Since it was first held in Laguardia in 1994, the Rioja Alavesa Grape Harvest Festival has become one of the most attractive cultural and leisure events in the province. It draws the attention of people from all over Spain. This touring celebration takes place every year in mid-September —just before the grape harvest— and has visited all the municipalities of Rioja Alavesa at least once.
The chosen place is transformed for a day into the epicentre of Alava’s wine, its capital and its representative. The main objective of the festival is to make the area known: its places, its people and its customs. The element that defines them is also the one that unites them: wine.
The awards ceremony of the Rioja Wine Contest takes place before the festival. There the best valued wine of the year is recognised. Afterwards, the opening speech and the official opening ceremony take place. Well-known figures from the world of culture or sport in Spain are usually picked as the town criers of the Grape Harvest Festival.
After the opening speech, the grape treading takes place and the first must of the season is tasted. Afterwards, there is a wine tasting of the region where the participants taste some of the finest wines —specially chosen for the occasion— for a reasonable price.
Every year, during the festive day there is a twinning of Rioja Alavesa designation of origin wine with other Basque gastronomic products of renowned quality: Idiazabal Cheese, Tolosa Beans or Beef from the Basque Country, among others. In addition, the annual Photography Contest of the Grape Harvest Festival is held in order to contribute to the promotion of tourism in the region. It is attended by contestants from all over Spain.
This is a tremendously popular festival. Every year the chosen town hosts crowds of people who visit each of its wineries tasting the different beverages they offer to visitors. The streets are cheered with festive music and filled with the good atmosphere generated by the wide range of activities that take place there. Demonstrations of rural sports, grape harvesting competitions, dance performances or popular food are some of them. They also organize the so-called enology workshops, an educational initiative aimed at young children. They can participate first-hand in this activities related to the harvest and wine production.
This is a unique opportunity to get to understand and appreciate these customs so deeply rooted in the lands of Rioja Alavesa. The Rioja Alavesa Grape Harvest Festival gives a chance to wine and tradition lovers from all over Spain to delve into the world of wine. Attendants will enjoy its flavour and participate in its greatness as the economical and cultural of the Rioja Alavesa region.