Every year on the 29th of June, thousands of locals and a handful of lucky tourists climb a mountain in La Rioja, Spain, and throw wine on each other.
The day is St Peter’s Feast Day, though you’d be lucky to find a local who could tell you so, and the event is known around these parts as La Batalla de Vino de Haro, or the Wine Fight.
The wine fight starts the night before, on the evening of the 28th. This is the biggest party night that Haro sees, and includes the whole town in the streets, from children to grandparents, partying the night away in the town’s streets, bars and town squares.
After a few hours sleep, or none at all (the street parties literally go all night), the town heads up a mountain 5kms away to cover each other in wine, dance to wine soaked bands and to kiss wine covered mouths. There are water trucks filled with wine distributing wine to water pistols, back mounted spraying devices, into buckets which are indiscriminately poured on heads and into anything else that can hold, and then dispel, vino tinto.
After a few hours the fight descends the mountain and moves into the town, where the only battling is done with traditional dances and general revelry – the kind that can only be induced by hours of red wine incidentally pouring down one’s throat.
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