Spain is a renowned wine-producing country, with a rich viticultural history dating back to the Phoenicians. Although it is probably the red wines from Rioja, the sherries from Jerez and the more recently internationally discovered wines from Ribera del Duero that are recognised as quality wines, nearly every region of Spain has its own vineyards, some of them producing wines of a surprisingly high calibre, and given the Spanish affection for their wine, it is of no great surprise to find that many of the festivals scattered around the country come under the denomination of Fiestas de la Vendimia – Festivals of Wine.
Spanish wine festivals are a fantastic way to experience the country’s diverse range of wines, as well as the food, culture and music of the different regions.
There are a number of different wine festivals held throughout Spain each so there’s sure to be one to suit your taste. Here are just a few of the most popular:
During March, you’ll find a fantastic feria de viño in the small market town of Chantada, in the province of Lugo in the very heart of Galicia. Chantada is a typical Galician town with Romanesque churches, steep terraced vineyards and hill forts from the iron ages. You will find fabulous Albariño wines and spicy young red wines made from the mencía grape. The accompanying food of choice is pulpo which is cooked up in enormous copper cauldrons – into which you dip the crusty bread that is a speciality of the nearby village of Cea. Spend all night dancing to a local band and then do the very same thing the next day!
Around the third week of May, there is a delightful festival dedicated to the local Manzanilla held in Sanlúcar de Barrameda. This lovely town at the mouth of the Guadalquivir river, looking across at the Doñana National Park produces a fino wine, very similar to sherry but unfortified and with a delightful delicate flavour that the locals say obtains its delicacy from the sea breezes working their way through the bodegas. The quality of the sea food here is best enjoyed with a glass of manzanilla whilst listening to local flamenco – it doesn’t get much better.
If you’re a fan of bathing in wine as well as drinking it, then perhaps think about a visit to Haro, in La Rioja, at the end of June for the Feast of Saint Peter, or Jumilla in the region of Murcia during the third week of August. Apart from many wine related events during these festivals, it is here that they have a spectacular Batalla del Vino in which hundreds of people throng the streets waiting for the wine to arrive, and with over 100,000 litres of wine to be given away, the streets soon run red with wine as it is thrown and sprayed over everyone.
The Vendimia Wine Festival in Jumilla has been a tradition in Jumilla for over 50 years and usually takes place in mid August. Featuring a variety of wine-related activities, including tastings, concerts, and parades, it is a time for locals and visitors alike to come and enjoy the fruits of the grape harvest.
The highlight of the festival is the wine parade, where participants dress up in traditional costumes and parade through the streets of Jumilla, where hundreds of barrels of locally produced red wine will be thrown and poured over everyone and everything – prepare to get drenched! The parade is followed by a grand finale concert, where attendees can enjoy live music and dance the night away.
Some other famous wine fiestas
• The San Sebastian Wine Festival is one of the most prestigious wine festivals in Spain. It is held in the Basque city of San Sebastian and features a wide range of wines from across the country.
• The Valencia Wine Festival is held in the city of Valencia and showcases the best wines from the Valencia region.
• The Alicante Wine Festival is a large and popular festival that features wines from all over Spain. It is held in the city of Alicante.
• The Rioja Wine Festival is held in the town of Logroño in the Rioja region. As you would expect, it focuses on the wines of the Rioja region, but also features wines from other parts of Spain.
Whether you’re a wine lover looking to try something new, or just want to enjoy a festive atmosphere, Spanish wine festivals are definitely worth a visit.