Production of Cava

9th February 2014

Cava is the second largest traditional method wine by volume in the world, after Champagne. The Cava Denominacion de Origen (DO) was established in 1986. The Cava DO covers five regions in Spain: Cataluna (where the majority of production is based), Aragon, Navarra, Pais Vasco and La Rioja. Production is only about two-thirds that of Champagne, approxiamtely 240 million bottles per year.

The most obvious difference between Cava and many other sparkling wines is the blend of grapes used. The native Spanish grape varieties of Macabeo, Xarel-lo and Parellada will be found in the majority of wines, however, Chardonnay is increasing in popularity along with Pinot Noir.

The minimum lees ageing time is 9 months for standard wines, 18 months for Reserva wines and 30 months for Gran Reserva wines. Unlike Champagne, which can use both the first and second pressing of grapes. Cava can only use the first pressing.

Cava production is in the hands of 270 producers, of which only 18 have a production of over 1 million bottles a year. Two of these are Codorniu and Freixenet who vastly dominate production; Freixenet alone is responsible for producing up to 200 million bottles per year.

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