Jumilla wine festival

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If you’ve got children or grandchildren Monday 12 August is the day to take them to Jumilla, as there is a 2 x 1 offer on fairground rides (it saves you some money too!)  Not only that, but the Cabalgata Infantil del Vino will have lots of entertaining floats for them to watch, starting at 20.30.  As it’s holiday time, you might let them stay to watch the drama between the Moors and Christians being re-enacted on the Paseo at 22.45.  Don’t let them get too close to the sword-play though as they use real swords (we’ve seen the sparks flying!)

If you enjoy witnessing Spanish traditions then Tuesday will be a good day to visit, as there is a procession of all the peñas (local associations) dressed in their traditional costumes and carrying baskets of grapes. They will start parading around town at 20.00, leaving from the Paseo and finishing in the Patio of I.E.S. Arzobispo Lozano. At 21.00 they will offer their grapes to the Niño de las Uvas followed by the grape treading ceremony.


If you are only able to visit Jumilla on one day, and if you enjoy drinking wine, Wednesday 14 August is one of the best days to visit. At 20.30 the Cabalgata Tradicional del Vino will leave the Plaza de Rollo and the colourful floats will slowly wend their way through the streets. I say slowly, because the participants are busy handing out sangria, wine and snacks to all the people eagerly lining the streets.

Thursday is the saint’s day for Jumilla’s patron, Nuestra Señora La Virgen de la Asunción. There will be a special mass for Our Lady at 12.00 in the parish church of Santiago, with the local choir Coral Canticorum, plus a solemn procession in her honour leaving the north door of the church at 20.00.


If like me you enjoy watching horses and carriages, don’t miss the procession at 20.00 on Friday. This will be followed by a free fiesta flamenca on the Paseo at 22.30.

Saturday is the day for the young and young at heart (particularly those with a lot of stamina!). The infamous Gran Cabalgata del Vino attracts thousands of visitors to Jumilla, all aiming to get soaked in red wine. Many people wear white – all the better to show off the wine stains – and they revel in dancing through the streets while wine is poured over them.  Personally I prefer to drink my red wine, but no doubt that is showing my age!

Sunday 18 August will be the last day of this year’s Feria. Mass will be held in Santiago church at 20.00 after which the statue of Our Lady will be carried to the Ermita de San Agustín. This year’s festivities will be finished off in style with a firework display over Jumilla Castle at 24.00. I suspect that after several late nights I will be watching it from our bedroom window!

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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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Here it is folks!  The eagerly awaited event of the year in Jumilla is due to start next weekend –  and I am way behind schedule in posting the details here.  I blame (in no particular order) the Olympics, my summer cold and the difficulty of obtaining advance information about the festivities.

Don’t miss the Fuente del Vino when you visit Jumilla during the Wine Festival: yes, there really is red wine flowing from the fountain in the Jardín de la Glorieta, though I doubt if it is suitable for drinking.  Even John hasn’t tried it!  If you want to attend the inauguration of the wine fountain, it will be held at 21.30 on Friday 10 August.

For wine lovers the first event of interest is the Miniferia del Vino, which will be held in the Jardín del Rey Don Pedro from 12.00 on Saturday 11 August.  Last year we paid the princely sum of 3€ to purchase a wine glass, then wandered slowly round the stands sampling wines from some of Jumilla’s best bodegas.  Luckily each stand provided nibbles to help line our stomachs!  Fortunately we live in walking or staggering distance of the gardens, but if you are driving I suggest you agree well in advance who is to be the designated driver.

The special children’s procession, the Cabalgata Infantil, is on Tuesday 14 August, starting from the Plaza del Rollo at 20.30. It’s great fun though no wine is involved!

You can sample more wine during the Cabalgata Tradicional, which is our favourite procession and which will take place at 20.30 on Thursday 16 August.  Decorated floats parade along the main streets of Jumilla, with the participants handing out samples of wine, sangria and local snacks while dancing to the accompanying bands.  The tables outside the local bars are packed as everyone enjoys a drink while they wait for the procession to reach them.  This is the procession for those of us who like to drink our wine rather than get soaked in the stuff!

