Quality Control

Inspections and monitoring throughout the entire CAVA production process

Cava is subject to quality checks and inspections carried out by the Regulatory Council technical services at different times throughout its production.

These controls start in the vineyard, where a rigorous inspection of the registers of plots entitled to produce grapes for Cava is carried out. Further additional measures include monitoring yields, overseeing quality, and analysing the final destination of the grapes. These inspections continue during the entire process of making Cava, finishing with the evaluation of labelling, before the customer enjoys their wonderful glass of quality sparkling wine.

Vendimia cava

Harvest

Vendimia cava

During the harvest, the grapes must be collected in boxes, containers or trailers with a maximum capacity of 10,000 kilos, according to the rules set out by the D. O., or Denominacion de Origen (Designation of Origin).

For Cava de Guarda, production must not exceed 10,000 kilos per hectare for both white and red grape varieties; in the case of production intended for Cavas de Guarda Superior, the maximum allowed per hectare is usually 10,000 kilos; and for Cavas de Guarda Superior Paraje Calificado, this figure is reduced to 8,000 kilos per hectare.

Production

como se hace el cava

The wineries inscribed in the D.O. Cava must meet certain technical conditions and specifications in order to obtain the right to make both base wines and Cava itself.

In addition, quality controls are carried out, by means of analytical and organoleptic tests, to determine the suitability of the base wines. During this process inspections are made periodically, stock declarations are checked, and movements of base wine between makers are strictly monitored .

All Cavas must be made following the traditional method, using only grape varieties authorised by the Cava Regulatory Council.

The yield from the pressing of each kilo of grapes to make Cava must not exceed 0.66 litres. In other words, this constitutes only the initial fractions of the pressing, with a maximum yield of one hectolitre (100 kilos) of wine per 150 kilos of grapes.

Base wines can be white or rosé, and must always fulfil certain characteristics, such as 9.5% alcohol by volume (ABV) minimum and 11.5% ABV maximum. The other elements that must be carefully controlled, as well as the alcohol by volume, are values of total acidity, volatile acidity, gluconic acid, pH and sulphur dioxide.

como se hace el cava

Licor de tiraje Tirage liqueur

The tirage caps must show the date and year of when the licor de tiraje was added. This is to guarantee the minimum aging period required by the Statement of Requirements of the D. O. Cava.

In terms of the levels of sugar added by means of licor de tiraje, the Statement of Requirements says that this cannot increase the base wine’s alcohol content by more than 1.5% alcohol by volume (ABV).

Aging

Crianza cava

All Cava labels must have been previously communicated to the Regulatory Council, and must meet the requirements according to current legislation.

The entire advanced system of control is complemented by a quality check of the finished product, as well as the authorisation to use the designation Cava, and also the terms Reserva (15 months aging) and Gran Reserva (30 months aging). However, Cava de Guarda must be aged for at least 9 months.

Crianza cava
Types of Cava

Licor de expedición - expedition liqueur

With regards to the amount of sugar added by means of the licor de expedición (dosage), the following classification of types of Cava is used:

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0-3 G/L
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0-6 G/L
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Max.12 G/L
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12-17 G/L
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17-32 G/L
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32-50 G/L
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+50 G/L
Cava

Quality control labelling

Cava

All the marchamos (labels) used for bottles of Cava, in terms of references to the aging periods mentioned above, represent the seal that guarantees the origin and quality of the wine.

The characteristics of Cavas depend on the different blends of grape varieties, added ingredients, and also the different aging periods.

In order to carry the label Gran Reserva, Cava must undergo special quality controls, which include organoleptic and analytical tests, among others.

The qualification Gran Reserva can only be used on Brut Nature, Extra Brut and Brut types of Cava, which must be aged for at least 30 months; furthermore, all the aging must have taken place in the same winery.

The label must show the qualification Gran Reserva and the year of harvest. Cava is the only sparkling wine that can show this distinction.

Cava de Paraje Calificado

Cava viñedo

This new category of Cava was established in 2017 with the aim of grouping together Cavas produced in a paraje calificado, defined as a “small area, especially recognised as extraordinary and unique for its soil and climate conditions”.

Cavas of Paraje Calificado must come from vineyards that are at least 10 years old, where the grapes are always harvested manually.

Moreover, these Cavas have to be made on the winery premises; in other words, the musts are produced only from vines belonging to the bodega itself. During the winemaking process, the maximum yield by hectare is 48 hectolitres.

In terms of aging, Cavas de Paraje Calificado are subject to the longest obligatory aging time, 36 months minimum. These Cavas are always the same three types: Brut Nature, Extra Brut or Brut, and from the same vintage, and are also characterised by complete traceability, from the vineyards through to market.

In summary, as only Cavas made from wines of paraje calificado, which must fulfill the demanding quality criteria for production, can carry this label, they are considered Cavas of recognised excellence and prestige.

Cava viñedo