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Wine Blog


A popular Spanish saying tells us that if August is for ripening grapes, September is for harvesting them. And it just so happens that September is easily one of the best months to visit La Rioja.

Large expanses of vineyards and their crop’s importance make this the biggest and most popular month of the year in La Rioja, and it comes with patron saint festival days and celebrations throughout the entire region.

The Rioja wine Designation of Origin is the oldest in Spain and is world renowned. It’s further categorized into Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa, and Rioja Oriental (Eastern Rioja), three regions featuring 100 kilometers of vineyards and towns whose landscape is intimately tied to the cultivation of grapes and the production of wine.

For those unfamiliar with the harvesting process, after the grapes have ripened, it’s time to collect them. This has traditionally been done by hand, and many wineries still do it this way. It’s hard work that begins first thing in the morning when the sun is still low in the sky. Workers travel down each row of grapes, cutting the clusters from the vine with a bill hook, a small, scythe-shaped knife. They collect the grapes in wicker baskets, which, once full, are emptied into a tractor or cart that transports the grapes to the winery. The harvest can last anywhere from 30 to 40 days depending on the size of the vineyard.

Recolecta de uvas

Due to its cultural importance and significance, the Spanish government considers the Rioja Wine Harvest Festival to be “of national interest.” Have you ever experienced one of Spain’s regional festivals?

Within each village, they’re the most anticipated days of the year; the whole town hits the streets to come together, celebrate, and dance. A full lineup of traditional, cultural, and recreational activities makes for an atmosphere of joy and revelry throughout the town.

In Briones in 2023, we’ll be celebrating the Feast of Santísimo Cristo de los Remedios from September 15th to the 21st. There, you can see dancers wearing traditional regional dress out in the cobblestone streets, accompanied by dulzaina and tamboril music. The festival features an extensive program of events, from traditional dance parties in the streets to food and wine tastings, the running of the (young) bulls, and one of the standout events, the Wine Battle, an exciting activity where everyone ends up dyed the characteristic purple color of red grapes.

The Feast of San Mateo in Logroño is also of particular significance. It will take place this year from September 16th to the 23rd for those who’d like to extend their stay and enjoy both places’ festivities.

September is unique in La Rioja; come experience it with us at Santa María Briones.

For further information and booking:
+ 34941991599

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