With tastings, tours and traditions - plan your next holiday around one of these wine festivals...
Colchagua Wine Festival Chile March 3-5
Seize the opportunity to travel to Chile for the Colchagua Wine Festival and celebrate this year’s harvest. Wine-producing towns all over the country host wine festivals between March and April, to get the full Creole experience head to the Colchagua Valley. The hub of the festival is the main plaza of Santa Cruz, where you can find the locals demonstrating traditional games and music, as well as offering up food and wine tastings — not to mention the the Grape Harvest Queen contest. From there you can take a tour around the region’s wine cellars as they open their doors to the public, so you can learn firsth and about the production of some of Chile’s greatest wines.
Cheltenham Wine Festival UK April 1
Cheltenham’s Grade I listed Pittville Pump Room will host this historic spa town’s wine festival. The event offers a vinous trip ‘Around the World in 300 Wines’. Learn from other wine enthusiasts and experts representing some of the best Old and New World wine regions at the Grand Tasting, and enjoy their wines beneath the chandeliers and ornate domed ceiling of the Main Hall. Why not make the most of your visit by exploring the surrounding parklands, or the town centre which is only a 15-minute walk away.
Vineyard to Vintner California April 28-30
Calling all California Cabernet lovers: Vineyard to Vintner (V2V) is a three-day event organised by the Stags Leap District Winegrowers in Napa Valley. These vintners give visitors exclusive access to both their homes and wineries, with private tours, barrel tastings and food pairings at specially hosted lunches and dinners. If you like what you drink, there’s an option to purchase special collections signed by the winemakers themselves. This year sees an impressive list of participating wineries, including Shafer Vineyards, Silverado Vineyards, Clos du Val and Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars to name a few.
Can’t spare the time or funds to hop on a plane? Travel via the senses instead at the Decanter Mediterranean & Balkan Fine Wine Encounter at the Landmark Hotel in London. The Grand Tasting includes a full six hours of unlimited tasting, and the opportunity to meet the producers themselves. For a more thorough taste through the wines, you can opt for one of the masterclasses, such as ‘Explore the Tuscan Coast’, ‘Regional Stars from Greece’ or ‘Discover the Elegance of Priorat’. If you’re visiting London, the venue is well located to explore the local sights, as it’s a short walk to Regent’s Park or the upmarket shops and restaurants of Marylebone High Street.
For something to get the pulse racing, climb a mountain in Rioja and get involved in the La Batalla del Vino (‘the battle of wine’). Dressed entirely in white, participants throw red wine at each other from bottles, jugs and even water pistols, and dance to music played by bands equally soaked in wine. The festival takes place in the little town of Haro, and is as historic as it is exciting, with traditions that go back three centuries into Spanish culture. The night before the action Haro comes alive with the biggest party of the year, and locals of all ages fill the streets and squares to celebrate until the early hours. Book here.
Escape to the wine country of New York state at the Finger Lakes Wine Festival, where acres of Watkins Glen are covered with regional food and wine vendors. There are lodging or camping options, with climate-controlled tents to keep you cool in the July heat. The festival kicks off with a toga launch party, where there will be samples of food and wine, live music and fireworks. Over the weekend there are wines on offer from over 80 New York state vintners, which you can pair with any number of the regional food vendors — including anything from egg rolls to bison burgers. For more serious wine enthusiasts there are wine seminars, covering ‘attention worthy dry red wines’, ‘dry Rieslings on the map’ and ‘hybrid grapes’.
Festa dell’Uva Chianti September 25
The Feste dell’Uva or ‘grape festival’, is hosted by the town of Impruneta in the heart of Chianti. It’s an annual tradition dating back to 1926, when it began as a village feast and fair held to celebrate local viticulture. Over the years, fuelled by the competitive spirit between the town’s four districts, the event has become a spectacular float procession, with towering models of wine bottles and special effects. Buondelmonti square is filled with dancers, performers on stilts, music and fireworks, and bunches of freshly harvested grapes are handed out among the crowd, before all settle down in tents to a banquet of local produce and Chianti wines.
Translated by ICY
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