Wine Fight Haro History
The story of the wine fight and how it began!
Wine Fight History
Pronounced by the Spanish Government as a festival of touristic and national interest in 1965 the Haro Wine Festival and accompanying Wine Fight has become one of the major wine festivals in Spain.
Actually dating back over a millennium to the 6th century, the festivals origins pay homage to the Patron Saint of Haro, San Felices, after whose death pilgrimages began to the very spot where he was buried in the caves of Riscos de Bilibio.
The pilgrimages continued for many hundreds of years eventually evolving into what developed as wine baptisms in the 20th Century, leading to wine celebrations and festivities and giving birth to the modern day Wine Fight.
Some other theorists believe the wine fight dates back to the 12th Century and is the result of a land dispute between Haro and the closest village of Miranda del Ebro. A legal ruling in 1237 made mention that Haro's town officials must mark their borders with purple flags each year on San Pedro's Day and on the first Sunday of each September and if they failed to do so then the land would be returned to Miranda del Ebro's authority. Its thought that during the townspeople congregating for the flag raising on those dates, celebrations and mass services began to take place which eventually led to the famous tradition that we now know as the La Batalla del Vino - or more simply as the WINE FIGHT or BATTLE OF THE WINE. It was around the year 1710 that there was an actual historical recording of there being a wine fight in the towns archives.
Surely the truth of the festivals history relates to both of the above theories but whatever its actual origin, the Wine Fight of Haro is definitely an amazing experience and certainly a very unique experience and one that must be seen to actually be believed.
The Wine Fight Festival nowadays is still primarily attended by Spanish locals and has a real authentic feel to it unlike the more touristic food fight of La Tomatina. The festivities actually begin a week before the wine fight as the towns 10,000 inhabitants embrace culture, art, live performances, comedy and much much more as part of the Wine Festivals program of events.
However you decide to experience the wine fight in Haro, we're certain you'll love the craziness, and totally free spirited way in which the locals party with their children and elderly alike.
The story of Haro town and its place in the world!
Haro Town History
For most, it will be the lure of fine wine that will bring them to the small town of Haro in La Rioja, Northern Spain.
However this town has a long rich history, is a thriving arts and cultural destination in the North and has a fantastic architectural heritage.
The Spanish Government was (and is) so enamoured with the old town that it was actually declared a Historic-Artistic site in 1975. This legal statement attributed to the town, provides Haro with architectural and artistic protection and governance by the ministry and the ministry must be consulted for any town planning, building works etc within the limits of the old town.
Many world famous Bodegas (Wineries) are located right in the centre of the town making Haro - the capital of Rioja - a must visit destination for wine lovers.
It is supposed that the founding of Haro occurred during Medieval times and was named such because of a lighthouse at the village of Cerro de la Mota which lit up the mouth of the Ebro River. The word "lighthouse" translates in Spanish to Faro and so, during the evolution of Castilian Spanish, the name of the area became Haro (pronounced ARO - silent H).
The Roman Empire controlled Hispania (the Iberian Peninsula) between 220BC and 20BC during which time a fort, which was named Castrum Bibilium, was constructed outside the village in what is now known as the Cliffs of Bilibio. It is in the shadow of this ancient fort at the foot of the Cliffs of Bilibio that the Wine Fight of Haro now takes place each year on the 29th of June.
The first recorded mention of Haro was by King Garcia Sanchez the third of Navarre in 1040 when the town, after the death of Rioja's leader the Castilian Magnate García Ordóñez, was placed under the protection of the areas Tennant in Chief Diego López I de Haro. The first of the lords of Biscay to attach the name of the town to their patronymic, was Diego's son, Lope Díaz I de Haro.
Haro, whilst a town steeped in tradition, has also always been liberal and innovative and was, in fact, the very first town in all of Spain to have electric street lighting installed.
A fascinating historical past that provides a magnificent current backdrop for tourism no matter what time of the year you plan to visit.
Don't forget the most famous of the regions Fiestas though - the Wine Fight of Haro on the 29th of June each year.