Freixenet: A Cava Emporium
The centenarian company established by Dolores Sala and her husband Pedro Ferrer Bosch in 1914 still has its cellars at Sant Sadurní, ‘the Cava capital’. Today, Freixenet stands among the twenty largest groups in the sector worldwide. The company produces around €500 million in annual revenue, elaborates 100 million bottles of cava (65 percent of its total production) and almost 80 percent of those goes out for export, on a total of 154 million bottles exported by Spain’s entire cava sector
In 1861, Casa Sala, the origin, was already exporting wines from their base in Sant Sadurní d’Anoia, in the heart of the Catalan Alt Penedes. A few decades later they adopted the traditional French method for making champagne, leading to the establishment of their cava business in 1914.
In 1935 the company opened its first delegation in the United States, though their international expansion was hindered by the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) and later by World War II (1939-1945). Despite the obstacles, 1941 saw the launch of the company’s flagship wine, Carta Nevada. By the 1970s, Freixenet was a consolidated brand in Spain with a clear international vocation embodied by their Cordón Negro, their star export product.
The strategy initially designed by Josep Ferrer, the founder’s son and current honorary President of the group, was to strive for quality based on tradition. This approach has been built upon by current CEO Josep Luis Bonet with a rationale of permanent innovation and expansion.
One of Spain’s ten best-known brands in the world
The Freixenet Group has a presence in 140 countries, with branches in Germany, the US (Sonoma and New York), UK, Japan, Canada, Australia, France, Mexico, Russia, Italy, Portugal, Argentina, Poland, Sweden and Switzerland. In addition to Freixent itself, the group holds another 17 companies making both sparkling and still wines: Segura Viudas, René Barbier, Castellblanch, Conde de Caralt, Canals & Nubiola, Morlanda, Fra Guerau, Solar Viejo, Valdubón, Vionta, Fray Germán, Gloria Ferrer (California), Katnook de Wingara (Australia), Viento Sur (Argentina), Sala Vivé (Mexico), Yvon Mau and Henri Abelé (France). In total, they cover 15 great winemaking regions (in Spain Cava, Rioja, Penedés, Rías Baixas, Montsant, Priorat, and Ribera del Duero) in eight countries and three continents.
Freixenet’s major export market is Germany, where they boast an 11 percent market share and yearly sales of over 40 million bottles. In the UK, Freixenet is the only Spanish company with a product (Carta Nevada) among the 25 bestsellers in British supermarkets. With an 18 percent market share in sparkling wines, they are only outsold by Möet & Chandon. In the US, the Freixenet Group, after opting against buying further wineries, is currently engaged in an expansion plan.
In Spain, one of the key dates on the calendar in the run-up to Christmas is the first broadcast of the Freixenet TV advert. A tradition established in 1978, which has been graced through the years by celebrities such as Demi Moore, Pierce Brosnan, Penélope Cruz, Lorin Maazel, Montserrat Caballé, Alejandro Sanz, Meg Ryan, Anthony Quinn, Andie MacDowell, Kim Basinger, Sharon Stone, Antonio Banderas, Paul Newman, Josep Carreras, Plácido Domingo, Shirley McLaine, or Gene Kelly.
In 1861, Casa Sala, the origin, was already exporting wines from their base in Sant Sadurní d’Anoia, in the heart of the Catalan Alt Penedes. A few decades later they adopted the traditional French method for making champagne, leading to the establishment of their cava business in 1914