Just outside of Barcelona in the rural sun-soaked Catalonian countryside is Torres Winery, Pacs del Penedès.
Here you can enjoy an immersive tour of the world's most admired wine brand (Drinks International magazine) by a family company who've been wine producing since 1870.
Debarking the Norwegian Epic in Barcelona (tour and review to follow), I enjoyed my shore excursion here with a new company TripAshore, organised by Cruise Nation (http://www.cruisenation.com/).
As a team of ten, the company's tour debut was sure to be a relaxed and personal experience... and this was not just by luck - TripAshore soon mentioned how every excursion of theirs will be in small and intimate groups.
After insight to the local history on route, we were shown inside to watch a short film about Bodegas Torres wine to whet our appetites.
We boarded a land train for a tour of the vineyards on our way to the wine cellars. The vineyards are closely monitored using traditional techniques (no weedkillers or insecticides).
Ecological design by Barcelona architect Javier Barba.
The buildings around here are very modern and artistic, the sand roofs reflecting the heat away from the cooling wine below.
One thing I was particularly struck by was the emphasis on ecology - the Torres family (currently managed by Miguel A. Torres) aim to reduce CO2 emissions per bottle by 30% by 2020 compared to 2008.
The eight wines (including two Salmos) carefully selected for the tasting.
The experience was a learning curve for me as I'm no wine connoisseur. Based on past experiences, I found this wine very easy to drink.
Throughout the process the Torres host gave plenty of insight and facts about the wine - for example if you're a seafood lover, the sweet and mild acidity of the Pazo das Bruxas was recommended.
In all we tried four white and four red wines, including two samples of Torres Salmos.
Interestingly, around 1% of wine corks can be effected by a fungus that alters the taste of the wine (known as 'cork taint'). This happened to one of the Salmos bottles and we were able to identify the difference through smell and taste.
We walked through part one of the tunnels... in total they stretch over two kilometres!
If you're a novice like me, rest assured I found it very accessible, easy to understand and discovered new appreciation for the beverage.
If you're interested in taking an excursion with the company, TripAshore also mentioned that they are all inclusive - you don't pay for special extras or highlights, everything is taken care of. Visit TripAshore.com for more information.
This was an expenses paid trip with Cruise Nation and TripAshore. All opinions are my own.
Be sure to follow me via email or bloglovin' for more of my Norwegian Cruise experience.
Click here for my chef's table menu experience in Park Plaza Cardiff - including six courses and four glasses of wine.