The main event for many people, especially the youngsters, is the Gran Cabalgata del Vino, which starts at 19.00 on Saturday 18 August.  My only advice is to wear your oldest clothes, which traditionally should be white, and have a change of clothing for afterwards!  As mentioned earlier, red wine is poured or thrown over the participants, who party through the night.  You will need to have plenty of stamina if you decide to join in the fun!

Click on the following link if  you want to see the full programme for the Fiesta de la Vendimia.  It includes such quirky events as Gran Prix, Jumilla’s own version of “It’s a Knockout”; the launching of the rocket from the town hall balcony to open the Fiesta; the popular grape-spitting competition, a gachamiga-making contest and many more.

Below is a small selection of photos from previous years’ festivities.

Children's procession

Fuente del Vino 2011

Gran Cabalgata - soaked in wine!

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My intention for the last post in July was to give detailed information about the forthcoming Feria y Fiestas de Agosto.  However trying to get advance tourist information in Jumilla is like trying to pull teeth – and isn’t helped by the fact that the Oficina de Turismo is closed until 2nd August! 

There are colourful posters on display all around Jumilla, depicting the 40th Anniversary of the Fiesta de la Vendimia, the 30th Anniversary of the National Folklore Festival and the 25th Anniversary of the Moors and Christians, however there don’t appear to be any leaflets or booklets giving more specific details. 

Research on the internet has given me a few key dates, but all I know about the Moros y Cristianos so far  is that the Noche de las Antorchas will be at 21.00 on Saturday 6th August in the Castle - and the other main events will be taking place between 12th and 16th August.

Moros y Cristianos procession 2010

National Folklore Festival

Music and dance groups from Badajoz, Almerís, León, Tenerife and A Coruña will be performing, as well as the Coros y Danzas de Jumilla.

Saturday 13 August

22.00 Inaugural session in the Jardín de la Glorieta.

Sunday 14 August

13.30 Music and dancing in the streets. The groups will perform in the different barrios of Jumilla.     

18.30 Traditional games.  Paseo Lorenzo Guardiola.

20.00 Sones de España – concert of traditional music.  Julián Santos Auditorium

Monday 15 August

13.30   Music and dancing in the streets. The groups will perform again in the barrios of Jumilla, giving you the opportunity to watch a different group.                 

21.30 Procession of the participating groups from Plaza de Arriba to Jardín de la Glorieta, where the closing gala will take place at 22.00.       

Festival Nacional de Folklore 2010

 The complete programme, plus details about the participating groups, can be found on the FNF website.

Fiesta de la Vendimia

Friday 12 August

21.30 Inauguration of the Fountain of Wine (yes, wine will be flowing!), Jardín de la Glorieta

22.30 Inauguration of the D.O. Jumilla wine stand, Paseo Poeta Lorenzo Guardiola.  This is where you go for your free samples!

Saturday 13 August

08.00 Gran Pitanza Fiesta del la Vendimia in the Plaza del Mercado.  This is a new event, but I gather that it will be going on all day, allowing you to sample various local dishes.

12.00 Miniferia del Vino,  Jardín del Rey Don Pedro.  Sshhh!  So far I haven’t found anything in print or on the web, but my sources have assured me that this popular event will be taking place on Saturday, and it usually starts at 12.00, so we will be heading there hopefully.  It is a great opportunity to try 2 or 3 different wines  and discover your favourites.  (OK, we usually try a few more than that, but we don’t want to be seen favouring a particular bodega!) The usual format is to buy a glass for a few euros then go round the many stands sampling different wines.

Tuesday 16 August

20.30 Cabalgata Infantil.  The children’s procession starts assembling in Plaza del Rollo at 20.00, then goes along the main streets of Jumilla, finishing behind the covered market.

Wednesday 17 August

Día del Niño The day for children of all ages to go along to the fairground, where they are offering 2 x 1 on all the rides.

