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June - Battala Dos Vinos (Battle of the Wines), Spain

SPAIN | Wednesday, 25 May 2011 | Views [3628]

Location: Biliblio, La Rioja, Spain

Date: 29 June

Description:

On St. Pedro’s Day in Hara, capital of northern Spain’s Rioja-producing region, thousands of people take to the streets toting water pistols loaded with wine. If they’re ambitious, the vino guerrillas might use pump-action supersoaker or spray can, while traditionalists and masochists opt for gourds, buckets, bottles, and old boots.

The three-hour drenching commemorates a medieval property dispute with neighboring Mirando de Ebro and dates back 300 years, but only began to attract the masses last century. The local council, unfazed by the prospect of a crimson town, provides 4L of plonk per sniper, though many bring their own supermarket ammo.

The result is tens of thousands of litres of cheap red sprayed around Biliblio, the cliff top battlefield, in a ritual that looks like a unisex wet-T-shirt competition for alcoholics. No one escapes a soaking, but if you don’t feel like jumping in the deep end, steer clear of the locals. They have perfected the art of wine warfare and are only too happy to demonstrate their weaponry’s capabilities.

Essentials: Wear a white T-shirt (compulsory) and arm yourself with a water weapon (highly recommended).

Local Attractions: The main sights in 10th-century Haro are Santo Tomas Church, the baroque Our Lady of la Vega basilica and Counts’ Palace, plus the wine museum, vineyards and bodegas (warehouses) of course.

Travel Safety Tips From The World Nomads Safety Hub: Look, we will be realistic here. It's a wine fight. People are going to be drunk, and it's going to get really, really messy. It goes without saying that you shouldn't get so drunk off your gun that you forget your own name - while the temptation is high we always recommend that people drink responsibly. However, there are two real dangers even if you do take it easy on the vino.

1. The Hara battlefield is quite sharp and hilly, take a wrong step and you could be ass-up tumbling down the side of the mountain, especially on the slippery, wine soaked surface.

2. Other people could take a wrong step and be ass-up, tumbling down the slippery, wine soaked surface, and crash into you.

Its a rowdy, raucous event - it's a lot of fun, but you do need to be careful!

More Info: Haro Tourist Office (  +34 941 30 33 66  )


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Information provided courtesy of Lonely Planet
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Tags: drinking, festivals, parties, safety, spain, travel, wine, world festivals

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