Vilafranca del Penedès sits in one of Spain’s most famous wine-producing regions. The terrain now part of the Penedès Denominación de Origen (DO) has been used for viticulture for over two thousand years.
The annual Vijazz festival, now in its ninth edition, is a chance to discover some of the region’s most innovative wineries. Nearly fifty stalls line Vilafranca’s lovely Rambla de Nostra Senyora, with booths at either end selling drink tickets (your initial purchase of €10 gets you a Riedel wine glass and three tickets). There are also popular wine pairing (€10) and showcooking sessions (€20) – be sure to get your tickets online or in advance. This year there’s a new gastronomic area with locally produced artisanal products as well as tapas and other dishes.
As its name implies, Vijazz celebrates wine and music in equal measure. Previous editions have seen them welcome the likes of Maceo Parker, Paquito d’Rivera and Chick Corea. This year’s headliner is Philadelphia electric bassist Stanley Clarke, winner of four Grammy awards, who leads a jazz trio at the inaugural concert on Friday at 10:30pm. Don’t miss Minnesota jazz trio The Bad Plus playing in collaboration with California saxophonist Joshua Redman on Saturday at 11pm. These and most of the other concerts are free and take place on open air stages.
Vilafranca is only an hour away by car, bus or Rodalies R4 train. If you’re staying for a few days, check out the tours and places to visit offered as part of the Enoturisme program. It’s all one of the best ways to discover one of the country’s true cultural treasures.