One of the 17 regions (Cataluña in Spanish, Catalunya in Catalan) in north-eastern Spain with the four provinces of Barcelona, Gerona, Lérida and Tarragona. It lies on the north-western edge of the Mediterranean Sea and covers 32,000 km². The area has had an extremely chequered history, with the Greeks arriving in the 6th century BC, then the Carthaginians and finally the Romans in 200 BC. The wines from today's DO area Alella were already drunk by the Roman Caesars. The capital Barcelona was already an important trading port in ancient times. In the 6th century AD, the Alans and Visigoths arrived, from whom the name derives (Gotalonia = Gothic land). Then in the 8th century the Moors conquered the area. They were driven out by Emperor Charlemagne (742-814), who incorporated the area into his empire.
At the end of the 9th century, the Spanish Marche of the Frankish Empire gained de facto independence under the Counts of Barcelona. In the 12th century, Aragon and Catalonia were united to form a separate kingdom of Aragon (today the adjoining region to the west). Eventually, independence was lost, and in 1479 the kingdom was merged with Castile (regions of Castile-La Mancha and Castile-Léon) to form the Spanish Empire as a whole. Until the 20th century, however, Catalonia tried again and again unsuccessfully to impose a special government. Catalonia is officially bilingual; Catalan is also spoken in the French Roussillon and on the Balearic Islands.
The triumph of cava began here in the 1870s, when Josép Raventós produced the first Spanish sparkling wine in Penedès using the champagne method and laid the foundation for the Codorníu winery. The Torres and Celler Perelada wineries set further standards. It was these three in particular who established Spain's modern viticulture. Until the 1950s, the traditional Catalan wines were rancios, fortifiedsweet wines and, of course, cava. Catalonia also plays an important role in cork production. The climate is strongly influenced by the nearby Mediterranean, the coastal strip is temperate with abundant rainfall, inland it is hotter and drier.