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Ann is very happy after completing her first homework and sampling 13 different D.O. Montsant wines.

Giddy from learning?!

We have now completed our basic training with Miquel after spending 17 intensive days together. Wine and politics have been recurring topics when driving from one vineyard to the next. Discussions have continued well into the night back at the hotel.

We’ve been given a solid grounding in how wine is produced and have studied the local red grapes Cariñena and Garnatxa which are used to make wine in Montsant and Priorat. We have sampled lots of fantastic white wines in Terra Alta and Penedés, made of Garnatxa, Parellada, Macabeu and Xarel-lo. As a kind of graduation celebration, we travelled around the Penedés region where 95% of all Cava is produced.

We met so many dedicated and wonderful people at the vineyards we visited. We were struck by how open and hospitable everyone is. There are no secrets here, rather the opposite. Everyone was happy to spend time talking to us and showing us around. A huge thank you to all the fantastic people who looked after us and have turned us into true wine enthusiasts!

Finally, we would like to thank Miguel for sharing his wealth of knowledge and experience with us and letting us into his enormous network of contacts that stretches across all wine-related areas. We must also say a special thank you for all the homework we have been given, which often involved tasting many different types of wine. School has taken on a whole new meaning for us and we’d love to do more homework.

Francesc Frisach, Celler Frisach opens a bottle of Ancestral sparkling wine.
A demonstration of hi-tech wine production in elegant surroundings at the Herència Altés winery.
Toni Carbó (left), La Salada & Mas Candi, lets us sample wine straight from the barrel. Wine produced using ancient methods.
Cava producer Loxarel ferments and ages its wines in amphorae.
Ann is offered a glass of “REFUGI” by Josep Mitjans, Loxarel, at the exit of “refugi” (bomb shelter) on the former military airfield.
Albert Lopez, Esteve i Gibert Viticultors, is demonstrating how they label and seal the bottles with wax by hand.
Eduards Pié (left), Sicus Celler, has his wine in amphoras buried in the ground.
Eduards (right) hosts a party in beautiful and simple surroundings among the vines.
Only natural wines are produced here and everything is done by hand. On the left, Antonella Gerosa, Partida de Creus.
Our family couldn’t keep away when it was time to sample Cava. On the left, our daughter Ida and her boyfriend Nicholas.Mireia Borrell at Gramona gave us a fanatic tour around their vineyard.
At the bottom is the cow’s horn in which Gramona lets its biodynamic preparations developing.
Nicholas, Ida’s technically-minded boyfriend, is more interested in the production process at Vilarnau than in drinking Cava.
René Barbier, Venus La Universal, not only makes fantastic wine but cooks delicious food too.
Back to basics! Grapes are crushed in the traditional way here at Cellers Scala Dei.
Josep Lluis Perez, Mas Martinet, one of the five winemakers who came from France and made Priorat famous in the 80s, shows Ann how different fermentation temperatures affect the wine.

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