7 Spanish wine festivals worth a visit

Discovering Jean Leon


landscapes, traditions... Spain is exceptionally diverse, but it does
have certain things in common, and one of them is wine. With the harvest
season just around the corner, we wanted to tell you about a few festivals dedicated
to our favorite beverage and, if you're as passionate about wine as we
are, you should definitely check them out.

Perhaps you've been to some of them already...

1. San Mateo Festival (Logroño, La Rioja)

Let's begin with a region that is almost
synonymous with wine: La Rioja. The week of September 21st, its capital,
Logroño, celebrates the Fiestas
de San Mateo
. The origins of this celebration date back to the 12th
century when the town held a strategic spot along the Camino de Santiago (Way
of St. James), which aided its rise as one of the era's leading centers of
commerce. Some of the festival’s classic activities include stomping grapes and
the ritual of offering the fruits of the first harvest, as well as the first must,
to Our Lady of Valvanera. And, of course, there's no shortage of gastronomic
events, music, and parades. 

2. Rueda Harvest
Festival (Valladolid)

Next we're heading to Castilla y León to
visit Rueda, the town that lends its name to one of the five
appellations of origin (DOs) where wines are made in this autonomous community.
The town began celebrating its Fiesta
de la Vendimia
or harvest festival in 1990, coinciding with the last
days of the crush. Several wineries get together to share their wines with
visitors, who can also enjoy tastings, exhibitions, concerts, workshops, and
more. One of the most striking events is the gigantic people’s paella,
which marks the end of the festival and is often served to over 4,000 people.
Given how Rueda is only a thirty-minute car ride from Valladolid,
it makes for a fine excuse to explore the region.

3. Valdepeñas
Harvest and Wine Festival (Ciudad Real)

From one Castilla to another, specifically to Valdepeñas (Castilla
La Mancha), another town with a long wine tradition. Since 1953, it has celebrated
a Wine Festival as part of the Fiestas
de la Virgen de la Consolación
(Celebration of Our Lady of Solace), the
city's patron, during the first week of September. Again, this being harvest
season, the main events include grape stomping and the offering of the first
must. Wine tastings, a food fair, athletic competitions, theater, concerts,
winery visits, and more... the program of the Valdepeñas Harvest and Wine Festival is generous and draws thousands of people to the
town. If you decide to join them, make sure to sample the limoná, a white wine and lemon drink. It is so popular, it
even has its own competition to pick the best in the county. 

Harvest Festival of Jerez de la Frontera (Cádiz)

We're heading south now, to Jerez de la Frontera,
home to the oldest wine festival in all of Spain. During the first two weeks of
September, the town boasts a full program built around the three elements that
define Jerez de la Frontera: horses, flamenco, and wine. If you're a fan of at least one of the three, make
sure to visit the town during this time. Here you’ll find grape stomping,
tastings, winery visits, a food fair, equestrian shows, flamenco concerts, and
more. And since this is an all-ages event, there's plenty of fun for the little
ones too. A wonderful option for a family trip!

5. Cariñena Harvest Festival (Zaragoza)

Imagine a fountain, but instead of water, it spouts wine...
This actually happens in the Zaragoza-area town of Cariñena, the next
stop on our wine tour. For more than four decades, the beginning of the harvest
has been celebrated in early September with a weekend-long festival. One of the
most unusual events is when the town turns on the wine-spouting Mora fountain. The
festival also features food and leisure activities, and the old town center of Cariñena hosts
several family-friendly events. Only 35 minutes by car from Zaragoza, it is
another excellent option for a weekend getaway.  

Albariño Festival (Cambados, Pontevedra)

(Pontevedra), named European City of Wine in 2017, kicks off the harvest
season. At the beginning of August, it celebrates the Fiesta del Albariño. More than 50 years ago, the winemakers
Bernardino Quintanilla and Ernesto Zarate organized a competition to decide the
best harvest. The contest became a festival and then a tradition. Every year,
thousands of people flock to Cambados to get a taste of the Albariños
served at the dozen or so casetas
(elaborate stands) of the wineries in the Rías Baixas appellation of origin.

Sitges Harvest Festival (Barcelona)

concluding our Wine Festival tour in Sitges, not far from the Jean
winery. The town holds its Fiesta
de la Vendimia
or harvest festival in early October, an event that has
been going strong for 50 years. It is one of the longest-running local
festivals and, for over ten years, it has coincided with the town’s Wine
The program features events like the pressing of the first must, the
grape-stomping competition, the electing of the Pubilla and Hereu of
Sitges (youth ambassadors who represent their town and its local traditions and
culture), and the unveiling of the wine fountain. 

Although some of the festivals might overlap,
with the proper planning, you can make it to several in one year. Have you been
to any of them? Where would you like to go next?

Categorías: Discovering Jean Leon