exaltación del vino

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If there is a perfect time to visit Jumilla, it has to be during the Feria and Fiestas of August.  There is something to suit everyone: whether you like drinking good wine;  prefer listening to traditional music; love watching colourful processions or, like us,  enjoy all of these activities.  I have included the programme up to and including the first weekend of the festivies.

As you can see Friday is going to be a busy day with the official launch of the fiestas, including firing a rocket from the Town Hall balcony and the inauguration of the fountain of wine. If you don’t mind late nights, there is free entry to the Folklore Festival, which starts at midnight.

Wine lovers should put Saturday 10 August in their diaries now! The popular miniferia del vino will take place between 12.00 and 15.00 in the Jardín del Rey Don Pedro.  Last year all we paid was 3€ for a wine glass, then we strolled around the many wine stands tasting the best wines from Jumilla. What’s not to like? Also on Saturday, there will be a parade around town of all the groups taking part in the Folklore Festival, starting at 21.00, followed by a performance in the Patio I.E.S. Arzibispo Lozano at the more civilised time of 22.00.

Culture buffs shouldn’t miss the Moors and Christians procession starting at 21.00 on Sunday 11 August. Grab a table on Calle Cánovas de Castillo (there will be a charge) so you can enjoy a drink while watching, or bring your own chair and fight for a space along the processional route. Music, dancing, drama: the Gran Desfile de Moros y Cristianos has it all.

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Fuente del Vino

Dear Reader

Having read the sad story about our failed attempt to buy tickets for the Gran Fiesta last year, I am sure you will be delighted to hear that our campaign this year was more successful.

John and I started queueing outside the new Roque Baños Sociocultural Centre at 5pm.  Much to our amazement, what looked like 100 Jumillanos were ahead of us in the queue, and there were barriers in place so that an orderly queue was formed.  We had been told that they would start selling the tickets at 8pm and there would be a limit of two per person. 

Our friends Lesley and John arrived at 5.30 and they too were amazed to see the well behaved queue (this is Spain after all!).  Plan A was then put into operation, as our friend John took my place in the queue and I joined Lesley in the bar, where we ordered a bottle of Taus, one of our favourite local red wines.  A man started complaining when John appeared, until we explained that he was only replacing me in the queue and that I was going off to drink wine with Lesley.  I noticed several of the women nodding their approval of this scheme!

We were good to the boys: taking our turn in the queue and also leaving them more than half of the bottle of wine.  We rang them after one hour, just in case they forgot to come back for their next shift!  They got to the front of the queue at about 8.30 and returned, clutching their tickets triumphantly.

“Was it worth it?”  I hear you ask.  Was it worth it!

The sky wasn't looking very promising

We parked at Salones Pio XII just after 9pm, and our first concern was the stormy looking clouds overhead.  Not long afterwards, John said “Was that lightning or was it a flash from somebody’s camera?”  His question was answered by a loud roll of thunder. 

We could see that the tables had all been set up outside.  Hmm.  I know it is August and we are in Spain, but there had been rain only a few nights ago and hadn’t the organisers spotted all those dark clouds?

Luckily the organisers’ optimism was rewarded, and the clouds moved away. The evening started with lots of speeches (this is Spain after all!) and everybody looked hopefully towards the tables where local bodegas had set out lots of bottles of wine, but to no avail.  We had some chilled bottles of water to stop us getting thirsty, however clearly there was to be no vino until the opening speeches had been concluded.

Where's the vino?

I thought the clapping at the end of the last and longest speech was particularly heartfelt, and then everybody headed off happily towards the tables of wine.

Earlier in the day we had all gone for a guided walk around Jumilla, showing off the sights of our town to a group of nine Brits from Calasparra, followed by an excellent menú del día that we had booked for them at Restaurante San Agustín.  We hadn’t eaten again before going out for the evening, which was lucky, as more and more plates of delicious food kept on appearing.  Eventually even I had to say “no”!

It wasn’t just the good food and wine, or the lovely surroundings in the gardens at Salones Pio XII: the party atmosphere was really great.  Lots of Spanish friends and neighbours came over to greet us and have a chat, so we introduced our friends to Lesley and John, who in turn introduced John and me to their friends. 

Everybody was having a good time, as Lesley put it, “without being rowdy or anybody getting drunk”.  There must have been almost 1,500 revellers there celebrating the start of the Feria y Fiestas de Jumilla, and the only problem was the long queue of cars, as people made their way home at the end of a brilliant evening!

Alceño, one of the many bodegas taking part

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