Haro Wine Festival

Treaty of Versailles | Drinking Culture & History Blog

The Batalla de Vino in Haro, Spain, a Festival Where Rioja Red Wine Becomes a Symbolic Weapon

Held annually on June 29th, Saint Peter’s Day, amidst the picturesque landscape of the Rioja wine region, Batalla de Vino stands as one of Spain’s most renowned festivals. This unique event transforms the quaint town of Haro into a lively battleground, where participants engage in a friendly and vibrant wine battle, using Rioja red wine as their unconventional ammunition.

Chapel of San Felices: The Picturesque Battlefield of Haro’s Wine War

Rooted in history, the festival’s origins are believed to stem from a dispute between the winegrowers of Haro and their counterparts in Miranda del Ebro, a neighboring town just 22 km away, which now falls under Castile instead of Rioja.

The setting for this enchanting wine war is near the Chapel of San Felices, located four miles northwest of Haro. The festivities commence after the morning service in Riscos de Bilibio, where two spirited groups engage in a joyful exchange of wine-splashing. The captivating spectacle culminates around noon, and participants then reconvene in the Plaza de la Paz in Haro for further revelry.

Haro’s Annual Wine Revelry: A Festival where Everyone Emerges Victorious

With approximately 10,000 participants dressed in white, the spectacle involves the enthusiastic battling of around 70,000 liters of red grape juice. The unconventional weaponry ranges from traditional wine skins to various containers, including water pistols filled with wine, creating a dazzling and memorable display.

While local lore suggests that the festival’s roots trace back to a historical event, the true origin of the Batalla de Vino remains unverified. However, its existence has been documented since the 18th century, enduring as a cherished tradition that typically lasts an hour and culminates in a collective victory for all involved.

In contemporary times, the city of Haro has further solidified its reputation as one of the finest and most renowned Rioja villages for red wine, adding an extra layer of significance to this spirited celebration of culture, camaraderie, and the rich heritage of Spanish winemaking.”

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