International Cava Day Date in the current year: July 12, 2024

International Cava Day Cava is to Spain what Champagne is to France. Although this sparkling wine might be less renowned than its French counterpart, International Cava Day is celebrated not once, but twice a year: on April 23 and July 12.

Cava is a Spanish sparkling wine that is mainly produced in the Penedès region in Catalonia, although about 5% of cava is produced in other regions such as Aragon, Basque Country, Castile and León, Extremadura, La Rioja, Navarre, and Valencia.

Sparkling wines have been known in Catalonia since at least the mid-19th century, but the type of sparkling wine known as cava was invented by Josep Raventós in 1872. After the vineyards of Penedès were devastated by a phylloxera epidemic, the majority of red wine grapes were replaced by more phylloxera-resistant white grapes. Raventós, who had traveled to France and witnessed the success of the Champagne region, decided to create a Spanish sparkling wine made from local grapes using the same method as Champagne.

Although cava and Champagne both are made using the traditional method, the grape varieties used to make cava are different from those used in the production of Champagne. The grapes permitted in the production of Champagne are Chardonnay, Pinot noir, Pinot Meunier, Arbane, Pinot blanc, Pinot gris, and Pinot Meslier, whereas the three traditional grape varieties used to make cava are Macabeo (Viura), Parellada and Xarel·lo. Less widely used grape varieties permitted in the production of cava are Chardonnay, Garnacha, Malvasia, Monastrell, Pinot noir, and Trepat.

The term “cava” was officially adopted by Spanish winemakers in the 1970s. It derives from a word meaning “cave” or “cellar” (in the early days of cava production, wines were aged in cellars). Cava is a DO wine. DO (denominación de origen) is a Spanish wine classification system similar to the French appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) or Italian denominazione di origine controllata (DOC). The DO designation means that only sparkling wines produced in designated regions from permitted grapes using the traditional method can be labeled as cava.

Cava can be white and rosé. Rosé cava is made using the saignée (limited skin contact) method; blending is not permitted. Like other sparkling wines, cava is produced in varying degrees of sweetness: brut nature (the driest), extra brut, brut, extra seco, seco, semi seco, and dulce (the sweetest).

As we’ve already mentioned, there are two International Cava Days. The first one is celebrated on April 23 to commemorate the day in 1969 when the Ministry of Agriculture of Spain adopted official regulations for sparkling and semi-sparkling wines. The origins of the second date, July 12, are unclear, but it has been promoted by the Regulatory Board of the D.O. Cava. Luckily, there’s no need to choose between the two – you can celebrate on both dates!

There are many great ways to celebrate cava and its uniqueness. You can buy a bottle of cava and share it with a friend, attend a cava tasting or a sparkling wine and food pairing class, plan a trip to Spain that will include a winery tour to see how cava is made, and post about the holiday on social media with the hashtags #InternationalCavaDay and #CavaDay.

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International Cava Day, international observances, wine days, wine-related holidays, cava, Spanish sparkling wine