Homage to Josep Mata Capellades

‘Since 1924, I’ve been working on matters related to ‘champán’ and experiments’

Josep Mata Capellades, founder of Recaredo.

1924. The beginning of a history driven by passion

In 1924, Josep Mata Capellades started working in the exciting world of quality sparkling wines as an apprentice ‘disgorger’ and stirrer in Sant Sadurní d’Anoia, the village where he was born. 

He left behind the family tradition of making ceramics in the kiln that is now the Recaredo winery and embarked on a new venture that has captivated three generations of the family to this day.

The job of ‘disgorger’ consists of extracting the sediments from the bottle by hand after the ageing time in the cellars. In those days, when all bottles were ‘disgorged’ by hand, good ‘disgorgers’ were in great demand, and Josep Mata Capellades was known for his skill and meticulousness.


Foto | 1947. Josep Mata Capellades ‘disgorging’ without freezing the neck of the bottle.

A detour into the world of football

Josep Mata Capellades soon decided to combine his work as a ‘disgorger’ with his devotion to football and eventually became a player in the state league, first with RCD Espanyol and later with Centre d’Esports Sabadell F.C., with whom he won the Catalan championship (1930–31) and promotion to the National Second Division. 

To successfully combine sport with the job at the cellars, he had to give up his permanent position and established himself as an hourly disgorger, working for numerous wineries in the Penedès. Thanks to the contacts of friends and acquaintances in the world of football, he began to get his first orders for what were known as ‘xampanyes de cava’.


Foto | Sabadell F.C. team, runners-up in Catalonia for the 1930-31 season.

A charismatic personality

The Spanish Civil War brought everything to a standstill, including Josep’s dedication to wine and his enthusiasm for football. Hard times of broken dreams lay ahead. It was not until the end of the war that he was able to take up his pick and spade and start building the cellars under the family home in the historic centre of Sant Sadurní d’Anoia. 

This marked the beginning of an exciting story of entrepreneurship, forged through hard work and great charisma, that would make Josep Mata a trailblazer in the nascent sparkling wine industry.


Foto | Josep Mata Capellades in May 1966. 

Recaredo, the word-of-mouth brand

Josep Mata Capellades decided to call the business RECAREDO, which was the nickname of his father Lleó Mata Figueras, born in 1878 into a family of ceramic craftsmen. The Recaredo brand soon became well known thanks to word-of-mouth and work done well, with humility and rigour. 

A sign on the door of the winery proclaimed: “You can visit the winery every day, including Sundays and holidays”. And so a stream of loyal customers and friends started to support the brand by buying the famous Reservadísimo, Recaredo Extra, Reserva Particular, Cava Reservada, and other wines, which at that point could only be bought directly from the winery.


Foto | Late 1970s. Josep Mata Capellades at the entrance of Recaredo with an international visitors. 

Can Credo: a family working in concert

With the close involvement of the founder’s sons, Josep and Antoni Mata Casanovas, the Recaredo winery, known as Can Credo, gradually specialised in making terroir sparkling wines, with the vineyard as the key element and the determination to produce sparkling wines capable of expressing the uniqueness of the landscapes of the Penedès. 

Our father was keenly aware of the importance of caring for and cultivating the vineyard in order to obtain quality cavas. We came from a family of potters and ceramists, and we started making our sparkling wines with grapes from the Marçaneta and Rabassa vineyards, which belonged to our maternal grandparents. We still remember how we used to tread the grapes when we were little!  As we came to see the close link between the cultivation of the vineyard and the making of the long-aged Brut Nature wines that we loved, we were encouraged and worked hard to find the most unique plots of land in the Penedès region to make our sparkling wines.”

Josep and Antoni Mata Casanovas. Statements made in April 2018.


Foto | 1978. Portrait of Josep and Antoni Mata Casanovas with his father.

The revolution of ideas

From the 60s onwards Josep and Antoni Mata Casanovas, from the second generation of the family, continued to strengthen Recaredo’s reputation as a byword for rigour, quality, and passion for excellence

They presented daring ideas for the time, such as exploring long ageing on the bottle. As a result of their respect and admiration for terroir wines, they steered the winery towards crafting sparkling wines capable of speaking about unique plots and singular estates

In the 1990s members of the third generation began to work in the cellars, setting in motion an enriching process in which the experience and know-how of the older generation were complemented by the younger team members’ new ideas and drive to move forward and learn.


Foto 1 | 1980s. Antoni Mata Casanovas in the vineyards of Recaredo.

Foto 2 | 1990s. Josep Mata Casanovas in the cellar during the harvest.

An homage to Paquita Casanovas Via

The history of Recaredo would not be complete without a mention of Paquita Casanovas Via, the wife of Josep Mata Capellades, who played a key role in the development of the family winery. A woman of extraordinary strength and dedication, she worked tirelessly, carrying out tasks such as bottling and labelling, cleaning bottles, tasting and deciding on new wines, and managing orders – jobs that were often invisible or reserved for men.

This homage to mark Recaredo’s centenary is also a tribute to her immense contribution. 

Foto | 1956. Paquita Casanovas Via, with the family, during the ‘disgorgement’ process, capping bottles and placing muzzles in the Recaredo cellars.