The first time we had heard of the Water and Wine festival was when we booked our tour for Tomatina and there was a £20 add on for it. The tour company rep did a good job of selling it to us and we signed up straight away when we heard it involved a water fight with the locals and a bunch of free wine.
Roll forward a few months and we looked in to the festival and were a bit surprised by some of the details.
We would be leaving our hotel in Valencia shortly after 8pm in the evening to get to a small village called Requena where the festival is held, an hour or two’s drive from Valencia. The festival would kick off around 11pm and go on until our bus would take us back at 4am. So we would be getting back to our hotel and in to bed about two hours before we would have to be getting up for La Tomatina the next day. Eek.
With the late night in mind, we planned ahead with some redbull, a giant bottle of cheap wine and also sorted out our vessels for the evening. The vessels came in handy for the wine part of the festival where trucks with big wine vats wind around the village pouring wine in to everyone’s cups, buckets, bottles or, in my case, watering cans.
Before the wine trucks roll in, the festival starts in the village’s bull ring with dueling local bands supporting their teenage boys in a “coming of age” thing where they play at being acrobatic matadors with young bulls. The bulls aren’t harmed at all so it sounded like fun but we opted to save the cash for the entry to the bull ring and relaxed outside playing drinking games instead.
It happened to roll over to Jono’s birthday when it hit midnight so we decided to get the party started by soaking him in wine.
The plan after leaving the bull ring was to just follow the local bands around a long circuit of the village and fill up with wine whenever a truck stopped near us. Locals lined the streets and helped us wash off the wine by tipping buckets of water or turning hoses on the chanting crowds below (“AGUAAAA, AGUAAAAA” etc).
It didn’t take long before the rest of us were as soaked as Jono.
The wine actually didn’t taste half bad so we did end up drinking plenty of it (at least some of us did) and were getting a bit merry by the end. It kept us warm while being soaked in water though so it was probably a good thing.
It got a bit mad later on with the crowds all pushing to get wine but rather than trying to describe it , here’s a bit of a montage from the night.
Roll on a few hours and we were struggling out of bed to pelt each other with tomatoes but that’s another blog I think…