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Haro Wine Festival - La Batalla del Vino de Haro, Spain

A fight with wine!

The battle of the wine in Haro, Spain is a Spanish fiesta like no other. It is messy, wet, hot and sticky but undoubtedly exuberant, crazy, juvenile and magnificent. Seriously, its total pure superfluous fun and frivolity in a totally unique location. This is an event everyone should aim to tick off their travelling wish list.

On Saint Peters Day (El dia de San Pedro), which is June 29th every year, the population of 11,500 in the central Rioja town of Haro swells to almost double that, and early on the morning of the 29th it descends into outright "Wine Warfare" in the chaotic and spectacular "Battle of the Wine". The history of Batalla del Vino dates back to the 6th century.

The Haro Wine Festival is held each year from the 28th to the 30th of June with the major focus being the Haro wine battle itself. Most combatants adorn the traditional red and white garb, then at 7am on the 29th, follow the mayor of Haro (who is on horseback) on a 7km procession out of town, up into the cliffs of Bilibio, to the Hermitage of San Felices. A flag is then ceremoniously located, and a short mass is endured before red, wet carnage ensues, and everyone covers each other with wine splashed from all manner of containers like buckets, cups, bottles, jugs and even water pistols.

The Haro Wine Festival was only proclaimed as a festival of both national and touristic interest in 1965 but it is roots can be dated back much further. In fact, it was way back in the early part of the 13th century that the seeds of the modern day Haro Wine Festival were sown when the neighbouring village of Miranda del Ebro and the residents of Haro were in dispute over town lines incorporating the nearby mountains.

Haro itself is famous for its fine red Rioja wine and accounts for a substantial proportion of all Riojas produced. It is also home to many of the great bodegas in Rioja and has an important architectural and cultural heritage. The picturesque buildings and small winding streets of the old town were declared a Historic-Artistic Site in 1975 by the Spanish government and are kept well preserved.

Now you know more about this fantastic fiesta read more about the history of the wine fight, find out how best to get yourself and friends to Haro and where to stay in Haro, Spain.