Freixenet was started after the union of two Spanish families with a lengthy history in winemaking: the Ferrers, owners of La Freixeneda, a 12th-century farming estate in Sant Quintí de Mediona in the Alt Penedès, and the Salas, winemakers since 1830 and the founders of Casa Sala, a wine exporter to Latin America, in Sant Sadurní d’Anoia.
Towards the end of the 19th century, Dolores Sala Vivé, the granddaughter of the founder of Casa Sala, married Pedro Ferrer Bosch of La Freixeneda. This era saw the gradual loss of Spain’s colonies and grape production diminishing due to the phylloxera plague that had destroyed red grape vines across Europe. Inspired by the success of Champagne, Codorníu and others encouraged vineyard owners to replant with white grape varieties like Macabeu, Parellada and Xarel·lo to use for sparkling wine production. These grapes are still the primary grapes of Cava today though some producers are experimenting with the use of other wine grapes of Chardonnay and Pinot noir.
As a result, the newlyweds joined forces with Dolores’ father to switch the focus of the Sala family business to sparkling wines made under the traditional method. The name comes from La Freixenada – a family wine producing estate located in the Alt Penedès region since the 13th Century.