Catalonia’s Wine Cathedrals

As wine lovers venture out of Barcelona streets laced with Gaudi’s intricate designs to vineyards in the countryside, they are never left without brilliant Modernist architecture to gawk at. That’s because several of Catalonia’s best vineyards lie next to cellars often called wine cathedrals . When the region’s viticultural renaissance hit its stride in the early 1900s, some of the best Modernista (or Catalan Art Nouveau) architects wanted to celebrate by contributing their designing genius to booming wine cellars.

One prominent and popular example is the Codorniu wine cellar outside of Sant Sadurní d’Anoia, built by Josep Puig i Cadafalch. Its arching ceilings aren’t only beautiful, but they naturally enhance the reverence for the wine-making tradition in this area. But in Conca de Barberá, Alt Camp and in other areas nearby there are plenty more wine cathedrals by architects like Cèsar Martinell i Brunet and Pere Domènech i Roure.

But there are many architects continuing the building of gorgeous wine cathedrals for the area, including Lluis Ribas-Carlos Morales who uses a combination of sharp lines and natural textures at the Bellmunt de Priorat cellar near Tarragona. Sleek planes showcasing a pristine contrast between the sky and the fashionable Torres cellar in Penedés is also an impressive sight that Javier Barba created for wine worshippers in mind.

The wine cathedral concept has also grown outside of Catalonia into the nearby Rioja region. Two examples today particularly stand out: the Herederos del Marqués de Riscal cellar by the world-famous Frank Gehry, a building that looks like wine splashing up from the ground, and the Bodegas Ysios by Santiago Calatrava which has a rooftop that undulates like flowing wine.

Enjoy private visits to some of the above wineries on one of our customized private tours like our Wine Lovers Tour of Spain and Portugal, covering La Rioja, Ribera Del Duero, Priorat and Penedes Wine DO Regions in Spain PLUS Portugal and the beautiful Douro Valley and historic Porto.