21.00 Offering of the grapes and first grape juice to the Niño de las Uvas, Jardín de la Glorieta.

Thursday 18 August

11.00 – 13.30 Exhibition of all the floats taking part in the annual competition, Paseo Lorenzo Guardiola.

Cabalgata tradicional 2010

20.30 Cabalgata Tradicional  This is the traditional procession, for those of us who prefer to sample wines rather than getting soaked in the stuff! Again it starts assembling in Plaza del Rollo at 20.00 and follows the same route as the children’s procession. We can definitely recommend this one, as all our friends have enjoyed it.

Saturday 20 August

19.00 Gran Cabalgata del Vino  OK.  If you insist on getting drenched in red wine (don’t wear your best clothes) then head to Avenida de Reyes Católicos and Avenida de Murcia where the procession starts assembling at 18.00, going along the main streets of Jumilla.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you! 

For more details about all the events in the Fiesta de la Vendimia, check the Federation of Peñas website.  Watch this space for further updates, as there will be 4 concerts taking place, but so far I don’t know the dates!

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Even before you see the welcome sign to Jumilla, the Ciudad del Vino, it’s pretty obvious that Jumilla is a wine producing area by the numerous vineyards on either side of the road.  There are olive groves, almond trees, orchards of peaches and pears as well, but it’s the vine that dominates the landscape.

Vineyards at Casa de la Ermita

Wine has been produced in Jumilla since Roman times from which I gather – though history isn’t one of my strong subjects - that Jumillanos have been making wine for a very long time. 

When phylloxera devastated vineyards in France in the middle of the 19th century, there was a resulting boost to Spanish winemaking and particularly in Jumilla where the monastrell grapes were unaffected.  French wine-making immigrants brought their expertise to the area, which was a turning point for Jumilla wines, even though they too were affected by phylloxera at a later date. 

Early exports of Jumilla wine were in barrels and, as they were taken by train to Alicante and shipped from there, the wine was designated as Alicante wine.  The next important stage in the history of Jumilla wine therefore was on 22nd January 1966, when it was granted the right to have its own D.O.  Currently there are 42 bodegas within the D.O. Jumilla and, contrary to rumours, John and I haven’t visited them all.  At the time of writing our total is 13 – lucky for some!

The creation of the Ruta del Vino Jumilla, which is certified as one of the Wine Routes of Spain, was an important step for wine tourism in Jumilla.  Twelve bodegas, two wine shops, one specialist food and drink shop plus seven restaurants are amongst the associates, who all work hard at promoting Jumilla and its wine. 

Last year the Ruta del Vino won a special mention in the national awards for best enoturística initiative for its popular and successful Música entre Vinos events.  Los Chilines vinoteria was also shortlisted, which didn’t surprise us after attending their many excellent winetasting events, including La Gran Cata, one of the year’s highlights, which we will be going to next week.

Times are hard, so Jumilla isn’t resting on its laurels.  One of its biggest export markets is the USA, helped no doubt by the fact that Robert Parker has given 90 points or more to many Jumilla wines over the last few years.  He has recognised that Jumilla wines are extraordinarily good value and commented on their superb price-quality ratio.  Last year the main markets for Jumilla’s bottled wines were the UK, USA and Germany. 

However there are new markets out there and local bodegas are also looking to increase their exports to other countries such as Japan, Russia and Canada.  In spite of the world-wide recession, over 8 million litres of wine were sold in 2010, with a slight increase in the amount of bottled wine, although figures for bulk wine were down. 

This year Jumilla celebrates its 40th Fiesta de la Vendimia, where wine flows from one of the fountains in the city centre, much wine is drunk by both Jumillanos and visitors, and on the last night lots of wine is thrown over the participants.  Not surprisingly, John and I consider that a bit of a waste!

So let’s raise our glasses to Jumilla wine – Salud!

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Jumilla Castillo

Jumilla is the hidden jewel in northeast Murcia.  It is a typically Spanish country town – best known to wine-drinkers for its red wine and many bodegas - and is surrounded by mountains and vineyards.  Anybody staying on the Costa Blanca or Costa Calida who wants to experience the real Spain should venture inland and visit Jumilla.

