ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE WINE FIGHT HISTORY
The Wine Fight takes place on the outskirts of Haro, a small wine-producing town that is one of the most important in Spain’s La Rioja region. La Rioja is world famous for producing red wine that can be found all over the world, and the town of Haro is home to 40% of the entire region’s vineyards. Wine is a big deal around here.
It makes sense then that every year the locals of Haro celebrate San Pedro with the Haro Wine Festival, a week of drinking and music that is now world famous due to the Wine Fight (Batalla de Vino) that takes place on the 29th of June.
The start of the Wine Festival finds itself in the 13th century, when the Haro had to officially mark the property lines between them and their neighbours in Miranda de Ebro. This had to be done every year at Saint Peter’s Day as well as every first Sunday of September, or else Haro would become a part of Miranda de Ebro. 400 years later, the observation broke down and people started throwing wine at each other. That day the tradition started and earned the name “War of Wine”, which in 1965 was changed into Battle of the Wine, or Batalla del Vino en Haro as it’s known in Spanish.
While the mass and feast still takes place and is regarded as a huge part of the town’s history, the main attraction these days is the pouring of wine on each other and into each others mouths.
Nowadays everyone is supposed to be clothed in white shirts with a red scarf. Once everyone has arrived, the city banner is unfurled on the highest rock, which shows the beginning of a religious mass. In the morning the Wine Battle happens. All weapons are allowed during this outrageous battle: buckets, wineskin, sprayers and anything else that can be used to hurl, spray or launch thousands of litres of wine all over the crowd.
After battling for some hours, around midday everyone heads back to Plaza de la Paz, where the celebration continues with lots of food, drinks and people. Later in the evening activities take place in the town’s bull ring. The bulls used are actually smaller female heifers known as “vaquillas”, which much less dangerous than male bulls and are used to entertain the general public by chasing people around. The bulls at this event aren’t killed.
If you want to come along, please check where you can get your wine fight accommodation.