Winery tours come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes you may end up with a guide focused on facts and figures, other times you may get to do a fun tasting paired with cheeses, but if you are really lucky you’ll end up at La Vinyeta where the owner, Josep, will give you a bucket and a pair of scissors, set you loose in the vineyard, and then ask you to kick off your shoes so you can join in the grape stomping. How’s that for an introduction to wine making?
A quick history of La Vinyeta
La Vinyeta was one of the many stops on my quick whirlwind tour of Costa Brava, but it’s the place I remember most fondly. For starters, this vineyard has a pretty cool story. After all, it’s not every day you get to meet Josep and Marta, a young couple who self admittedly “knew nothing about wine” yet decided to take a risk, follow a dream, and buy a vineyard. Talk about taking the plunge!
It all began when Josep’s father was approached by an older gentleman looking to sell his vineyard. This gentleman had no children of his own and the work was getting to be a little too much for him. Josep and Marta who were studying agricultural engineering at the time decided to take the leap and see if they could put some of their classroom knowledge into action. Their only condition was that if they bought the vineyard, the gentleman would have to teach them everything he knew about making wine, and so, La Vinyeta was born!
The art of grape stomping
We arrived in La Vinyeta towards the end of the grape harvest season, so there were still a few grapes on the vines and Josep was quick to put us to work. After a quick tour of the grounds – aside from wine, La Vinyeta also produces its own eggs, olives, and honey! – Josep handed us each a large bucket and a pair of scissors and left us to our own devices.
Now confession time, while half of our group was diligently filling up their buckets, I had a taste of the grapes which were sweet and ripe to perfection, and I may have spent a little more time snacking than I did grape picking! But I made up for it soon after, because once everyone had dumped a few bucketloads of grapes into a larger vat, it was time to move on to the main event: grape stomping.
I don’t think any of us were expecting this as part of the wine tour, nor had we dressed for it, but when in Spain… We all took off our shoes, hopped inside the wooden vats, and began stomping in between bouts of laughter. Oh, and because this is Catalunya, we had to don traditional Catalan outfits, so we were each handed a slouchy red hat and a belt to complete the look.
Once the grape skins had been crushed and the juices released, we emptied our vats into a press, and then filled up a few glasses with the fresh squeezed grape juice. Yes, that’s the same juice that everyone’s feet had been in, but that’s how we roll.
A casual wine tasting among friends
As you can imagine, after all that grape picking and grape stomping, we were starting to feel a little peckish, which is why I was thrilled when I learned that we still had a wine tasting ahead paired with local meats and cheeses. I really liked that this was a casual tasting with a mix of white and red wines available, but it wasn’t a guided tasting where we were methodically smelling and examining the colours; we were just drinking wine, enjoying the conversation, sampling the platters laid out before us and it was wonderful!
Visiting La Vinyeta
My afternoon in La Vinyeta was one of the highlights of my trip to Costa Brava and I’d recommend it in a second – especially if you’re there around harvest time. For anyone looking to visit, La Vinyeta is located in Mollet de Peralada, which is just 1 hour north of Girona, quite close to the border with France. They offer wine tours and tastings, picnics under the olive groves, as well as overnight stays. Just be sure to arrange your visit in advance by sending them an email through the contact form.
Do you do vineyard tours when you travel?
What’s been your favourite experience so far?
This post was brought to you as a result of the #EuroFoodTrip campaign, created and managed by iambassador in partnership with Costa Brava & Girona Pyrenees and Emilia Romagna Tourism. As always, I retain full editorial control of everything published.