The best grape harvest festivals in Europe

What better way for people to get together than to spend some quality time together enjoying quality wine? Moments like this and many more you will be able to enjoy, when the grape harvest takes over Southern Europe and makes wine an excuse to travel around. If you are one of those people who like this kind of festivals, take a look at the BEST WINE HARVEST FESTIVALS IN EUROPE here.


Saint-Émilion is a village near Bordeaux that lives for wine. That’s what you realise as you approach this medieval-looking town, as the surrounding countryside is completely carpeted with endless rows of vines and vineyards.

All this fervour for Bacchus’ wine comes to a head in September, with the Saint-Émilion grape harvest festival. And we are right to name this village after Bacchus, for it was the Romans, no less, who planted the first vines here.

However, the area’s most famous grape varieties were harvested by the monks who lived in Saint-Émilion as early as the 8th century.

The Saint-Émilion grape harvest festival reaches its climax on the Nuit du Patrimoine (Heritage Night). On that night, the members of the winegrowers’ guild, called “Jurade”, dressed in red tunics and white cloaks, parade through the village, climb the church tower and proclaim the start of the grape harvest.

The whole village erupts in jubilation after the announcement and dines on lamb, veal and seafood – paired, of course, with excellent wines – in the wide range of restaurants in the area. Later, a spectacular fireworks display begins.


In the region of Tuscany, travellers not only enjoy its tasty truffles, but also its wine. The Etruscans, some three millennia ago, began to harvest truffles in these lands.

Every year, on the last Sunday of September, a small village in this region, Impruneta (which lies in the heart of the historic Chianti Classico area), dresses up for a colourful, vibrant and intoxicating celebration of the grape harvest.

The festival, which began in 1926, is known as the Festa dell’Uva (Grape Festival) and celebrates the fruit that brought so much joy and prosperity to the region.

The main event of the festival is the parade of floats through the four neighbourhoods of Impruneta. It starts at 3.30 p.m., but if you want to see it, you should arrive much earlier, as the narrow medieval streets of the village fill with thousands of onlookers, both locals and foreigners.

In addition to the parade, there is also colourful dancing, street performances and food and wine tastings.


Those who think that Germans don’t know how to organise wine festivals are very wrong. To get the wrong idea, just go to Boppard, a town on the left bank of the Rhine.

This town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but it is also an important centre of wine production, with grape varieties including pinot noir, spatburgunder and those that produce the famous – and bizarre – ice wine. This unique wine is made from grapes that have been exposed to the first frosts of the colder months.

The Boppard harvest festival takes place during the last week of September and the first week of October.

Since it lasts so long, it is somewhat relaxed, with no big processions or unique events. However, the atmosphere is very festive in the centre, with food and drink stalls scattered around the beautiful market square.

In the evenings, live music makes an appearance and some winemakers discuss what the new vintage is expected to be like. There are also fireworks displays on weekends.


One of the world’s most personalized and creative grape harvest festivals is held in Portugal’s Douro Valley region. 

Portugal’s finest wines have been cultivated for centuries in the vineyards along the banks of the river. The grapes are turned into Port wine and matured in oak barrels, which are transported down the river in wooden cargo boats, called rabelos.

The Douro Valley grape harvest festival has successfully merged the passion for wine and the grape harvest, gastronomy and the Seventh Art, cinema.

This idea has given rise to a wide variety of events related to the world of wine. These include presentations, talks, film screenings and, of course, wine tastings. These events are held in different parts of the region and are the perfect excuse to take a trip around the area and get to know its beautiful rural corners.


The grape harvest festival in La Rioja is one of the best grape harvest festivals in Europe. Between medieval villages, the Cantabrian mountains and the fields of the Ebro Valley, lies one of Europe’s oldest and most important wine regions.

In Logroño, the capital, the San Mateo Fair is held, which has existed for 9 centuries and is one of the oldest of all fairs. It starts on September 21st, which is the day of San Mateo, and lasts for a week.

The treading of the wine is one of the liveliest traditions in La Rioja, where you can see the grape harvesters jump into large barrels full of grapes to tread them with their bare feet and squeeze out the juice.

Most of the events take place in El Espolón, Logroño’s main square. Processions, fireworks, tastings of Riojan culinary specialities – such as chicken in white wine sauce or roast partridge – and wine tastings keep everyone entertained during the big week.

In the far south of Spain, in Jerez de la Frontera, unique wines are produced whose fame crosses borders. Every year, the first Saturday in September is the starting signal for the Fiestas de la Vendimia y Otoño de Jerez de la Frontera.

It is the start of a three-week celebration, with flamenco shows, parades, concerts, tapas and lots of manzanilla tasting.

On the first day, the queen of the fiestas and her maidens ride through the city on a beautifully decorated float. When she arrives at the Plaza del Arenal, she throws the first bunch of grapes into the wine press, signalling the beginning of the grape harvest month. The festival is also a unique occasion to admire the beauty of the Andalusian horses and the flamenco dresses of the Jerez women.

Without a doubt, wine brings nothing but joy and spectacle to this world that needs it so much.

Posted in Europe.