Every year the “Battle of Wine” (La Batalla del Vino) takes place in the town of Haro, and which can be got to from Madrid.
This event takes place on the 29th June each year and has become popular with not only Spaniards but visitors from around the world. Thousands of people come and soak not only themselves in red wine. They then make way to the town’s bull ring to chase a few cows, but then partying late into the night.
But it isn’t only about the wine, this event helps to celebrate the life of St Peter, just as many other festivals in Spain are.
The town itself is located in an area of Spain known as Rioja Alta. Here is were around 40% of all the areas vineyards are to be found and is town which is completely devoted to the grapes that grow on them. The many bodegas, and the Wine Museum (Museo del Vino) show how important wine is to the town and its economy. This wine fight Madrid provides the people of Haro with the ultimate way to celebrate wine.
As for the reason why this battle of wine Madrid occurs. It is said to evolve from a land dispute between Haro and the neighbouring town of Miranda De Ebro. This dispute dates back to the 10th Century. Yet the actual battle and festival didn’t only came into being in the 20th Century.
But this festival doesn’t only celebrate the production of wine in the town. It offers residents and visitors a like can enjoy some of the most delicious tapas in the whole of Spain. You’ll need all that food to help soak up all the delicious wine you are going to be drinking during the festivities.
Prepare for the “battle”
Before the battle commences certain formalities need to be followed. Each festival begins with a group of horsemen leading everyone up to the Hermitage of San Felices de Bilbio. This walk is around 7 km long so make sure you are wearing sensible footwear if you intend to take part in this aspect of the festival Madrid. Once everyone has reached the top a flag is ceremonially placed and then mass is celebrated. Only after this can the battle of the wine begin.
Don’t come if like other certain festivals in Spain where you can just stand back and watch. Unfortunately everyone who is there is a target, so the chances of you getting soaked is high. So make sure that you wear clothes that you are more than happy to just throw away.
The battle rages on until midday and then heads down to the town’s bullring. Once there the younger participates of this festival Madrid get to chase some young bulls around. Then what follows is hours of eating, drinking and dancing, with a few competitions thrown in for good measure.