Penedes is Catalonia's leading wine region located southwest of Barcelona and considered to be aligned with Rioja in popularity. Penedes is one of the oldest wine producing areas in Europe with emphasis on white wine varieties, which primarily are used for sparkling wine, but also reputable oak-aged reds are produced
The calcareous soils of Penedes is perfect for the wine production, which can be traced back to the Phoenician time when the Chardonnay grape was introduced.
Penedes region is divided into three:
Penedes Baix is the lowest lying coastal region, where the climate is hot and where the soil is a mixture of limestone and clay, which is well suited for growing Camacha and Tempranillo grapes.
Penedes Medio has a cooler climate and the wine is grown on hill sides in the hilly landscape. This area produces approx. 60% of the Penedes wines, especially the white varieties Xarello and Macabeo.
Penedes Alto is, as the name suggests, the highest lying area with the highest humidity.. The Alto region is known for light, lemon flavored white wines, for example Parallada, grown in up to 800 m above sea level. Some of the vineyards are considered to be among the best in Europe.
For a more detailed discussion of wine and tour ideas see: http://cataloniaholidaylettings.co.uk/activities.html
The capital, Vilafranca del Penedes, lies on the left bank of the Foix river and on the main line between Barcelona and Tarragona (AP 7)
Founded in the mid-12th century and was several times the seat of Corts (parliament).
Royal Palace from the 12. century, which today is a museum whose collections include archeology, paleontology, ornithology, ceramics and religious art.
The gothic church of Santa Maria
The Wine Museum, showing wine-making, the history and technology.
Other attractions include the church of Sant Joan, Sant Francesc monastery and a number of old merchant houses such as Palau del Fraret, Casal dels Gomá and Casal del Marques d'Alfarràs.
Anoia is the area north of Penedes Baix, a thriving agricultural and wine region around Anoia River. Today the most important industry is papermaking.
The capital is Igualada (39,000 inhabitants) on the left bank of the Anoia river at the end of the Igualada-Matorell-Barcelona railway. The old town center dates back from the 11th century with an irregular network of narrow streets and the remains of a fort and ramparts. The town lies 65 km. from Barcelona and 20 km. from the famous mountain monastery of Montserrat.
The city hosts the annual European Balloon Festival and hasSpain's only balloon factory (Ultra Magic), but traditionally were leather- and textile industry dominant, but environmental restrictions finished the tanneries.
The Leather Museum from 1954 was the first of its kind in Spain and shows a typical traditional tannery.
The Muledriver Museum shows the evolution of transport modes with mules, horses and oxen.
The Santa Maria Basilica is the most important historic building, originally from the 11th century, but most of the present building is from the 17th- century