Most people who visit here say that they are surprised by how big the town is, and you certainly need to spend at least one day in Jumilla to see the main sights and of course to enjoy some of its fine wines!

Wandering through the narrow streets of the old town gives an insight into the fascinating history of Jumilla, which was occupied by the Iberians, Romans and Arabs before the Spanish king Alfonso X re-conquered what was then known as Xumilla for the Kingdom of Castile in 1241.

Jardín del Rey Don Pedro

Important historic monuments include the well-preserved 5th century mausoleum known as El Casón, the impressive 15th century Church of Santiago and the recently restored Castle. The fortress that we see today dominating the skyline was constructed in 1461 by Juan Pacheco, the Marquis of Villena.

Other places worth visiting in Jumilla include several interesting museums, the lovely 19th century Teatro Vico, modernist style houses, as well as charming squares and gardens to explore.

Just outside the town there are several good walks for those of you who enjoy being active, especially in the Sierra de El Carche and Sierra de Santa Ana. If you go to the Sierra de Santa Ana, a visit to the Monasterio and its fascinating museum is a must.

Monasterio at Santa Ana

The good news for those of you on a budget is that a day trip to Jumilla won’t cost you a fortune.  The majority of museums are free and the privately owned Museo Jésus Nazareno only charges 1€, which should not break the bank. 

Contact Walkers Tours of Jumilla if you would like a free guided walk around Jumilla in English (and Scottish!). Sue and John can arrange for you to visit a local bodega for 5€, which includes wine-tasting and snacks, and if you fancy having lunch in Jumilla they are able to recommend several local restaurants, where you can have a delicious menú del día from 8€ including all your drinks.  What are you waiting for?

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Grupo de Coros y Danzas Nazarín

So much has happened since my previous post that I would need to write another book just to relate all the stories!  These are the edited highlights:

Thursday 12th August: Gran de Exultación del Vino.  What a great party that was, as described in my previous post.

Saturday 14 August: National Folklore Festival, with performances in the streets and plazas at 13.00.  Well I was there at 13.00, as were many friends from La Asociación de Amigos de Jumilla who were the hosts, plus two officers from the local police – but where were the performers from the Grupo de Coros y Danzas Nazarín?  They eventually strolled up at quarter past one and by half past the performance had started.  The only problem was the local police had become bored and wandered off, so the Presidente of the Asociación had to direct the traffic!

What I loved about the different groups taking part in the Folklore Festival was the way they all obviously enjoyed performing for us.

At the end of the performance, guess who turned up?  Yes, the local police returned with barriers to stop the traffic coming through.  Sorry, guys, you are a bit too late: we’re all off now for wine and nibbles at the Asociacón’s meeting place!

Except that I didn’t go this year, even though I had an invitation, as John wasn’t feeling well so I had to hurry back home now that I had taken my photos.  I say “hurry”, however I had a slight detour to make.

Saturday 14 August: Miniferia del Vino  We know so many of the local bodegas that it would have been very rude to have ignored this event, wouldn’t it?  Yes, that’s what I thought.  I paid 3€ for a glass and was then able to go round the 13 stands set up by local bodegas in the Jardín del Rey Don Pedro for free tastings.  Not that I had 13 glasses of wine (of course not!) and anyway you don’t get a whole glassful, but I had to say “Hola” to Fina, Fernando, Silvano and many other friends, didn’t I?  And I couldn’t insult them by refusing to try their wine, especially when Silvano was offering his award-winning Monastrell Dulce. “Un poco, gracias!”

Gracias, Silvano!

Saturday 14 August: Entrada Cristiana  Luckily John had recovered by the evening, as we had arranged to meet friends at Bar California so that we could watch the Entrance of the Christians.  This procession has everything: fantastic costumes, music, dancing, drama and a wonderful atmosphere.  At regular points they have a jousting display, however I had to run up the street with my camera to take photos as it didn’t happen opposite our table.

