Cheers To The Autumn’s Best Wine Festivals
Where grapes are being harvested and new vintages being tasted, there are festivals for you to enjoy: from celebrations in a tiny Paris vineyard to a festival that showcases South African wine to Soweto and a parade of giant bugs.
Holiday Lettings offers a heady blend of unique places for you to raise a glass to the new season.
Fête des Vendanges, Paris, France
Forget Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne – there’s a charming, working vineyard hidden on top of Montmartre hill, in the shadow of Sacré-Coeur. It celebrates the wine harvest every October during the Fête des Vendanges. So why not mix France’s most enjoyable pastime with a trip to your favourite city?
If you’re in Paris this October, will you succumb to a trip to the twentieth Salon du Chocolat? (No need to answer – it’s obvious). You could also see a rare collection of Japanese artist Hokusai’s art at the Grand Palais, or visit the Musée D’Orsay’s terrific new exhibition featuring works by Goya, Rodin and Picasso. It’s almost as irresistible as the chocolate show.
Festa della Filoxera, San Sadurni, Spain
Brightly decorated and illuminated statues of insects parade through San Sadurni d’Anoia to mark the historic salvaging of vines from a plague of bugs. Yes, this was over a hundred years ago, and, yes, the party’s still going strong.
The town’s at the epicentre of Penedès Wine Country. You can tour Codorniu’s modernist cellar where the first Spanish sparkling wines were produced, ride a miniature train round Freixenet’s property or visit the Cava Martín Soler winery: based in a 17th-century farmhouse set in lush vineyards, it makes only cava.
Soweto Wine and Lifestyle Festival, Soweto, South Africa
Crack open the Pinotage! This festival offers local wine and wine culture to Soweto: the region has a long history of producing wines, but 80% of the local population had little experience of them. It has just celebrated its 10th birthday – here’s to the next 10.
A trip to Soweto provides a fascinating glimpse into colourful local life. Bungee jump from the top of a power station tower, walk down the street where Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela lived, and visit the Hector Pieterson Museum.
Mostra del Chianti, Montespertoli, Italy
Do you really need a reason to honour Chianti (particularly a good Classico)? If you do, this is it: the Mostra del Chianti offers wine-themed parades, musical evenings and opportunities to sample delicious local foods … plus numerous Chianti flasks to admire and sample.
Visit Montespertoli’s Museo della Vite e del Vino (Museum of Life and Wine): their laboratory of the senses helps you analyse the sounds, scents and flavours of local wines. Tour castles, historic country homes and rustic farmhouses or enjoy the beautiful, rolling Tuscan hills at the slow pace of a traditional horse-drawn wagon.
SulaFest, Nashik, India
SulaFest blends all the best things in life, from music and food to wine. It’s set in the vineyards of Nasik, India’s principal wine growing region. As the country’s wine culture continues to grow, it attracts a large crowd of wine fans from neighbouring Mumbai.
On the banks of the sacred Godavari river, Nashik’s an enchanting place. You can’t go far without happening upon an exotic temple, vivid bathing ghat or buzzing market. Your can tour pioneering Sula Vineyards and taste their wines: the view from the bar of the rolling vineyards surrounded by hills and lake Gangapur in the distance are stunning.