Conference Preview: Not all Cavas are Created Equal


Today we have a Conference Preview on a session to be presented by Tracey Ellen Kamens. Tracey’s  session is entitled Not all Cavas are Created Equal. 

The last time the Society of Wine Educators held its annual conference in Washington, D.C., I took my cue from the conference theme of “Red, White & Bubbles” and championed the sparkling wines of the “good ole USA.” I’m still a big fan of sparklers, but this time, I will turn my attention to Cava!

While Cava and Champagne are both Traditional Method sparklers that begin with the letter “C,” that’s generally where the comparison ends. We tend to think of Champagne as a high quality wine, while Cava might be cheap and cheerful, but that’s about it.

For a long time, I, too, never thought particularly highly of Cava. But, more recently, I had the opportunity to visit Catalonia, and, once there, was pleasantly surprised by the care and concern that went into the production of these sparkling wines at several of the producers we visited.


Moreover, Champagne and Cava have a lot more in common than meets the eye, at least when looking at production by the numbers—as shown in the accompanying graphic.

The more I tasted the wines at places like Augusti Torello Mata, Juve Y Camps and Recaredo, I began to realize that high quality Cava is not an oxymoron. In fact, in some cases, dare I say it– the terms “Cava” and “luxury” might actually exist side by side.

After further exploration, I learned that these producers are breaking the rules, or rather, they are exceeding them by leaps and bounds, with lowered yields, longer aging and many other commitments to quality grape growing and winemaking.

Admittedly, not all Cavas are well made–with the oceans of Cava washing up on U.S. shores each year, there is still a lot of so-so Cava out there. But, if we are honest–just as there are better-made Champagnes and better-made Proseccos (particularly Prosecco Superiore)–it’s hard to paint all Cavas with a single bad brush.

Still not convinced? Of course, the proof is in the tasting. Come join me for my presentation at this year’s SWE conference (Friday, August 12 at 10:30 AM) to taste for yourself, where the line-up will include wines from:

  • Alta Alella
  • Augusti Torello Mata
  • Can Recaredo
  • Casa Sala
  • Gramona
  • Juve Y Camps
  • Pares Balta
  • Perelada
  • Vins El Cep

Tracy Ellen Kamens is a wine educator, writer and consultant who combines her passion for teaching with her love of wine. In addition to serving as president of Wine TEKnologies, Tracy currently serves as a Wine Expert for Wine Ring, Inc, a consumer-oriented app. She is an Ambassador for both the Napa Valley Vintners and the Crus Bourgeois du Médoc and is a frequent presenter at international wine conferences. Tracy has written for various publications including Palate Press magazine and The SOMM Journal and was a Fellowship Recipient for the Professional Wine Writers’ Symposium. She holds a doctorate of education from the University of Pennsylvania, the Certified Wine Educator credential from the Society of Wine Educators and the Wine & Spirits Education Trust’s Diploma of Wine & Spirits.

Tracey’s session—Not all Cavas are Created Equal—will be held on Friday, August 12, 2016 at 10:30 am pm as part of SWE’s 40th Annual Conference, to be held in Washington, DC.


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