During my time living in Spain for five years, I had the opportunity to visit some amazing festivals and cultural events. I sampled delicious regional food and fine wines and loved the laid-back Mediterranean lifestyle.
In this article, using my knowledge as a travel blogger and experience of the country, I’ll highlight some of the best wine festivals in Spain, covering the origins, itineraries, and when and where you can visit them, so you don’t miss out!
Hi, I’m Timon!
I’ve experienced the heartbeat of Spain firsthand. Over the last five years, I’ve immersed myself in the dynamic cities of Spain, truly living the Spanish way. My insights into this beautiful country are rooted in genuine experience.
The Importance of Wine Festivals in Spain
Spain is the world’s third largest wine producer, and if you’ve spent time in the country, you’ll know that the Spanish take their love of wine very seriously.
Every year in towns and cities throughout the county, residents pay homage to the grape, giving thanks to the vines and for the fruitful harvest each year.
Some of these wine festivals are centuries old and steeped in local traditions, involving folklore, tastings, gastronomy, and music. They allow people to join as a community to celebrate their heritage and the fruits of the land.
Events are held throughout the year if you’re planning a trip to Spain. My list below will give you all the information you need to decide which exciting festival to visit. You will enjoy the wine, food, and amazing architecture. Many of the buildings have been influenced by the Muslim rule in Spain, which you can learn more about in Muslim architecture in Spain.
Monthly Guide to Wine Festivals in Spain
Drinking wine is a socially accepted pastime in Spain – in fact, there’s even a drinking culture known as “sobremesa”. Spanish citizens love a good party, so if you fancy sampling a vintage Ribera del Duero, want to join in with an ancient “wine battle,” tread the first grapes of harvest, or learn how to pair Rioja Gran Reserva with your favorite cheese or charcuterie during a masterclass, check out my monthly guide to wine festivals in Spain to find the event best suited to your interests.
May Wine Festivals
Ribeiro Blues Wine Festival (Galicia)
Starting the wine season in Spain, we have the Ribeiro Wine Fair, which takes place in Galicia in the North-West part of the country. Ribeiro is one of the oldest wine appellations in the country, with evidence of viticulture since the 2nd century B.C. The ancient Romans planted the first vines, but it was left to Benedictine and Cistercian monks to drive vineyard cultivation during the Middle Ages.
The annual Ribeiro Blues Wine Festival celebrates this rich heritage at the beginning of May each year in Ribadavia in Galicia. During the epic wine-tasting event, you can sample sweet white wines such as Treixadura, Godello and Albariño and red grape varieties like Caiño Longo, Brancellao, and Mencia.
Local celebrity chefs cook various Galician delights, such as octopus and shrimp, throughout the festival. There are masterclasses in wine and food pairings to enjoy as live music plays on stage. If you want to delve deeper into Spanish foods and understand why certain food and wine pair so well, look at our article on Spanish food facts.
Wine Fair of the Priorat region (Catalonia)
In Falset Catalonia, in northeast Spain in early May, the Wine Fair of the Priorat takes place (Fira del Vi de Falset). The aim is to introduce visitors to the hand-crafted wines the region produces. Vines have been growing here since the 12th century, and similar to Ribeiro – production started with monks from a local monastery making wine.
Wines to sample during the festival include DOQ Priorat – a top-rated, internationally renowned wine and Carignan and Grenache from DO Montsant.
Visitors can sign up for wine courses, cooking contests, talks, and guided olive oil tastings. You’ll adore this festival if you’re a connoisseur and enjoy sampling fine wines.
If you’re wondering how well you could navigate these events with just English, you can read English proficiency in Spain.
June Wine Festivals
Haro Wine Festival (La Rioja)
The origins of the Wine Battle of Haro in Rioja, northern Spain date back over a millennium. There are a few different theories as to how it began. One view details a dispute over land between Haro and neighboring Miranda del Ebro. Another references a 1710 pilgrimage to a hermitage that concluded in a wine-throwing celebration. It became a tradition known as the “War of the Wine.”
Today, locals still participate in the late June festival. The frivolities attract well over 20,000 people – wearing white clothing with a red scarf to symbolize the Rioja wine region. Locals follow the mayor early in the morning on a 7km route out of town, where a flag is hoisted on the Cliffs of Bilibio. A short mass is performed before a rocket is fired into the air to signify the start of the battle. Locals use bottles, jugs, old boots, and water pistols to launch the wine at each other.
The festival is mad, sticky, crazy and fun – live bands play, there’s dancing, and at around noon, wild cattle are released from the town’s bullring (none are harmed). This concludes with lunch and plenty of Rioja, and partying continues in the center.
