The Catalan wine scene is experiencing exciting changes and advancements thanks to the efforts of the Catalan Institute of Vine and Wine (INCAVI). Recently, this institute has achieved a significant milestone: the incorporation of two new traditional grape varieties into the Catalan Wine Potential. This news has come to fruition through comprehensive studies conducted by INCAVI in collaboration with the regulatory councils of Empordà and Priorat, as well as wineries and viticulturists. As a result of this collaboration, the Gray Carignan variety (also known as “Carinyena gris”) and Verdiell (or “Verdil“) have been officially included in the list of authorized varieties in Catalonia.
This pivotal step not only allows the coexistence of these new varieties in Catalonia but also opens the doors to the Designations of Origin interested in incorporating these varieties into their own catalogs. The approval of this inclusion is the result of INCAVI’s diligence, which has submitted a request to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food, which has been processed through the Agricultural Organization Service (SOA) of the Department of Climate Action, Food, and Rural Agenda (DACC).
With this recent addition, Catalonia can now boast an impressive array of 61 authorized grape varieties, each with its own unique characteristics and vinicultural potential. From classics like Airén and Albarinyo to more exotic options like Verdiell and Xarel·lo rosado, this rich varietal heritage highlights the diversity and richness of Catalan wines.
Looking towards the future, INCAVI has outlined a strategic plan with the goal of preserving and highlighting Catalonia’s native vine varieties. The #HoritzóINCAVI2025 project, which is part of this strategy, focuses on the identification, preservation, and active promotion of the country’s native varieties. This initiative aims not only to competitively differentiate Catalan wines but also to contribute to the valorization of the region’s wine productions.
This commendable task has been made possible through diligent research carried out by experts and the use of the innovative tool INCAVILAB, which provides deep insights into climate change adaptation and the vinification of different varieties. This understanding enables the successful addressing of the most relevant challenges in the sector: new markets, consumption patterns, and comprehensive sustainability.
Alba Balcells, the General Director of INCAVI, emphasizes the importance of this work in the current context. Through the capitalization of recovered heritage varieties in Catalonia, the uniqueness of Catalan wines is being strengthened on the global stage.
Over the past decade, we have witnessed the adoption of 16 new varieties in the Catalan Wine Potential, showcasing a consistent commitment to innovation and excellence.
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Sommelier, Marketing i Comunicació Vinyes d’Olivardots