Sunday, 15 February 2009

ENG: The Penedesfera and a Lot of Good Wine

Yesterday, Saturday February 14, we were about fifteen bloggers who met in the beautiful L’Hostal del Castell de Gimenelles, not far from where the Alt Penedès borders with Baix Penedès and Garraf, respectively. These three comarques, together with parts of Anoia, make up what historically and culturally is known as the Penedès region, which is why our blogger community is called the Penedesfera.

The agenda for the day was to outline the content of the coming jornades de la Penedesfera, a formal and physical blogger meeting, similar to the one which we held in Gelida in June 2008. After a vivid discussion I believe that we agreed that there would be four distinctive blocs in the program:

• a general point on how blogging interacts with twitter, MySpace and social networks like Facebook.
• a presentation by wine cellars who are in the forefront of Internet based marketing
• young, local music groups who use MySpace etc to spread their songs
• a round table discussion between free, digital news services

The consensus of the meeting was to keep the format as open as possible – to discuss global phenomena with examples from the Penedès, rathen than to have a regional focus. I will, of course, accept this majority decision, but would have preferred for the Penedefera to play a more active role in reinforcing the concept of the Penedès. If we do not do this, who does?

Today this region is made up by one comarca – l’Alt Penedès – where a united "Gran Penedès" region is considered the most natural thing in the world, and at least two – the Baix Penedès and Garraf – where the majority of people simply could not care less.

I cannot help seeing it as typical that I – a foreigner – was the only blogger from Vilanova i la Geltrú took part in the Penedesfera meeting while, almost simultaneously but in the Diari de Vilanova, our young, local political commentator Nacho Corredor, questioned any project which connects our town “with the countryside rather than with the city (i.e. Barcelona)”

For young vilanovins it is natural to turn the back on the Penedès and see Barcelona as the stepping stone into the big world. For me it is the other way around; I come from the outside and thanks to the popular culture of this region do I today have much stronger roots in Catalonia than anyone of my expat friends in Barcelona. However, the Penedès which I have learnt to love – the hilly landscape which meets the sea, the world’s best castellers, falcons and xató and the vineyards – will continue to exist whether or not it formally becomes united in an administrative unit (vegueria). Maybe I should care less and just lean back and observe - preferably with a glass of chilled cava in my hand.

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A big hand to Josep Guillén Viñas who organized yesterday’s meeting and to the wineries Cava Berdié, Jané Ventura and Mil∙lari for the rich sampling of their produce. By the way, I did not want to be less generous, so I did my best to hand out RFSU condoms labeled in Catalan.

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Here are the Penedesfera blogs which were represented yesterday: Daniel García Peris - bloc, El bloc d’Enric Giner, GuillemCarol.CAT, Lo meu raconeT,, Per poder compartir visions, Pilarvi, Sergi Sabaté,, Vegueria Prò, Viniesfera and Wirdheim in Vilanova, of course.

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Technorati tags: Barcelona, Expat, Garraf, Penedès, Penedesfera, Vilanova, Wirdheim


Daniel García Peris said...

Erik, tens raó que cal una millor defensa de la reivindicació de la Vegueria Penedès sobretot, i això no estic d'acord amb tu, perquè aquesta unitat administrativa és l'única que poc frenar la transformació del paisatge i la cultura tradicional del Penedès a favor de la regió metropolitana industrial i uniformitzada.

Erik Wirdheim said...


Gràcies per comentar aquesta entrada - la vegueria pròpia és un tema que tots penedesencs hauriem de parlar molt més.

Personalment sóc ambivalent. Em sentiria incomode en una situació on jo - un 'nou català' - defensés una vegueria basada en l'historia i la cultura d'aquí, si els penedesencs 'de sempre' no la volen.

A més no penso que una o altra unitat administrativa pot canviar radicalment el contingut de la política. Quines prioritats posaria a la vegueria els més de 50% dels vilanovins que van votar PSC a les últimes eleccions estatals si podrien dominar-la - creació de treball o preservació del paisatge cultural?

Dubto si volem ser una vegueria pròpia, però al mateix temps estic convençut que podem ser una i emocionalment m'agrada molt el projecte.