Our experts round-up the best beer and wine festivals from around the world.
Bandol Wine Festival, Provence
The Fête-du-Millésime is a jolly affair in the French manner — a little place letting rip in a big way. Wine growers put on fancy dress to show off the year’s vintage straight from the barrel. These aren’t finished wines — the rosés and whites, for instance, won’t be ready until next spring .
These are the works in progress, and they will indicate how the vintage will turn out. Then, if you wish to tackle proper, bottled Bandol wines, you may visit the Maison des Vins opposite the casino or, as I was doing, go inland to call on the growers.
When? November 30-December 1, 2013
Wine Down Under
During the first quarter of the year Australia uncorks its finest wines across Victoria to Tasmania, but it is the verdant plains of South Australia that hold some of the very best, starting with the Crush Festival in the Adelaide Hills, where 30 wineries open up cellar doors. This is followed by the Harvest Festival McLaren Vale, which celebrates the region’s finest food, wines, music and art. The climax, however, is the Cellar Door Wine Festival in Adelaide, which offers unlimited tastings from more than 150 wineries across the Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Coonawarra and the Limestone Coast.
When? January-February 2014
Mosel wine festivals
Although most European wine festivals are held in the autumn, the partying starts early in the picturesque towns, villages and vineyards lining the banks of the Moselle, with a host of festivals getting under way in the spring. Whether it is celebrating the best of the new wine from the most recent harvest or larger affairs involving local foods, music and the crowning of a wine queen, the region celebrates its finest product in style — and, in vino veritas, shows a gentler side to the Germans at play.
When? The festivals start around Easter and run until the end of September 2014
The festival celebrating the grape harvest, and autumn in general, combines with the feast of the Nativity of Our Lady in Jerez to provide an excuse for up to three weeks of partying, involving sherry-drinking, horse-riding displays and flamenco dancing. The main events usually open with a grand procession in which the newly crowned Queen of the Vintage, surrounded by “handmaidens”, is carted around the town, finally arriving in the Plaza de Arenal.
When? Around September 8 2014 (provisional)
Chianti Wine Festivals
On the second and third long weekends in September (Thursday to Sunday), two of Chianti’s main wine enclaves celebrate the forthcoming harvest with street music, food and the opportunity to taste Chianti Classicos from plenty of local producers. Of the two, Panzano’s “Vino al Vino” event offers the greatest range of wines and festivities.
The mother of all beer festivals, this one commemorates the wedding in October 1810 of Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen and now attracts six million visitors a year. The beers, all of which are brewed in Munich, are served only in stonking great litre glasses and are accompanied by roast chicken and giant pretzels. Oompah music and thigh- slapping Bavarians dressed in lederhosen and dirndls are the order of the day.
Compiled by Anthony Peregrine, Charles Starmer-Smith, Adrian Bridge, Nick Trend and Lee Marshall
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