Position in the company: President of Freixenet Group
Age: 72 years old
Century-old brand, located in Sant Sadurní, Barcelona. World leader in the development and production of cava. The Freixenet brand, covers an excellent range of champagnes and consists of 18 wineries in the best growing areas of wine on three continents: Europe, America and Oceania.
How would you describe the fruit production process?
Our process is complete and comprehensive. It begins with the full, controlled and annual cycle of production of the grapes in the vineyards. It continues with the transformation of the grapes into must by the pressing of the grapes and the decanting of the must. The process continues with the fermentation of the base wine.
It then follows with the controlled fermentation at low temperature, our ground-breaking technique in Spain, and with the use of our own yeasts, making possible such biological transformation.
Finally this base wine turns into cava through our traditional method, which consists of the following sub-processes:
- The base wine is bottled with a small portion of sugar and yeasts that catalyze the production of sparkling wine.
- This mixture is fermented inside each of the bottles.
- Ageing and maturing of the obtained sparkling wine bottles.
- Riddling of the bottles to separate lees.
- Disgorgement of the bottles to remove lees and addition, if needed, of liqueur de tirage.
- Corking, labeling and boxing of the final bottles of cava.
Which tools/utensils are the most important in the process?
To carry out the complex and long process of harvest, pressing, vinification, tirage, stowing and riddling we use exclusive machinery, as well as for the process of disgorgement, bottling, etc.
How important is the land/soil in the production?
We are located in a wine country, specifically in the Cava Designation of Origin (DO). The “O” for “origin” is of upmost importance in this case.
This ORIGIN reveals and involves specific and unique characteristics that define the soils of the vineyards or their altitude, latitude, micro-climates, etc. The use of the same varieties and processes in another wine country would yield a different product. This is why the territory, the land, the delimitation of the area of production, the sustainability of the vineyards and of the landscape and the different micro-climates identify the quality, traits, and above all the particularities of cava.
Human factors affecting wine-growing techniques, wine development and the improvement of technology infrastructures of the wineries also result in the development and standing of the territory and of the designation of origin.
The clearly differentiated personality of “Cava” is born in the vineyard, and both the winery and the human “know-how” are in charge of preserving it. Therefore, wine expresses the character of the varieties together with the particularities of the land where they grow.
Personal opinion about Mediterranean traditions and customs.
That is a tricky question, which should be answered by a sociologist! In my personal opinion, and taking into account the vast number and variety of the Mediterranean traditions and customs, I would mention Cava, the Castellers, the sardana and the Pa amb tomàquet as four of the most significant and representative traditions of Catalonia. Castellers and sardanas showcase the festivities of a large part of the Catalan territory, while cava and pa amb tomàquet are the main examples of the Mediterranean diet in Catalonia.
Which Mediterranean tradition would you associate with your product?
I partly answered this in the previous question, though I should state that cava is one of the major Mediterranean wines in terms of tradition and consumption. Also, it is a light wine that helps digestion and a central element at friends and family gatherings. Maybe it should be noted that recent studies provide evidence of the health benefits of drinking cava in moderation.