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Wine tourism events abound in the Rioja region. Every week our cities, towns and individual wineries organize activities for visitors and locals alike. Here are three of the most popular events for you to enjoy.
The Haro Train Station Experience (June 20)
The opening of the railway line from Tudela to the port of Bilbao in 1863 facilitated the shipment of Rioja wines to world markets. It was therefore logical that the Rioja wineries founded in the last third of the 19th century in Haro would be built near the station.
Six wineries in this historic railway station district – the highest concentration of 100-plus year old wineries in the world, will celebrate the fourth experience on June 20. CVNE, Gómez Cruzado, La Rioja Alta, Viña Pomal-Bodegas Bilbaínas, Muga and Roda will open their doors to consumers, each offering two wines and a tapa. The event will feature workshops and live music. Advance tickets are on sale for 84 euros at lacatadelbarriodelaestacion.com
One day before the main event, a limited number of consumers will be able to participate in a masterclass led by Josep Roca, the sommelier at El Celler de Can Roca, a three-Michelin starred restaurant voted the best restaurant in the world by Restaurant in 2013 and 2015.
A novelty this year is changing the date of the event for professionals from the day before the consumer event to April 27.
Harvest festivals: In the Rioja region we celebrate two festivals in September, one specifically for wines from the Alavesa region and the San Mateo festival that takes place in Logroño.
The Rioja Alavesa Harvest Festival (September 13) http://www.fiestadelavendimiariojaalavesa.com/es/
The 27th annual Rioja Alavesa Harvest Festival will take place on September 13 in Lanciego. The celebration, held in a different town in the Alavesa every year, features the pressing of the first grapes, tastings of wineries from the area, regional dances, Basque sporting events (jai alai and woodchopping) and a lunch. The cost, 7 euros, includes a tasting glass and tickets to taste five wines.
The Rioja Harvest Festival (September 19-23)
The 64th annual Rioja harvest festival celebrating the traditional start of grape picking in the Rioja region, will take place this year from September 19th through the 23rd, beginning with the chupinazo or launching of the rocket at Logroño’s City Hall and ending with the burning of the cask by Logroño’s peñas (social clubs).
The five days of festivities include the pressing of the first grapes and offering of grape juice to the Virgin of Valvanera on September 21st (St. Matthew), a Basque jai alai tournament, bullfights, regional handicraft and food stands, wine and food tastings organized by the peñas and concerts.
A highlight of the festival is the vibrant atmosphere in the old town, filled with tapas bars and restaurants, where locals and visitors rub elbows to enjoy great food and wine.