Celebrating the Great Wine Harvests of the World
Get ready to breathe in the crisp autumn air, stomp some grapes, and sip some fabulous wines. These fun and relaxed wine harvest festivals are a blast for serious connoisseurs and wine newbies alike.
Montmartre Wine Harvest Festival • Paris, France
Wine harvests in Paris? Oooo la la! The iconic Montmartre hill, on which beautiful Sacre Cœur Basilica sits, was historically a wine producing area – and in fact a small area of vineyards still remains. Official known as the Fête des Vendanges de Montmartre, this wine harvest festival takes place in October. The festival celebrates Montmartre’s grape harvest which is still very much alive to the surprise of both visitors and even locals. The yearly event is all about tasting wine and fine food, such as cheeses and chocolates. Festival goers can expect several days of festive celebration, exhibitions, a great parade, concerts and musical fireworks at Sacre Cœur Basilica!
Paso Robles Harvest Wine Weekend • Paso Robles, California
The small Central Coast town of Paso Robles celebrates the new vintage with more than 130 wineries holding their own events during the third weekend in October. While a notably cool summer coupled with a slighter, later bud break from a sluggish spring could have the local wine industry predicting a much later harvest, the festivities continue on. Wineries hold their own individual events, everything from novelty grape stomping to intimate winemaker dinners and wine seminars. The area also has hot springs, in case you need some liquid therapy afterwards. The drive to Paso Robles from either San Francisco or L.A. along the Pacific Coast Highway is truly spectacular.
Vendimia Festival • Jerez, Spain
For three weeks in September, the city of Jerez, in Andalucía, sherry capital of the world, becomes a hive of wine-related excitement – starting with the Grand Procession. The Queen of the Vintage occupies the seat of honor in the parade and is surrounded by her handmaidens, all chosen from the beautiful girls of Jerez, wearing white dresses and blue silk scarves, representing the white chalky soil and blue sky that give life to the vines. Children swarm by, hoping to catch sweets thrown down from the floats by courtiers. During the next few days there are bullfights in honor of the ladies of Jerez, a horse show, art exhibition, and lots of flamenco dancing.
Harvest Festival • McClaren Vale, South Australia
The Harvest Festival celebrates of the diversity of fine Australian food, world-class wines, music and the arts from the McLaren Vale region, located just over 20 miles south of Adelaide in South Australia. This picturesque annual event is held in January and is all about fun and family, with plenty of activities to keep children entertained: from face painting and craft lessons, to pizza making and pony rides. For adults there is the chance to meet celebrity chefs, watch cooking demonstrations and join in cheese, olive oil, beer and wine master classes. A boulevard of stalls offers tantalizing local regional fare. The day extends into the evening with musical performances in an open air concert.