Haro Wine Festival is a celebration that sees thousands of people soak in red wine. Then they rush off to chase frolicking heifers around the bullring before heading to a party. This is La Batalla del Vino as it really is. Every June 29th, Saint Peter’s Day, thousands turn out to celebrate one of Spain’s most vibrant festivals, Haro in the Rioja region. It is located about 100 km south of Bilbao.
Haro is located in what is now Rioja Alta. Here, approximately 40% of the region’s vineyards can also be found. This town is completely dedicated to the grape. The town’s vitality in wine production can be seen at the Museo del Vino as well as the many bodegas that are open to the public. The Batalla del Vino, however, is not the only celebration of wine.
The whole thing seems to have started from a land dispute that occurred between Haro and Miranda De Ebro in the tenth century. It seems that the battle began at the start of the 20th century.
Haro Wine Festival
Today, Haro’s 10,000 residents, along with many, many other visitors, begin to kick off the celebrations a week before battle. Haro’s tapas are well-known and it is located in the middle of Spain’s main Rioja-producing region. A parade of horses leads everyone 7km up to the Hermitage San Felices de Bilibio; where a flag is placed and a Mass celebrated. The battle begins.
At the start of the fight, most people are wearing white and all have containers like jugs and bottles, buckets and water pistols. Soon, the entire world turns pink. You can’t just show up and expect to be watched. Everyone is a target so don’t dress in your finest clothes. The chase continues until around noon, when everyone descends to the town’s bull ring and young bulls are chased by the children. The next hours are filled with dancing, eating, drinking, and competitions.
To get to Haro from Madrid, take the A1/E5 northbound motorway and the AP68 southbound. Bilbao is the nearest major airport, but there are good rail connections with Logrono or Vitoria.
There are many well-known hotels in the area, including Occidental Los Agustinos which is a parador-type hotel located in an old convent. A camping area is also available nearby that can accommodate 600 tents. Many teenagers enjoy joining a tour party to share the fun of wine fighting with other revellers.
Spain is home to many exuberant festivals. People end up covered in everything, from tomatoes and mud. The Haro Batalla del Vino is a unique festival that offers pure, wild, and unadulterated fun.
Also read, TOP FESTIVALS CELEBRATED IN AUGUST WORLDWIDE.