Entrada Cristiana

My photos were a bit dark, which I suspected would be the case, after all the procession was due to start at 10 in the evening.  I say “due to start”, however we weren’t surprised when it started later than that, which is why we had grabbed a table and ordered tapas and a bottle of wine so that we could wait in comfort.

Entrada Cristiana on YouTube

Sunday 15 August: National Folklore Festival with more performances in the street.  We decided to watch the performance in Calle Calvario, as it was a group from Tarragona and we hoped that they would form a casteller or human castle.  We were not disappointed, although they didn’t have much space so it had to be a small castle compared to the nine storeys they usually form in the region of Tarragona.

Building the human castle

On our way back we bumped into Carmelita, who told us to go to a bar up the road where there would be a “comida” at 2pm.  We hadn’t made any plans so the four of us followed her instructions, only to discover that the bar was in a garage! The Asociación de Vecinos de San Antón were providing lunch, sangria and wine for the folk group from Asturias , however we were immediately welcomed, told that we were “Jumillanos” as well as being  ”Ingleses”, and asked whether we wanted sangria or vino.  You cannot beat Spanish hospitality!

They can't stop dancing!

After the meal, a couple of the musicians started playing and the dancers soon joined in.  Over two hours later we continued our journey home.

Monday 16 August: Entrada Mora  Another 10pm start, more or less.  Our previous strategy of getting there early and grabbing a table had proved successful, so this time we headed to Bar Canovas.  A table outside? Tick.  Bottle of wine and tapas? Tick. Camera ready? Tick. Procession starting on time? No way! Not that we minded waiting: sitting outside the bar on a lovely August evening wasn’t exactly a hardship.  We all agreed that, brilliant though the Entrada Cristiana on Saturday night had been, the Entrada Mora was even more exciting.

Entrada Mora

We enjoyed watching a dramatic re-enactment of a damsel in distress being rescued from the dark forces by our hero, although we weren’t really sure what it was all about!  Watch the video below, then if you know more than we do, please leave a comment explaining its significance!

Entrada Mora

Tuesday 17 August: Representación de las Embajadas y Parlamento de Moros Y Cristianos  John and I had stumbled across this last year, and thoroughly enjoyed it, so we persuaded four other Brits to join us on the Paseo Poeta Lorenzo Guardiola.  The performance was a brief history of the Castillo de Jumilla, which was originally held by the Moors until the Christians captured the castle.  Lots of drama and clashing of swords, which incidentally weren’t plastic imitations judging by the sound of metal against metal, with a few sparks flying! 

 

Thursday 19 August: Cabalgata Tradicional  This is the highlight of the Fiesta de la Vendimia so far as John and I are concerned.  We had persuaded several friends to come along and watch this procession, so we decided to book a couple of tables at Bar California.  Being optimistic we arrived at 8pm, although the procession wasn’t due to leave until 8.30.  Our major mistake was ordering a second bottle of wine, just before the procession reached us!  We knew many of the participants, who handed us plastic glasses of wine and sangria, and even small bottles of wine!  The floats were brilliant, the atmosphere was amazing, with lots of music and dancing, and it was lovely to recognise and be recognised by so many of the people taking part.

Cabalgata tradicional

Friday 20 August: Desfile de Carruajes y Caballos  I was due to fly to London on Friday to help my daughter Vicky celebrate her 40th birthday, however I had already packed and I didn’t want to miss the horses and carriages on Friday morning.  I was hoping that for once the event would start on time, however it wasn’t to be.  Still, it was worth the wait to watch the beautiful horses parading past us.

 

Saturday 21 August: Gran Cabalgata del Vino  This is the famous (or should that be infamous?) procession on the final Saturday of the Fiesta de la Vendimia.  To be quite honest, although it’s good to watch (mainly young) people enjoying themselves as they get drenched with red wine, once you have seen it you don’t really need to see it again.  Plus I had an important date in London!  John went though with a couple of friends, so this is his photo.

Apparently 80,000 litres of wine and sangria were sprayed over the 75,000 participants who came from Alicante, Albacete, Valencia and Murcia provinces and even the Canary Islands.  John saw several busloads of people arriving, however in spite of all the strangers in town there were no serious incidents.  I suspect that there were a few sore heads the following day though!

