It’s never too early to begin planning your next big wine adventure. All too often we hear about an incredible event either right before it occurs or right afterward, making it impossible to partake in the festivities (picture us raising a fist to the sky right now). So, as we sit here in the gloom of winter, we thought we’d give you a chance to take out your calendar and add a few “save-the-dates” to your yearly agenda.
Are you a wine-loving runner? We’ve basically found the best marathon in the universe for you. Are you more interested in getting your hands dirty . . . with wine? You’re a moment away from reading about your dream event. If you end up making it to any of these fine gatherings, shoot us a note and send a photo! We’d love to hear your tale.
Le Marathon Du Medoc
Registration opens up later this month for the 30th Medoc Marathon. Each year, the folks from the Commanderie du Bontempts (of the Left Bank Bordeaux Cup) host the most incredible marathon on the planet. The event, which will take place on September 13th, is a run in which participants dress in costumes based on the current year’s theme — this year’s theme is ‘Carnival’ — and run a 42.195km marathon through the vineyards of Medoc. Did we mention that you’re drinking along the way?
Haro Wine Festival
Rather travel to Spain this year? On June 29th, in the town of Haro in the La Rioja region of northern Spain, locals and tourists celebrate the patron saint San Pedro with the Haro Wine Festival, which includes the Batalla de Vino (Battle of Wine). The day begins at 7AM with a procession of people carrying jugs, bottles and other containers filled with red wine. The procession is led by the town’s mayor, on horseback, and winds through the streets of the town. The event ends with a mass, which is followed by the Battle of Wine (it has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?). Around noon, following the Battle, participants head back to the city for more festivities and, of course, a bullfight.
If you’re already over in France for the Medoc Marathon, it might be worth your while to take a little trip to Germany for the world’s largest wine festival, Wurstmarkt, which will be held from September 12th through September 22nd. The festival, which first occurred in 1417 (under a different name), attracts over 600,000 visitors each year and offers the opportunity to enjoy 150 different wines in 50 different places across the festival. Plus, how could you resist the chance to see the largest wine barrel in the world??
Wine Festival Of Cyprus
Since 1961, this annual festival in Limassol, Cyprus has celebrated wine and winemaking. The Wine Festival of Cyprus, which will be held on August 30th through September 9th (leaving you just enough time to head to France for the marathon), is regarded as a revival of ancient festivals honoring Dionysus, the god of wine, and Aphrodite, the goddess of beauty and love. Each year, locals and tourists gather together to partake in the free wine tastings and merriment, including Greek music and dancing. We think their motto sums up the event (and our feelings toward wine) quite nicely: “Drink wine, it gives you life!” (Πίνε κρασί, νάσιεις ζωή).
The Festival Of La Saint Vincent Tournante
Unfortunately, you’ll have to wait until 2015 to partake in the Saint Vincent Tournante, a festival held in Burgundy, as the current year’s festivities occurred late last month (the festival is always held on the Sunday closest to January 22nd). That said, as we noted earlier, it’s never too early to plan! Each year, about 40,000 people attend the festival to participate in this medieval tradition that pays homage to the patron saint of winemakers, Saint Vincent. The event is quite the sight, as it’s kicked off with a procession of winemakers, clad in bright red robes, carrying antique wooden statues of Saint Vincent through the vineyards. Like the Haro Wine Festival, the procession is followed by mass, which is then followed by the tasting of wines by local winemakers. The festival, which is said to date back to the Middle Ages, was revived in 1938 and is held in a different community each year.