By Carolyn Worthington
A perfect way to end your four-day tour of Catalonia is a visit to Masia Serra winery … gorgeous views, wonderful people, excellent wine …
Masia Serra is a family-owned winery in Cantallops, Alt Empordà, a small village in the foothills of Albera Massif, the mountain range between Spain and France. The views of the vineyards and the old olive and oak trees are extraordinary, like an artist’s palette against the backdrop of the mountains.
This is a place to come not only for wine tasting, but for picnicking among the vines, relaxing after a long bike ride while sipping a glass of their wine, and feeling the passion of the winemakers, Jaume Serra and Silvia Vila.
Their story begins in 1961 when Jaume’s grandfather planted vineyards on the property. Not much was done with the vineyard until 1996 when Jaume and Silvia decided to make a go of wine production, starting with his grandfather’s vineyards. They produced 1,300 bottles.
Today, they produce 45,000 to 50,000 bottles a year: two whites, three reds, and one sweet wine along with a small production of olive oil.
Jaume and Silvia exude passion for life, the winery, and for their guests. In keeping with their welcoming attitude, their life plan includes adding several guest rooms with pools, making it a perfect spot for travelers who want to stay in one place and visit local wineries or just relax in the tranquil setting.
As part of the tour, you will see the wine cellar, including one oak barrel that hasn’t been empty since 1848. A stone patio with an outdoor built-in grill is the perfect setting for lunches and parties. The winery opens its doors for celebrations, weddings, and corporate meetings.
Their wines reflect their passion for life and are aptly named. “Io” is comprised of letters from the Ancient Greek phrase Euoi, a Maenad shout of happiness. “Aroa” is dedicated to their daughter.
“Like our daughter, who is a lovely girl, the wine has character,” Jaume said. “It is elegant and has character.”
There is no doubt that Jaume is passionate about wine making and about his family. In fact, he has a tattoo for each of his children.
“This is our project of life,” Jaume said. “We want to make things slowly and enjoy.”
A visit including lunch is around $50 per person. They ask that you call first.
Masia Serra Winery
Dels Solés, 20
Cantallops, Spain 17708
Visit to Girona
Now that you have tasted wine and sampled local food throughout the region, relaxed in the countryside, or leisurely rode bikes through vineyards, you might spend your last day in Girona, one of the major cities of Catalonia.
Located in the autonomous community of the same name, Girona is quite cosmopolitan and the perfect spot for shopping, sampling local foods in charming but hip restaurants, and for cultural experiences.
Like a Mondrian painting, the colorful buildings on each side of the Onyar River shimmer in the water and provide a romantic backdrop for strolling along the banks and over the bridges.
Girona has a population of over 97,000, is home to the University of Girona, and a popular tourist destination. A number of notable professional American cyclists have made Girona their winter training home thanks to the good climate, food, and atmosphere.
Here’s is a sampling of things to do in Girona:
Stroll along the river that separates the historic center from the commercial side.
Visit the Cathedral in the Romanesque style, built between the 11th and 18th centuries.
See the 12th century Roman baths.
Discover where the Game of Thrones was filmed. Take a Game of Thrones self-guided walking tour.
Go back through 600 years of time in the Jewish Quarter, a maze of narrow streets and old buildings.
Go shopping at the Rambla de la Libertad, the outdoor market area dating back to the 13th century and stretching along the Onyar River. Low ceilings and arches make this market area symbolic of Girona.
The Lioness’ Bottom—Girona, Spain
“No pot ser veí de Girona qui no faci un petó al cul de la lleona,” meaning, “You can’t be a resident of Girona until you’ve kissed the backside of the lioness.”
Head over to Plaça de Sant Fèliu to see people getting really silly as they climb up several steep steps to, yes, kiss the buttocks of a stone lion.
Lore has it that nearby was the Lioness Hostel, which had a lioness climbing a column on a wall. The hostel encouraged people to come by and tap the rear end of the statue. The hostel closed, and the statue was moved to its current location. Apparently, this statue is a copy, with the original one resting in Girona’s Museum of Art.
So, before you leave Girona, do kiss the posterior of the lion to ensure you will definitely be coming back!
To learn more about Girona:
Official website of Girona Tourism