You can also travel here with the kids. A separate “battle” is held a few days before in Haro, where children go on a short pilgrimage to the fairground and are given red liquid to throw at each other before being treated to lunch.
If visiting a lively Spanish festival with friends or family is on your bucket list, this is one of Spain’s most unique wine festivals.
Wear old clothes and bring your own container for the wine battle, but remember you’ll have to carry it.
August Wine Festivals
Albariño Festival (Cambados, Pontevedra)
As summer peaks in Spain, the wine festivals continue with the Albariño Festival. This is celebrated in Cambados, Galicia, and it honors Albariño wine, one of Galicia’s flagship wines. The event, dating to 1953, is a true celebration of the flavors and culture of the Basque country. Spain’s weather also plays a crucial role in cultivating these vineyards. Find more about the climate in our piece on Spain’s tropical climate.
The sound of bagpipes signifies the opening of the vibrant fiesta. A place where visitors can sample delicious white wines and enjoy yummy gourmet cuisine and Basque tapas known as pintxos.
There are concerts, street parties and parades, and if you want to learn more about food and wine pairings, you can purchase a ticket for the D.O Wine Tunnel Program. The ticket gives you access to 150 wines and is guided by an expert sommelier.
This wine festival for true oenophiles and foodies can be coupled with a seaside summer stay in a scenic region of Spain.
Valdepeñas Harvest and Wine Festival (Ciudad Real)
Dating to 1952, Valdepeñas Harvest and Wine Festival near Ciudad Real is a celebration of agriculture and the origin of the grape harvest. The region is a historic wine-growing area famous for its rosado (rosé) wines, light berry reds, and to a lesser degree white wines.
The festival begins with the recollection of the grape (the harvest), parades, flower offerings, and church masses. It continues with wine tastings, dance performances, art exhibitions, sports, concerts, and street food stalls. It’s a fabulous, friendly event for around a week between late August and the first week of September.
This festival is where visitors can truly immerse themselves in local culture and learn about wine traditions in the heart of Spain – definitely one to visit.
September Wine Festivals
San Mateo Festival (Logroño, La Rioja)
The San Mateo festival in the Rioja region of northern Spain is one of the country’s oldest wine festivals. It dates to the 12th century – its origins are rooted in offering the new grape harvest to Our Lady of Valvanera, the patron of La Rioja.
On San Mateo Day, children carry grapes from the vineyard to the barrels. Men donned in traditional costumes tread the grapes in the town center, concluding in a ceremony offering the first juice to the patron’s statue.
During the week-long festival, you can sample local food and fine Rioja wines, watch parades with giant heads, listen to live music and enjoy more amazing fireworks displays. This festival is a mix of great wine, local traditions, and culture – one to add to your calendar.
Harvest Festival of Jerez de la Frontera (Cádiz)
Jerez de la Frontera in Andalucia is a city famed for its sherry production. Every September it celebrates its wine harvest with the Nativity of Our Lady feast dating back to 1948. The two-week-long fiesta is also known as Las Fiestas de la Vendimia y Otoño.
If you always imagined visiting a traditional Spanish fiesta, this one ticks all the boxes. Women wear colorful flamenco dresses as they stroll around the city, beautiful horses line the streets, and there are great wines and sherries to try.
Wagons are decorated with flowers, and a queen of sherry and her mask-wearing assistants throw candies to children. Everyone goes to Plaza de Arenal, where the queen signals the party’s start before the grapes treading and blessing on the cathedral steps. The traditional ceremony lasts around an hour and is one of the main highlights.
Throughout the festival, expect outdoor parties to last till dawn. Plus, there are many exhibitions, show jumping events, vineyard tours, motorcycle races, flamenco performances, and fireworks. This is, without a doubt, one of the most fun, vibrant wine festivals in Spain.
Cariñena Harvest Festival (Zaragoza)
One of the most prominent festivals in the Aragon region, Cariñena Harvest Festival dates to the late 1500s. The event began to honor the ancient custom of presenting wine to the kings of Spain.
The season’s first grapes are trodden during the celebration, and wine fountains lead the festivities. Parades of floats, musical concerts, and an old locomotive known as the Wine Train transports people from Zaragoza to the town to taste the wines.
In recent years the festival has become a prominent showcase for local wineries, bringing together some of the region’s finest wines for visitors to sample during the fiesta.
Harvest Festival in Alella (Catalonia)
Local wines are the focal point of this epic September festival in Alella near Barcelona. The celebration of DO Alella wine and cava has taken place for almost half a century, and it’s the perfect place to sample the region’s latest offerings and meet like-minded people.
One highlight for many visitors is to participate in the dawn of the harvest held at a local vineyard before sunrise. You can help to harvest the grapes before lunch – it’s a truly immersive experience and a way to gain insight into the true origins of the festival.
