In this juiced-up battle, the grapes have already been squished and fermented, so participants need only wineskins, plastic jugs, trashcans, water guns, or crop sprayers to spill, spritz, and splash the other 9,000 revelers at the Batalla del Vino or “Wine Battle,” in Haro, part of Spain’s Rioja region.
Held at the end of June every year, the alcoholic affray symbolizes a past dispute over the ownership of the Bilibios Mounts with a neighboring village. After the town holds a giant mass, there is a procession to the hills, and between 8,000 and 10,000 gallons of wine are poured, allaying every average diner’s bafflement: “Who needs a sommelier? Just plonk it down here!”
While participants arrive dressed in all whites – the crowd looks as if it’s auditioning for a Philadelphia Cream Cheese commercial – they leave with shirts and skin stained lavender. There hasn’t been this many purple lunatics since the big Tinky Winky versus Barney the Dinosaur match at Caesar’s Palace.