WHEN: 29th June
WHERE: Haro, Spain
La Batalla del Vino de Haro
The “Battle of Wine” or “Batalla del Vino” is an annual event held in the Spanish town of Haro, the capital of Rioja, and part of the Fiesta de San Pedro. The main event takes place on 29th June, and it’s a celebration of the town’s famous wine industry. The main event of the celebration is a wine battle, where participants dress in white and douse each other with red wine. The battle takes place in the hills outside the town, and it’s part of a massive food and wine festival that takes place in the town with music, dancing, and parades.
The tradition of the wine battle dates back to the 13th century, when the town of Haro was engaged in a legal dispute over its boundaries with a neighbouring town. According to legend, the dispute was resolved when the townspeople of Haro climbed to the top of a nearby mountain and poured wine over the boundary markers to symbolize the town’s claim to the land.
The event has evolved over the years, and it’s now a massive celebration that attracts thousands of people from all over the world. The festivities actually begin on the day of San Juan, on the night of the 23rd. But it is all leading up to the main event on the day of San Pedro, 29th June. In fact the party starts in the evening of the 28th June, down in the town, and the locals advise that you should just let yourself be carried away by the crowd. Groups will start to go up to the Bilibio cliffs – the Riscos de Bilibio – from around 7am and it is here that an open air traditional Catholic Mass will take place before the battle commences!
If you go up a bit later you can be sure that you have found the right road as it will be awash with red wine pouring down it! Locals will use anything to squirt wine at one another, from buckets, old-fashioned wine skins or water-pistols to agricultural spraying equipment. Don’t expect to make it home before you have been turned purple from top to toe!
After the battle, there is another big party with live music and a lot of wine consumption.
It’s worth noting that this event can be quite rowdy and messy, therefore, it’s not recommended for children and the elderly. Also, visitors should be aware that the town of Haro will be very crowded during this event and accommodations should be booked well in advance.