The event consists of guided winery tours, parades, fireworks, dancing, and tapas are served in the streets. Restaurants and bodegas offer gastronomic tastings paired with regional wines, and there are courses and competitions to participate in.
October Wine Festivals
Rueda Grape Harvest Festival (Valladolid)
If you want to learn about Catalan wine-making culture, head for Rueda in Valladolid during the second week of October. The Festival of Regional Tourist Interest is for appreciators of fine wines and delicious food. Experience grape picking, workshops, and parties with live music and new friends.
At the festival, visitors can taste crisp, refreshing Rueda white wines from the Verdejo grape variety with notes of apricot, melon, and pear. Local artisans procure handicrafts, huge paella pans are served in the square, and a traditional treading of the grapes occurs.
When you need a break from the crowds, visit the scenic Finca Montepedroso winery, set within 25 hectares of vineyards, to learn more about the wine-making process.
The Grape Harvest Festival in Sitges (Catalonia)
Sitges is a popular seaside town south of Barcelona in Catalonia. In October, it celebrates its annual wine festival (The Festa de la Verema).
The event has been celebrated since the early 1960s, and traditions include vine cutting, grape harvest offerings, a treading of the grapes, and contests which involve carrying barrels through the streets – recalling the origins of the harvest.
Locals dress up as costumed characters on floats, and you may even see a Castell – a human tower contest, where team members stand on each other’s shoulders to build the most complex tower! While here, try top wines from the Torres Vineyard and Penedès region and visit the gourmet food festival by the beach.
Peñafiel Grape Harvest Festival (Castile and Leon)
The lively Peñafiel Grape Harvest Festival east of Valladolid in Spain has been a haven for wine lovers for over three decades. It incorporates a unique itinerary of events – one known as Riberjoven – a space where visitors can match local wines with a different gastronomical dish.
A highlight is sampling the young wines of Ribera del Duero in a beautiful location. This is accompanied by regional dancing in traditional costumes, grape treading, and live music.
This is one of Spain’s most authentic wine festivals, focusing on history, culture, food, and the star beverage itself.
November Wine Festivals
International Sherry Week
If you’re a fan of Sherry, you’ll adore International Sherry Week. This is the largest celebration of sherry wines worldwide, and since 2014, a growing community has taken part each year.
Bars and restaurants, bodegas, and wineries host sherry tastings in person and online in various locations around the globe. Fun, sherry-themed events show you how to pair this tipple with tapas, meat, seafood, and desserts.
There are cocktail competitions, masterclasses, seminars, and much more. You can visit the home of Sherry in Jerez de la Frontera to experience the true essence of this event, check out local bars and restaurants taking part across Spain, or look for local organizers in your own country!
Festival of Orujo
The picture-postcard village of Potes in Cantabria, northern Spain, hosts its annual Orujo liquor festival on the second weekend of November. The celebration, a traditional party of National Tourist Interest, lasts for three days with market stalls, gastronomy, and live music. It’s an opportunity for visitors to sample the typical liquor of the region.
You can observe the Elder Orujeros dressed in mountain costumes tasked with lighting the Alquitaras (old stills), and see the liquor being distilled, before sampling different variations, including Aged, White, and Aromatized Orujo in local bodegas and restaurants.
The Orujo drink is often paired with a chickpea dish or regional cheese. You can also watch live music and folk performances during the celebration.
San Andres Festival
Our first and only Canary Islands festival is in northern Tenerife. The San Andres Festival celebrates the new harvest in late November. This festival is brimming with traditions – a celebration of the new crop. The party begins with children tying cans to string. This is said to symbolize San Andres as he clattered home after drinking copious amounts of wine.
You’ll also see youngsters riding wooden sleds or “boards” down the town’s steep hills to signify the practice of transporting wine barrels to ships in the harbor.
Wine is served with roasted chestnuts in the streets and local bodega bars. It’s a simple, traditional festival, which is fun to attend if you are taking a winter break in Tenerife.
Personal Recommendations for Wine Festivals
I love a good wine festival, but choosing the right one to visit can be difficult. In my personal opinion, I would recommend the Wine Battle of Haro if you’re in the mood for partying. It’s a great place to meet locals and immerse yourself in age-old Spanish traditions.
If you want a full-on authentic Spanish experience, I recommend the Harvest Festival of Jerez de la Frontera or the San Mateo Festival.
For serious wine connoisseurs, who prefer to immerse themselves in tastings, masterclasses, and gourmet food experiences, Alella, Peñafiel, Valdepeñas, Rueda, and Ribeiro Wine Fairs are great options set in stunning locations.
Finally, head for Sitges on the Costa Dorada to immerse yourself in an inclusive, fun-packed beachfront fiesta.
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