If you fancy timing your holiday around a fun festival, then look no further than these festivals that honour the local tipple. Travel to these top destinations and raise a glass with the locals - one of our favourite ways to get to know a new country:
Mendoza Harvest Festival, Argentina
As famous for its wine as it is for its vibrant culture, Argentina blends the two each year at the spectacular Mendoza Harvest Festival – a grand fiesta celebrating the region’s favourite tipple, complete with parades, performances and glamorous ‘wine queens’. Taking place in the first week of March, each district in the region elects its ‘harvest queen’; a serious business in this part of the world, and once queens are chosen, they’re paraded through Mendoza in allegorical vehicles to meet their adoring subjects.
The coming days bring an endless motorcade of wagons and stagecoaches, vintage cars and mounted gauchos, with musicians and performers providing the sideshow. At the end of the week more than 20,000 spectators then pile in to the enormous Greek amphitheatre to watch a 400-strong cast perform a vibrant show that tells the story of Mendoza’s long love affair with wine.
The original and largest, Oktoberfest takes place every year in Munich from late September to October, with an average of about 6 million visitors annually. Running since 1810, the festival only serves beer brewed within the Munich city limits – and in 2007, nearly seven million litres of draft were consumed.
Craft Beer Festival, Bangkok
Gaining an increased following of late is the craft beer revolution, as beer drinkers’ taste-buds evolve from the stuff of mass produce to the independent and traditional. Bangkok’s first ever Craft Beer Festival took place this summer, with the goal of promoting craft beer in Thailand, and served up over 50 brews from around the world.
Saijo Sake Festival, Japan
If clear and potent is more your thing, the Saijo Sake Festival in Japan may well be worth adding to your list. Saijo, in the province of Higashi-Hiroshima, is known for its sake and is home to ten breweries. Over 900 types are available to try in ‘Sake Square’ alongside live music, brewery tours and parades, and the festival attracts almost 200,000 people each year.
California Wine Festival
California is the king of wine production, thanks to its generous portion of annual sunshine, and this festival celebrates all that’s grape, sorry great, about one of our favourite states. Pair up your wine-tasting with locally produced artisan cheeses and bread, whilst listening to live music and you’ve got a decent afternoon on your hands.
Arthur’s Day, Ireland
A recently-coined festival celebrated throughout Ireland in ode to Arthur Guinness and his infamous drink, Arthur’s Day had its inaugural celebration on the black stuff’s 250th birthday in 2009, when people were asked to raise a pint at 17.59pm as a nod to the year that the brewery was founded. Since then it’s continued to be celebrated every year in September, with a stellar line-up of musicians and bands playing a series of free gigs. To Arthur!