Celebrating La Rioja

Mountain scene with Rioja written across the image

Haro is a small wine-producing town that is one of the most important in Spain's La Rioja region. La Rioja is world famous for producing red wine that can be found all over the world, and the town of Haro is home to 40% of the entire region's vineyards.

Haro Wine Festival

Haro has been home to a wine festival since the 13th century which includes a mass celebrated at the Chapel of San Felices de Bilibio, the famous Batalla de Vino and youth bullfights. The wine festival began back in the 13th century when the people of Haro had to officially mark the property lines between them and their neighbours in Miranda de Ebro. This was done every year on San Pedro's Day as well as every first Sunday of September to ensure that the boundary between the two neighbours was maintained. This tradition lasted over 400 years until it was disregarded and the people of both sides started throwing wine at each other. That day the tradition of the "War of Wines" was created, which in 1965 was changed into Battle of the Wine, or Batalla del Vino en Haro as it's known in Spanish.

Whilst the mass and feast still take place and are regarded as a huge part of the town's history, the main attraction these days is the world famous wine festival including the Battle of the Wines. A week full of drinking and music with the main event being the pouring of wine on each other and into each other's mouths at the Battala de Vino taking place on the 29th of June.

La Batalla del Vino

On the big day itself, a parade of horsemen lead everyone the 7 km up to the Hermitage of San Felices de Bilibio, where a flag is ceremonially placed and a mass celebrated at the Chapel of San Felices de Bilibio. Then, the battle commences. All weapons are allowed during this outrageous battle: buckets, wineskins, sprayers and anything else that can be used to hurl, spray or launch thousands of litres of wine all over people. Some of you might think this is sacrilege and an absolute waste of wine but the wine used comes from grapes that have not been deemed good enough to produce the quality wines of La Rioja.

So if you are feeling adventurous why not put a date in your calendar for next year! If not why don't you celebrate San Pedro's day with us at York Wines by ordering a bottle or three of our Spanish Rioja and making the most of the weekend. Here are just a few of our Riojas that we stock at York Wines. Look on our website to find more.