Siesta In La Rioja Spain
The Battle of Wine Festival
By Michaela Barnes
La Rioja is home to world-renowned wineries, local gastronomy, architecture, culture, museums, outdoor adventures, and beyond. Set in north central Spain it is considered to be one of the greatest wine regions in the world.
The region spans more than 57,000 hectares, the most acreage under vines of any wine region – yielding 250 million liters of wine annually. Dating back to the 13 th century, one of Rioja’s most famed heritage events, Batalla Del Vino (Battle of Wine), is held annually the last week of June on St. Peter’s Day, in the town of Haro.
Wine cellars and restaurants donate gallons upon gallons of wine to thousands of residents and visitors who engage in a friendly battle of wine while enjoying live music along the town’s cobbled streets and picturesque Spanish squares. Led by the town’s mayor, on horseback, a procession of people all carrying jugs, bottles and buckets filled with red wine, winds through the town to the Cliffs of Bilibio.
The madness of the annual wine battle starts with everyone tossing wine on each other until all are soaked from head to toe. During this battle anything that can be used to hurl, spray or launch thousands of liters of wine all over the crowd is used. After the battle, people return to the town to “parade” to the Plaza de la Paz, for the Haro Wine Festival Bullfights held in the town’s bull ring.
8 Things To Do Before You Get Wasted
Batalla Del Vino provides visitors with an opportunity immerse in the cultural experience, while enjoying Rioja’s wine, breathtaking landscapes, rolling hills with vineyards, small medieval villages with world renowned museums, and many Michelin starred restaurants.
1. Museum Hoping: Visit The Guggenheim Museum Bilboa, a museum of modern and contemporary art designed by iconic architect Frank Gehry.
2. Wineries: Spend the day visiting the beautifully preserved Medieval Village of Laguardia boasting 7500+ acres of vineyards and new architectural wine palaces.
3. Tapas: Fill up at Calle Laurel in Logroño with its 50+ mouthwatering taperias!
4. Relax: The Wine Oil Spa Villa de Laguardia is a pioneer in natural treatments that uses the wine and oils from the Rioja Alavesa region, extracting nutrients for body and mind treatments.
5. History: Visit some of the most beautiful, Heritage Sites in Rioja including, Santo Tomás Apostle Parish Church, an architectural model for many of the current buildings in Rioja.
6. Museum: Visit the Museum of Wine Culture (Museo Vivanco de la Cultura del Vino). Explore over 8,000 years of history, economic, social and cultural importance, in addition to a collection of grapevines which boasts more than 220 varieties from around the world.
7. Hot Air Balloon: Rioja is said to have one of the most desirable hot air balloon tours in the world. You can fly over Haro, the wine capital of Rioja and see the region nestled in the valley of The Ebro, sailing over vineyards, wheat fields, Ebro River and the Sierra de Cantabria mountain range.
8. Outdoor Adventures: Canoe on the Ebro River or hike over 15 hiking trails through the vineyards, landscape and mountains – the Montes Obarenes, Sierra de Cantabria and the Sierra de la Demanda.
Photos courtesy of La Rioja Tourism