Even during Roman times wine was produced in the central part of the province of Tarragona, taking advantage of the mild Mediterranean climate in the area and its chalky and light soil.
The Tarragona Designation of Origin groups together 73 towns from two areas in the province: El Camp de Tarragona, which includes the districts of El Alt Camp, El Baix Camp and El Tarragonès, and La Ribera d'Ebre.
During the 19th century the wines from this area were already widely accepted. In fact, the wine Tarragona Clásico was greatly sought after by the English aristocracy. In 1932, the wines made in this area obtained a protection status, and in 1976 the Regulatory Council and the Designation of Origin were created.
Currently most of its production stems from white grapes, and sweet and fruity wines are typical. In general, its wines have a moderate alcohol content with very low acidity.
To makes the white wines, which are the ones which predominate, the grape varieties macabeu, parellada and xarello are used. This results in very mild wines with a bright colour.
The reds are powerful and aromatic, and are made, above all, from the cariñena and garnacha grape varieties. Fresh rosés are also made with a cheery-like colour, as well as different varieties of liqueur wines which are particularly popular such as mistela, moscatel, vimblanc or mature wine.
Reus is home to the Oenological Station. This modernist building was built between 1906 and 1910 as a wine-growing research centre, and continues with this activity today. It acts as the headquarters of INCAVI, the Institut Català de la Vinya i el Vi.
In this area it is possible to visit the Nulles Farming Cooperative, a modernist wine cellar and the work of Cèsar Martinell. Furthermore, in the Vinya Janine wine cellar, in Rodonyà, visits to the vineyards by horse cart and by horseback are offered as well as wine tasting courses and wine tastings. Visits and tastings are also carried out in the wine cellar owned by the Vila-rodona Framing Cooperative.
A good way of enjoying the wines of this Designation of Origin, and their pairing with typical dishes, is to attend one of the luncheons served in the TastaTardor, the gastronomic sampling of El Baix Camp which is held from mid-November to mid-December.