If ever you needed an excuse to drink wine and more than just one glass, wine festival season is it. Right now, Europe’s grapes are at their juiciest and in celebration of the end of the grape harvest, villages, towns and cities around the world are popping the corks and celebrating by the case load.
If you happen to be in Paris, just head up to Montmartre, if you are Barcelona bound, the capital of cava is a mere 45 minutes away and of course, head off the beaten track and along the wine routes and there are wine festivals a plenty. Europe is bursting with gastronomic grape celebrations and we have picked our favourite wine festivals in France, Spain, and Germany this autumn…
Cavatast, near Barcelona, Spain
What better place to immerse yourself in the Spanish fizzy stuff than the capital of cava itself, Sant Sadurni. This pretty little town and its surrounding vineyards, just 45 minutes from Barcelona, produce 95% of the world’s cava production and is home to big names such as Freixenet and Cordorniu.
Over the first weekend in October, dozens of local cava houses, both big and small, set up their cava tents on the streets of Sant Sadurni, as well as local artisan food stalls selling local Catalonian delights. Simply buy your tasting tickets and get stuck in. 1 – 4 October 2015 www.cavatast.cat
Fêtes de Vendanges de Montmartre, Paris, France
Hidden away in the grounds of a monastery at the top of Paris’ Montmartre hill is a tiny private vineyard, which produces a very unique vintage. Once a year, the secret is out and the area celebrates the vineyard’s wine, with a jam-packed cultural week of talks, events and exhibitions, followed by a weekend of festivities including a parade on Saturday, and concerts and fireworks on Sunday.
The festival attracts wine and food producers from all over France and the gourmet stalls are out of this world. There are a lot of extremely good wine and culinary delights to sample. 7 – 11 October 2015 www.fetesdesvendangesdemonmatre.com
Related: What's on in France this autumn
Fêtes de Vendanges, Alsace, France
Fêtes de Vendanges
Alsace’s famous wine route winds its way 170kms through vineyards galore and nearly 100 idyllic villages. And at the end of the year’s grape harvest in October, many of these villages celebrate with special festivals. In the north of the Alsace region is the village of Barr, whose annual Fêtes de Vendanges (or Grape Harvest Festival) sees the streets lined with wine cellars offering tastings, market stalls, music, dancing and fun-filled colourful parades. 2 – 4 October 2015 www.barr.fr
Related: How to order wine like an Italian
Las Fiestas de San Mateo, Logroño, Spain
Celebrating the end of the Rioja wine harvest is big business and the main festivities revolve around the Rioja Wine Harvest Festival and Las Fiestas de San Mateo (the Feast of St Matthew) in Logroño (the capital of La Rioja’s wine growing region). As part of the traditional fiesta and week long revelry, the juice of the season’s grapes is offered to San Mateo.
Grape crushing, concerts, dancing, parades, bull runs and traditional bullfights are also part of the festivities, as well of course as a lot of wine tasting from some of the finest Rioja producing vineyards in the region. 20 – 26 September 2015 www.logrono.es
Related: A short history of Cava
Deutsche Weinlesefest Neustadt, Germany
Ann Dabney, Flickr
Visitors to Germany can head one of two ways to quench their thirst this autumn– Oktoberfest in Munich for the beer lovers, and Deutsche Weinlesefest in Neustadt for wine purveyors. The wine capital of Neustadt is a picturesque town of cobbled streets and timber taverns, in Palatinate, the world’s largest Riesling growing region.
For two weeks the town lets its hair down to celebrate all things wine, in particular the local young white wine, Federweisser. The party hits a climax over the last weekend with fireworks, parades and the crowning of Germany’s wine queen. 2 – 12 October 2015 www.neustadt.eu