee that one of the three of us always does the tours and workshops personally. Whether you come to get a hands on demonstration on how cava is made, make your own bottle of cava, or do a food workshop learning to make sumptuous local specialities, or simply just to sit under the thousand year old olive tree with a cold glass of bubbly, we promise you will leave with a warm heart, a smile on your face and even some new friends (and as an added bonus, the chances of waking up with a hangover are slim as our cava is chemical free).
At Artcava there is never any rush. Visits and workshops take as long as they need. We can never give you a precise time of when you will leave. Chances are you will not even feel time go by. If you are in no hurry then neither are we. We enjoy nothing more than meeting people from all over the world and sharing with them our traditions. It’s taken 2,500 years to develop the knowledge we now have of wine and cava making, so we have learnt to respect the slow passing of time.
People constantly tell us that we have surpassed their expectations and that they loved the experience and getting to know us. At first we could hardly believe all the positive feedback. Surely it couldn´t be that easy to make people happy! All we do is what we love and share our enthusiasm and passion with others. But as the positive feedback continued we realized that yes it was that simple and work could indeed be that pleasurable. We never get too complacent and it still always makes us tremendously happy every time we receive a great recommendation on Tripadvisor or Facebook.
Sure you will find other tours in wineries much bigger and flashier than Artcava for a cheaper price, but we guarantee that what you won´t get in other wineries is the same personal touch. And of course, you won´t get us. The experiences we offer are real : we keep our feet firmly planted on the ground and over the last years have been getting better and better at just being us. And it works!
If as Catalans we say that Catalonia is not Spain, we also like to say that Artcava is not the same as other wineries.
But don´t just take our word for it…look at the opinions on line, have a search through our Facebook page and read through the comments on Tripadvisor (we know you will do this whether we suggest it or not, won´t you?).