Last week, the official programme of the Grape Harvest Festival 2019 was launched. Declared a Festival of International Tourist Interest, it will be celebrated from 31 August to 15 September. In attendance at the presentation were Javier Jesús Gómez Porrua, First Deputy Mayor and Tourism Councillor of Sanlúcar de Barrameda Town Council; Carmen Aumesquet Rodríguez, Promotions Director at the Regulatory Council; and Jaime Serrano Del Río, representing Clínicas Serman, which sponsors of one of the activities of the programme.
This edition, as in previous years, will be dedicated to a town of the Jerez brand – in this case, Sanlúcar de Barrameda. Francisco Camas, Deputy Mayor of Jerez and Delegate of Cultural Dynamization and Historic Heritage, explained that “as an important element within the cities of the Marco, Jerez has committed itself to dedicating this festival to other towns, as was the case in the 1950s. It’s important to develop the sense of unity and cooperation between all the cities that make up the Marco de Jerez.”
Responding to the dedication of this year’s Grape Harvest Festival to Jerez’s neighbouring town of Sanlúcar de Barrameda, the First Deputy Mayor and Tourism Councillor expressed his gratitude to the Jerez City Hall “for the honour of having this festival dedicated to our town. Our neighbouring cities are closely linked by culture, tradition, flamenco, wine and art, but especially by the people and way of life. This initiative will further strengthen the already close bonds between our two towns.”
Commenting broadly, Francisco Camas said: “We have created a full and complete programme, always bearing in mind that this is the festival that most strongly represents our identity as people rooted in our origins, since the wine-making culture is what defines us, and what has provided our social and economic foundation.”
In addition, and in the same way as last year’s festival was dedicated to barrel-making, in this year’s edition, a special dedication will be made to Jerez Vinegar to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the product’s Protected Designation of Origin.
New for this year
Among the most important news for the 2019 Grape Harvest Festival, Jerez City Council’s Cultural Dynamization Delegate highlighted the updating of the texts which are read out during the traditional act of Treading the Grapes, which kicks off the festival programme, and which, as usual, takes place at Jerez Cathedral. “These texts have been updated, in a very fitting way, by the writer and poet Josefa Parra, whom I wish to thank for her work.”
Likewise, the programme will have two more concerts than last year, offering a total of six, in different musical styles. This time extra effort has been put in to decorating the city, with specially designed new adornments themed around the festival, including bunting and pennants, for the centre’s main streets.
Selected details from the programme
As in previous editions, the Grape Harvest Festival will offer something for everyone, from adults to children, and there will be activities for all tastes: music, exhibitions, visits, tastings, literature and gastronomy, among others.
Within the full and varied programme, the Festivals Delegate explained that “in line with the special dedication of this year’s festival to Jerez Vinegar, after the Treading of the Grapes an institutional act will be celebrated in the Alcázar, paying homage posthumously to Antonio Páez Lobato. Known as the “Vinegar King”, Antonio was the first person to commercialize this product, and an engraved plaque will be presented to his family.”
Like in previous years, younger visitors will also be entertained at the Grape Harvest Festival, with the hugely popular International Puppet Festival. This year the public can see 22 shows, both in the centre and in other areas, including two out in the countryside. In addition, the 5th Children’s Sherry Pouring Competition, plus two workshops for learning the skill, will be held in the streets of Jerez city centre.
The now-traditional activities, so well supported by the public, will take place again this year: the “From glass to glass” sampling of wines from the Marca, the Master Tasting Sessions, and the Wine Lecture, this year by Carmen Borrego Plá, who will talk about “the Sherry of 1519. At the gates of an oceanic labyrinth of spices, porcelain and silk”. There will also be free guided tours of various spaces, six concerts of different musical styles, and two exhibitions.
Literature will also feature in the programme, with the 7th edition of the Short Story Contest 'Fiestas de la Vendimia de Jerez'. This year the competition is sponsored by Clínicas Serman, whose representative, Jaime Serrano del Río, emphasized that “At Serman Clinics, we believe that this festival has a strong family angle, and we as a company also consider ourselves very family-focused. So we were keen to get involved in this event and do our part.”
Also the official programme will again include a full and varied programme of activities related to wine-making, promoted by companies in the enotourism sector.
Lastly, 14 September is an important date: European Day of the Horse, with events including two equestrian shows and a conference.
Sherry Wines Council Activities
The Regulatory Council noted the considerable effort made every year by Jerez City Council to keep up one of Spain’s oldest grape harvest festivals. Dating from 1948, it is “so important for the city, since it offers many cultural activities themed around wine. We at the Regulatory Council want the city to take on a festive atmosphere – we’re going to harvest new fruit, which will then be made into one of the world’s finest wines,” explained Carmen Aumesquet.
In terms of the activities offered by the Regulatory Council, its Promotions Director said: “We want to encourage the people of Jerez to look at the events programme, so that they can sign up for the activities they’re interested in. Most events are free, however some have limited spaces, such as the guided tastings, bodega visits, tours of the archaeological museum etc.”
In relation to the dedication of the festival to Jerez Vinegar, Carmen Aumesquet stressed that the 25th anniversary of its Designation of Origin will be commemorated from next year, but this dedication will serve "to kick off this recognition. In order for this condiment to play an important role in the festivities, we have organised the tapas competition 'Get to know Sherry Vinegar', in which all the city's tapas bars and restaurants can participate, and whose dishes can then be enjoyed by their customers".
16 August 2019