The city of Mendoza’s biggest party of the year is the National Grape Harvest Festival, dating to 1936.
Fiesta de la Vendimia events begin in January and February throughout the province, and culminate in March, when 40,000 visitors come to celebrate and enjoy the local nectar, awakening the normally sleepy northern city. The city’s fountains spew out wine-colored water and the city is electric with the jubilance that delicious wine can bring.
Wine connoisseurs from around the world and artists from all over South America descend on Mendoza during this time, creating a carnival-like atmosphere in the streets as the worlds of gauchos, international jet setters and Mendocinos (as locals are known) collide.
Activities take place province-wide in the months leading up to the main event with each of the 18 regions of Mendoza selecting a local contestant for the beauty pageant.
Origins of the Vendimia Festival
Celebration of the harvest in Mendoza has come a long way from its puritanical 17th century roots, when wine was mainly utilized for consecration.
Peasants would offer fruit to the deity of the Virgin of Carrodilla, the celestial patron saint of Mendoza’s vineyards.
After the work harvesting was done they were finally able to rest and celebrate.
The more irreverent modern-day celebration goes back to 1936 and has evolved into one of the largest wine festivals in the world.
The grand finale starts on Saturday, March 9th with a live show and the introduction of pageant contestants in the Greek-style Frank Romero Day amphitheater.
On Sunday, beauty contestants ride along floats in a downtown parade and the local wineries give away free samples to spectators.
The flashy main event is on Saturday, March 9th this year and repeats for the next two days, when 25,000 fill the theater to see a Mendoza-cum-Las Vegas style performance.
The show includes live music and the crowning of the ‘Queen of Vendimia’ with a tiara made of grape leaves and vines.
The extravaganza is followed by a large fireworks display, more wine and live music. Those who didn’t secure tickets for the big night can watch it all on a big screen set up in downtown Mendoza’s Plaza Italia. It is also televised across the country.
When the Vendimia Festival is over the party is not — during the second week of March is the Gay Vendimia Festival, which started off as a campy parody but today draws visitors in its own right.
Vendimia Festival 2022
In 2020 the festival was canceled due to the pandemic and in 2021 the festival was online-only.
This year the Vendimia Festival is back!
Visitors can once again enjoy Mendoza’s pleasant fall temperatures, beautiful view of the Andes and the big show, all while enjoying the local libations.
Saturday, March 5 – Monday, Mar 7, 2022
The theme of this year’s show is the ‘Miracle of the New Wine’
- March 5th: ‘Blessing of the fruits’ ceremony.
- March 5th: First parade of the Vendimia ‘Queens’ competing for the title of Queen of Vendimia, on the city streets
- March 6th: ‘Carousel of Vendimia’ A daytime parade including typical ‘cowgirls’ in traditional outfits and on horseback
- March 6th, 10:00p.m.: ‘Central Act’ a huge folkloric production with over 1000 participants, coronation of the ‘Queen of Vendimia,’ ending with fireworks from the nearby Cerro de la Gloria in General San Martin park. The night Mendoza lets its hair down and imbibes in plenty of the featured product.
- March 7th, 10:00p.m.: –The second night repeating the same performance as the previous evening with additional visiting national and international artists
- March 7th, 10:00p.m.:– The third night repeating the grand finale spectacle with additional national and international artists
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• We recommend booking your lodging in advance if heading to Mendoza during Vendimia because the city fills up
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