Hello wine lovers! I must admit that it was wine that finally got me used to the idea of 2022. Lately I’ve been so caught up in the industry that its calendar is focusing me more than my exam schedule, hahaha! While I was getting ready for my tasting, doing research on Argentine wineries social media accounts and blogs, I learned that at this time of year they’re all getting ready for the Mendoza National Harvest Festival and guess what? What, you did already? I’m planning on going! Let me tell you a little more:
What is The 2022 Mendoza National Harvest Festival?
Basically, it’s a festival to mark the harvest and gathering of grapes: backbreaking work that involves all the main players of the wine world, the teams that work at the wineries, the viticulturalists who spent the year tending to the vines, protecting them from pests, the wind, droughts and frosts, and the harvesters, the stars of the festival, who gather and transport the fruit in the summer sun.
So, it accompanies the process by which new wine is made and similar events held everywhere in the world where grapes are grown. It’s a celebration of all the hard work that has been done and is also an expression of gratitude.
If, like me, you’re a fan of romantic movies, you might have seen a 90s one starring Anthony Quinn, Aitana Sánchez-Guijón and Keanu Reeves called “A Walk in the Clouds”, set at the end of the Second World War which has scenes showing an end of harvest celebration at a California vineyard.
That alone shows you how old and widespread harvest festivals are – they’re as ancient a ritual as the making of wine itself.
What happens in Mendoza
Mendoza is the home of one of the Argentine wines I’ve enjoyed the most in the past few weeks: Festivo Malbec from Bodega Monteviejo. And also another that my wine store guru recommended: he says I need to try Nuna Vineyard Malbec from Chakana Wines, one of Argentina’s leading organic wines.
The 2022 Mendoza National Harvest Festival is a major annual event. Since 1936, the province has honored the wine industry and its workers with a series of traditional events that take place throughout the first week of March. It’s the most important festival of its kind and renowned throughout the world, attracting visitors from near and far.
Just like a lot of people visit New York in November for the Marathon, the Harvest makes March the time to go to Mendoza.
Originally, the festival had a major religious element, and that still holds true with the thanks given to the Virgin of Carrodilla for protecting the vineyards and also at ceremonies where the fruit is blessed – the formal beginning of celebrations that last a week.
During that time a range of events is organized – one of the most popular among all age groups being the desfiles de carrozas, two parades that march through the streets of the city the night before and the morning of the main event.
Said main event is an amazing concert in an open air amphitheater set in a hilly landscape. I’ve loved the videos I’ve seen, there’s amazing folk dances, incredible costumes and so many colors all under the stars.
It seems that tickets sell out pretty fast so, for the past two years they’ve added a couple of extra nights.
But the official party also has several spin offs. In addition to the traditional, historic celebration, the private sector and wine-related institutions also organize their own events to mark the occasion. So there’s a lot of different things to do and options to choose.
Wineries, for example, go all out with their guided tours, tastings and restaurants. It’s also very common to find open air food markets and tastings in different spots in the city. Restaurants prepare special menus in which wine is the protagonist. Of course, it’s all about wine, wine, wine and more wine.
One of the things I’m most excited about is something my mom told me: traveling to Mendoza at this time of year is an opportunity to understand the true spirit of the harvest. Behind all the homages and performances, she told me that the province really is criss-crossed by trucks carrying grapes from the vineyards to the wineries.
You don’t need to get very far away from the cities to see people filling up their baskets in the sun. I love the idea of getting a close hand look at where it all begins: the start of the process that ends with you uncorking your bottle of wine.
Oh, the world is so big and there’s so much to be discovered! You guys have no idea how inspiring I find the idea of all that going on down there in South America and how excited I am at the prospect of enjoying it for myself. Maybe some of it might even rub off on you: what do say? Do you think one day our paths might cross amid all the music and toasting at the foot of the Andes?
Are you tempted? Well, hold on to that thought until the next toast! Here’s to the 2022 Mendoza National Harvest Festival!