Call me a wine snob, but my heart tends to sink when an estate lists “wine tourism” as part of its offer. I have visions of chugging around vineyards in a mini train, headphones clapped tightly to my ears while I fiddle desperately with the audioguide in search of the right language, listening with mounting desperation to a potted commentary about how many hectares the winery has, which varieties it grows and how many grapes it takes to make a litre of wine. By the time I reach the bottling line, I’m losing the will to live.
Not so at Terra Remota. Wine tourism is writ large on the website of this architect-designed organic winery lost in the midst of 54 hectares of cork oaks, pines and scrub in northeastern Catalonia, but it does things differently. You can certainly visit the winery, admire the stainless-steel tanks, wooden vats and barrels – even the bottling line if that floats your boat – but there are no thirsty merrymakers or chugging trains. Indeed, the peace and quiet are interrupted only by the occasional call of the crested hoopoes that haunt the vineyards. And what keeps drawing me back here is its delicious picnic.
The Eco-picnic (€52 for two people; must be ordered 24 hours in advance) is offered for breakfast, lunch and brunch. After wandering along the sandy track from the winery through the vineyards, we take a seat on one of the scrubbed-wooden pallets set with huge mattresses and cushions found in the grateful shade of the parasol pines. Our picnic arrives: a Terra Remota wooden wine box laden with slices of jamón Ibérico, pâté, salami and butifarra blanca, the white Catalan charcuterie sausage, all from the local butcher-cum-deli. I happily tucked into a slab of one of my favourite Catalan artisan cheeses, a succulent semi-cured goat’s cheese called sarró made in the hills above Barcelona. There’s artisan bread, which you can rub with tomatoes and the estate’s olive oil to make your own pa amb tomàquet, and, naturally, a bottle of Terra Remota wine. There’s a choice between Camino, a gutsy red blend of Syrah, Garnacha Tinto and Cabernet Sauvignon that I love when the weather turns cooler, but on a warm late-summer day, the chilled pale-blush Caminito – its fragrant 100 per cent Garnacha Tinto rosé – slips down a treat. All accompanied with vineyard views, total tranquillity and a heavenly aroma of toasted pine needles – this is my kind of wine tourism.