MOST sensible people prefer to drink a glass of wine rather than wear it, but one Mallorca village celebrates its annual grape harvest with a messy free for all, and it’s a lot more fun than you’d think!
Not a lot of fiestas have taken place in Spain due to Covid restrictions, but hopefully The Festa des Vermar in Mallorca is a sign of the fun festivals to come.
The annual grape festival, Festa des Vermar, also called Sa Vermada, marks the end of the grape harvesting season in mid-September and includes parades, grape-crushing competitions, a wine tasting contest and a grape-throwing battle.
This wine fair has been cancelled twice due to Covid, but is expected to go-ahead on September 24-26 in Binissalem, a town famous for its wine located in the centre of the island between Lloseta and Inca.
The Festa des Vermar dates back to the 18th century. Today it sees the town decorated and locals getting dressed up in traditional costume. Grape-treading and a grape-throwing are popular parts of this fun fiesta during which hundreds of revellers throw grapes at each other until everyone is soaked in purple grape juice.
The celebrations usually begin with a reception for the grape pickers and grape harvesters at the Town Hall, accompanied by the traditional music of the xeremiers (pipe players).
Grape treading competitions take place in the church square where groups of people have 3-4 minutes to tread as much juice as possible from two bags of grapes. But the highlight of the festival is definitely the grape-throwing battle.
It’s recommended people taking part wear old white clothes that they don’t mind ruining, as it gets messy! Grape throwing is similar to the famous tomato fight in Valencia, and attracts mainly young participants with those not wanting to stain their clothes standing well back.
The correfoc (fire run) is also popular, involving dozens of performers disguised as devils parading through the streets lighting fireworks and performing fire dances.
There’s also a variety of historical floats featuring folk songs and traditional dancing.
The final day of the festival sees traditional entertainment in the main square, with the Binissalem giant puppets accompanied by xeremiers and wine served in the church square.