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I found out about Alta Alella Winery during my stay in Girona, Spain. Some of the closest wine regions to Girona are Penedès (known for its cava) and Alella (known for white wine). I love all wine, but I usually prefer red wine. Yet surprisingly, during my trip to Spain I found that white wine isn’t just refreshing, but dry, light, and full of flavor. I wanted to learn more about the Alella region of the country for our online wine club, so I set out to visit a local winery there, Alta Alella.
Most importantly to me, the wines and cava made by Alta Alella are all vegan-friendly. In the future, they actually hope to include a logo indicating that on the label. The next most important thing, of course, is the taste! My fiancé Eric and I took a tour of Alta Alella Winery to find out more about how they grow, produce, and store their vegan wines. And at the end of the tour, we finally got to taste it… and it’s amazing! Eric has accompanied me to lots of these recent vineyard tours in France and Spain. He’s more of a spirit drinker, but it’s still important for me to get his opinions on the tastes of the different wines. He and I are each able to detect different notes and flavors during some of the wine tastings.
In the Alella region of Spain, the languages are Catalan and Spanish. While I speak Spanish, Eric does not, so we had to go on one of the English tours. Because there are a limited number of tours in English and we arrived on such short notice, we took one of the group tours. About ten of us toured the property together. We strolled by the vines and touched the grapes. We were able to see the steel tanks and barrels where they age the wine. We learned about the cellar and entered the special room where they've stored some of the first batches of their very oldest wines. And finally, we did a wine tasting. Alta Alella is located on a hill, so from the tasting room you get a gorgeous view of the Mediterranean Sea and the surrounding vineyards. It's a pretty spectacular.
The grape that the winery is known for is the Pansa Blanca or “Xarel-lo” as they call it in this region of Spain. It’s very representative of Alella and can be used to produce both wine and cava. Of all the wines we tasted, my favorite was the Cau d’en Genís. While most of the vines at Alta Alella were planted in 1991, some of them date back more than 60 years. Those grapes used to make the Cau d’en Genis are actually from these older vines.
Alta Alella is one of the pioneers of organic and natural wine in the region. Rather than using any animal products to remove the residues and clarify the wine, I love that they use the old manual tradition of rotating the bottles. Eleven years ago, even before people were using the term “natural,” they made the first cava ever created without the addition of sulphites. It’s named “Bruant” after a bird that lives there in the Serralada de Marina Natural Park. Impressively, they’re also experimenting with cross-breeding different grapes in hopes of creating new vines that are resistant to climate change! I admire a lot of other things about the winery too. Alta Alella is a family-run venture that began in the 1990s. The winery and the surrounding property is beautiful, filled with terraced and sloping vineyards, and located less than a mile from the Mediterranean Sea. They’ve been certified organic from the very beginning, growing grapes and producing wines without using a single pesticide, herbicide, or insecticide.
The company prioritizes the environment, transparency, identity, and enotourism (also known as “wine tourism”) in its day to day business. Not only is it a magnificent place to visit, Alta Alella is a business with morals and a producer of quality products - I think that’s something all wineries should strive for. Plus, they welcome visitors every day of the week during the summer months for tours and tastings! Gonzalo Garnacho from Alta Alella set up my tour and kindly answered all of my questions after the visit! I’d highly recommend a tour and a tasting to anyone traveling in Barcelona, Girona, or the Alella region of Spain.