Freixenet family history goes back to 1861, when Francesc Sala Ferrés started a business making and exporting wine to America. His original winery is still here today, lovingly restored by the current family, and it still makes small quantities of Cava – handmade in the original way.
From the strong roots set down by Francesc Sala Ferrés, the story blossoms in 1911 with the marriage of Pedro Ferrer and Dolores Sala Vivé, heiress to the Sala wine emporium. What a couple! Dolores’s in-depth knowledge of winemaking, combined with Pedro’s vision and entrepreneurship, created the foundations of today’s company. It was these two who made the bold decision to turn from still winemaking to the complexity of producing Traditional Method Cava.
What would they call this sparkling Cava? The young couple chose a name very close to home. Pedro grew up in a vineyard called La Freixeneda or ‘Ash tree grove’ in Catalan and, as a result, he was nicknamed ‘el Freixenet’. Little did they know this nickname would just a century later be known all over the world.
The couple took a first bold step to bringing our Cava to the world when they opened an office in New Jersey in the 1930s. After all, as Pedro and Dolores said, celebration is something people do all over the world and Cava should be part of it: a truly remarkable vision for that era.
Dolores retired in 1957, passing on the responsibility of steering the company to her son, Josep Ferrer. He had a passion for making Freixenet taste even better and made a number of breakthroughs that improved the quality of our sparkling wine. They were the first company in Spain to press grapes pneumatically, the first to use refrigerated tanks to control fermentation and one of the leaders in developing our own yeast.
Thanks to the hard work of Josep Ferrer, his sons and his nephews, by the 1980s a dream had come true – Freixenet was the world leader in sparkling wines made using the Traditional Method.
Home here in the Penedès, southwest of Barcelona, is known as Cava country. It is a landscape of rolling hills, protected from easterly winds by the Garraf Massif and from cold northern breezes by the craggy Montserrat Mountain. They feel that they are blessed by nature with rich red soil and long hours of sunshine.
This is a perfect place to make sparkling wine. But not just any Spanish wine: this is Cava. A protected description for a wine, which must meet the most stringent of regulations if it is to be so named. These include using only specific grapes and what is called the ‘Traditional Method’, whereby the wine goes through a second fermentation in the bottle. Each year the grapes, and those of 2000 growing partners, are brought to our winery, here in Sant Sadurni, where this magical transformation into Cava takes place.