Expat Life: From Burgundy to Barcelona, International Winery Business and Mediterranean Lifestyle

guadalajara 1

Barcelona, with its vibrant lifestyle, stunning location, and rich cultural tapestry, has long been a magnet for international professionals and digital nomads seeking a vibrant urban haven.

Among those drawn to the Catalan capital was Olga Verchenko, my good acquaintance, a wine professional and entrepreneur who found her calling in the world of fine wines.

Born in Donetsk, Ukraine, Olga spent her childhood in Mariupol before moving to Kyiv to pursue higher education. In 2011, after working for several years in an international company, she felt that she wanted more from life and decided to shift gears, pursuing her passion for wine by applying to the Burgundy School of Business in France, and then to an internship in a Champagne House, where Olga became a connoisseur of bubbles.

WhatsApp 2024 01 03 в 01.23.46 9ed323a5

This pivotal decision opened doors to her passion for the world of wine, leading her to establish ViniComm in 2013, a venture that provides sales and communication support for select wineries in international markets.

Olga’s story unfolds as a tale of personal and professional growth, culminating in her decision to settle in Barcelona, Spain, where she has resided for over a decade alongside her husband Dan, an IT professional from Brazil. They crossed paths at an international wine exhibition in Italy while Dan was living in Germany.

In her reflections, Olga shared with me valuable insights and advice based on her firsthand experiences. Barcelona, undergoing rapid transformation due to an influx of expats, digital nomads, refugees, and tourists, presents both positive and challenging aspects of local life for those considering a move.

“I arrived in Barcelona in 2013, long before it became one of the most popular expat destinations,” Olga recalls. “We came here by chance, and I had no idea I would end up staying for so long. I discovered the city and fell in love with it.”

pexels olena goldman 998735 1

Barcelona’s allure for Olga lies in its harmonious blend of urban vibrancy and proximity to nature’s wonders.

“What captivates me most about Barcelona is its perfect blend of location and size. Within a two-hour drive, you can be skiing in the mountains, while the stunning beaches of Costa Brava are just a 30-minute train or car ride away. The surrounding forests and rivers of Catalunya offer a haven for nature lovers and hikers. Even in winter, the city beaches remain vibrant, attracting local surfers. The international airport close to the city was also one of the decisive factors for us as we love and need traveling. The number of destinations from Barcelona is growing every year and it is the number 2 biggest airport in Spain after Madrid.”

Olga noted that the city is also big enough to offer endless opportunities for exploration and cultural immersion, yet not so overwhelming that you feel lost.

“I’ve still been discovering new gems after all these years, says Olga.

Barcelona’s gastronomic scene is another major draw for Olga. The city boasts a Michelin-starred restaurant scene, a testament to its culinary prowess. Also, it is crucial to Olga’s wine business, as she offers educational presentations and wine tastings to groups and individuals.

WhatsApp 2024 01 03 в 01.23.46 590d4e70

“The pandemic changed this scene noticeably: many places closed. But I would say even better places were open instead.”

Olga’s perspective on Barcelona’s expat community is one of appreciation.

“The city’s cosmopolitan nature has always been strong, but it’s even more diverse now,” she notes. “The expat community has grown a lot in recent years due to the influx of US and Eastern European citizens in the city over the past few years. The amount of qualitative services offered (like in the beauty industry, for instance), grew dramatically. Overall, different international communities have thrived and grown recently thanks to expats. One of them, for example, is Ukrainian girls of Barcelona who meet, network, and do activities together.”

Olga has also witnessed firsthand the challenges faced by newcomers to Barcelona. Housing costs, language barriers, and the competitive job market can pose obstacles for those seeking to establish themselves in the city.

“High demand among expats drives the prices for apartment rent quite high, so for locals, it becomes quite challenging to rent their apartment and not share an apartment with friends. Also, the ever-growing number of tourists makes the city dirtier than it should be in high season from May to October.”

Olga also mentioned that the significance of the district you live in has increased as a huge number of tourists naturally attract pickpockets. This is a real problem in Barcelona: in some areas, one has to be always on his toes. To be safe and far from all-night party noise, you need to carefully choose the area you plan to live. Notably, Olga suggests steering clear of Raval and the old city center, if you want to settle up here for a longer calmer time.

Olga’s story is an inspiring example of how Barcelona can be a perfect destination for international professionals and digital nomads who seek a balance between work and life, culture and nature, diversity, and community. Olga has found her home in this city, where she can pursue her passion for wine production, and enjoy the Mediterranean lifestyle while being an independent entrepreneur, working remotely, and at the same time connecting with people from different backgrounds and walks of life. She believes that the benefits outweigh the negatives and that Barcelona is a city that offers something for everyone.

pexels berk ozdemir 3779165

If you are considering moving to Barcelona, or just curious about what it is like to live there, I hope that Olga’s story has given you some insights and tips to help you make the best decision for yourself. Barcelona is a city that never ceases to surprise and delight, and I am sure that you will find your own reasons to love it as much as Olga does.

If you enjoyed reading Olga’s story and want to discover more stories of expats who have found their new homes in other countries, you can subscribe to my newsletter by clicking here.

You will receive weekly updates on the latest news, events, tips, and insights about living an international lifestyle. Subscribe now and join the community!



Hi, I am Emily Bron.

After living and working in 4 countries (3 continents), experiencing several immigrations, changing several professional fields and being an avid traveler, I created International Lifestyle Consulting to help you to find the best matching place and to relocate abroad for a better quality of life, work, or retirement.

As a professional Baby Boomer and Remote worker, I am relocating again!

Follow Emily on SM

Most Popular Posts

Get The Latest Updates

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

No spam, notifications only about new products, updates.
On Key

Related Posts

Please fill the form

Fill in your details and download the E-Book “Your Action Plan to Retire”