So the Fiesta is over for another year, and life will return to normal – except that we had a message from our friend Toñi, telling us that there is a Fiesta in Torre del Rico and would we like to go there?

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One of the floats from last year's Cabalgata

Help!  I can’t keep up with the action in Jumilla: we attended several events during the National Folklore Festival this weekend; I visited the miniferia del vino on Saturday; we sat outside Bar California with friends, watching the spectacular Entrada Cristiana (with a few Moros managing to sneak into the procession too) and yesterday we enjoyed the hospitality of AAVV San Anton.  No time to report everything, as lots more coming up in the Fiesta de la Vendimia, however I will post some photos once the festivities are over.

This week’s highlights:

Monday 16th August

 22.00 Entrance of the Moors. Procession from Arco de San Roque to Plaza del Rollo.

Tuesday 17th August

20.30 Children´s Procession from Plaza del Rollo to the Mercado via Calle Canovas and Avenida Levante.

22.15  Representation of the Moros and Cristianos embassies: a great spectacle ending with fireworks.

 Wednesday 18th August

 21.00 Offering of the grapes and first must to the Niño de las Uvas. Jardín de la Glorieta.

 Thursday 19th August

 11.00 Exhibition of floats taking part in the Cabalgata. Paseo Poeta Lorenzo Guardiola.

20.30 Cabalgata Tradicional.  The traditional procession leaves from Plaza del Rollo, going through the streets of Jumilla: we like this one as they hand out samples of wine!

 Friday 20th August

12.00 Parade of horses and carriages through the streets of Jumilla: leaving from Teatro Vico, along Calle Cánovas, Avenida de la Asunción, and finishing on Paseo Poeta Lorenzo Guardiola.

 Saturday 21st August

 19.00 Gran Cabalgata del Vino.  This is the infamous procession, where you get soaked in red wine if you get too close to the floats (wear old clothes!), and everybody has a good time.

Soaked in wine

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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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Fiesta de la Vendimia, Jumilla.

During August Jumilla has not just one but four fiestas to look forward to.  There is the renowned Fiesta de la Vendimia, the 29th National Folklore Festival, the XXIV Fiesta de Moros y Cristianos and the Fiesta of the Virgen de la Asunción, the patroness of Jumilla. Yes, it’s party time in Jumilla – and the wine is flowing!

On Saturday night, the opening event of the Fiestas de Moros y Cristianos was held at the newly opened “Roque Baños” Cultural Centre.  We sat outside, enjoying a couple of bottles of good Jumilla wine and some tasty tapas with our friends, while watching the proceedings.  Afterwards we listened to a concert by AJAM (Asociación Jumillana Amigos de la Música), playing several Moors and Christians marches as well as a couple of pasodobles.

The next event in the Fiesta de Moros y Cristianos will be on Saturday 7th August: La Noche de las Antorchas.  This is the first time we have been in Jumilla to watch the torchlight procession up to the Castle, so we are looking forward to it.  We are also hoping to get invitations to the concert in the castle after the procession: Musici Mundi by Jésus Parra.

On Sunday 8th August, Jumilla celebrates the Offering of Flowers to the Virgen de la Asunción.  At 20.00 the procession will leave the Jardín del Rollo, going along Calle Canovas del Castillo to the Church of Santiago.

The Fiesta de la Vendimia will kick off on Thursday 12th August, with the Gran Fiesta de Exaltación del Vino at Salones Pio XII.  Last year we queued up outside the Ayuntamiento, hoping to get tickets, but were disappointed.  If we are luckier this year, I will definitely post some photos on here!  The Gran Fiesta includes lots of good wine, local gastronomic delicacies, music and fireworks: all the ingredients of a great party (or gran fiesta!)  Our fingers are definitely crossed.

In my next post I will tell you more about upcoming events in the Fiesta de la Vendimia as well as the National Folklore Festival.  If you want a copy of our “What’s on in Jumilla” newsletter, fill out the form on the Contact page.

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