My name is Èlia Varela and I’m currently a wine writer. I’m originally from Figueres, the capital of the Alt Empordà comarca in northeastern Catalonia. It’s most famous for being the birthplace of painter Salvador Dalí and home to a museum devoted to his work which is the second most visited museum in Spain after the Prado. Empordà is a wonderful region in Catalonia bordering France, with beautiful beaches and mountains. It’s also a wine-producing region that I’ve written about extensively, and is featured in a collection of enotourism guides that I started in 2007 with my partner under the name Vinologue.
Vinologue guides are travel books with a focus on wine, covering all the wineries in a certain region as well as each wine. There’s also general information about each region, the history, the gastronomy, routes, maps and practical information. The first book in the collection was about Dalmatia, the coastal region of Croatia, and the latest one that was just presented this month is about Priorat in Catalonia.
My interest in wine started more than a decade ago when I found myself in a wine festival in the region of Moravia in Czech Republic and hasn’t stopped growing since then. I’ve now visited many, many different wine regions around the world and continue to be fascinated by what we do with the grape and how it offers an insight to the people of a region.
I’ve always loved traveling and have lived in six different countries for a dozen years. While being away from home, wine and gastronomy have helped me keep my ties with Catalonia, as well as traditions such as Sant Jordi. I now live in Barcelona next to the old Born market because as an old Catalan saying goes “roda el món i torna al Born” (travel the world and come back to the Born).
You can read more about my wine adventures in the blog I write with my partner Miquel, Enotourist (http://www.enotourist.net) or follow @Vinologue on Twitter (www.twitter.com/vinologue). My personal Twitter account, where I post much less frequently, is @eliaws (www.twitter.com/eliaws).