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The firing of the chupinazo signals the start of a week of Celebrations and partying. Second only to the San Fermines of Pamplona, the annual harvest festival at the Rioja Region of Northern Spain draws hundreds of thousands of revellers from all over Spain. Over the course of the Week, there will be Morning Running of the Bulls, Evening Bull Fights, Gigantes (Big Heads) Parade, Traditional Grape Treading, Wine Splashing Battle and endless Wine Tastings.  To the writer, The San Mateo Wine Festival of Logrono is a Lost and Found.  It was many years ago after visiting relatives in Santander, I came across a town in the Rioja Region and witnessed an unusual ritual.

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There were groups of young men standing with hands over each other’s shoulder singing and chanting in giant open wooden barrels, stomping and treading over mountains of freshly picked grapes.  Years gone by and I have lost track of the name of the Town where I witnessed that very memorable moment of seeing the local town people truly celebrating their harvest and not just staging a show for visiting tourists. Recently while updating the contents of our Camino de Santiago itineraries, I came across the above posters and it just dawn on me that the Festival is still being celebrated and the red grapes are still the best in the World.