Europe

Is La Rioja’s Wine Battle the wildest party in Spain?


For the last three centuries, revellers have gathered in the town of Haro, La Rioja (northeast Spain), every June 29th for La Batalla del Vino – literally, the Battle of Wine.

And it’s no surprise, as Haro is known as ‘the Capital of Rioja wine’. 

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Dressed all in white with red neckerchiefs, thousands of participants set off in the morning for a 6 km hike. They then climb up a mountain and gather at the Hermitage of San Felices de Bilibio for a mass to celebrate the feast day of San Pedro (St. Peter).

They then head outside, armed with bottles and jugs of vino, for a wine fight that goes on until there isn’t a spot of white to be seen on their person, and everyone is drenched from head to toe.

A sea of wine-drenched revellers. (Photo by CESAR MANSO / AFP)

Tank trucks filled with wine distribute Rioja to revellers with water pistols, back-mounted spraying devices and buckets as they shoot, pour and spray vino in all directions.

Keep in mind that the cleaner you look, the more you will be a target – so just accept that you will turn burgundy sooner or later.

A participant pours red wine on a drum during the “Batalla del Vino”.(Photo by CESAR MANSO / AFP)

If you’re planning to take part, it’s advisable not to wear your newest set of white clothes and shoes, because they’ll likely never be the same again. And don’t worry, despite all the craziness, glass bottles or devices are not allowed.

It’s a good job wine is cheap in Spain, keeping in mind how much is wasted during Haro’s Wine Battle. (Photo by CESAR MANSO / AFP)

Approximately 9,000 locals and tourists attend the annual event, with a reported 130,000 litres of red wine spilt.

Haro’s Battle of Wine was declared a Festival of National Tourist Interest in 2011.

Once every single drop of wine has been spilt and the battle is over, it’s time to tuck into chorizo and morcilla, and this time drink the wine. (Photo by CESAR MANSO / AFP)

The origin of this tradition dates back to a possible dispute with the nearby town of Miranda de Ebro over the ownership of a rural area in the municipality, Los Riscos de Bilibio, where the celebration is held.



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