Annual Grape-Squashing Contest is Great Success

Last week the 36th Barefoot Grape Crushing Competition ran as part of the 53rd Annual Sitges Wine Festival in the Penedes region of Spain – home of the famous sparkly cava.

Participants group together to help squash thousands and thousands of grapes in front of a historic church, which has been pivotal to the annual festival since its beginning.

Teams compete in duos against other teams to produce the most grape juice. One contestant jumps in the barrel and stomps on the juicy fruit and the other squeezes the previously crushed grapes over a wire mesh in order to make sure every last drop of juice is released from the fruit.

Other events at the festival include barrel-rolling contests, food contests and events where local restaurants alter their menus to become more grape-focused.

Sitges is only 20 miles from Barcelona, and before it became a popular tourist resort in itself, was one of the most prominent wine-making sites in Europe. The Penedes region actually produces around 90% of the world’s current cava supply and although methods have changed since stomping on grapes within a wooden barrel, locals take the competition quite seriously with their own tactics and methods at getting the most out of their lot.

Although Sitges is only a small city, the vibrant atmosphere and number of cultural sites mean that it produces a livelier vibe characteristic of a much bigger city. The grapes that they use in the local vineyards are descended from those used in Ancient Greece, making the region a must for wine-lovers hoping to taste some of the best samples in the world.

Sitges is also renowned for its festivals – the Annual Wine Festival only being one of many. The Sitges Film Festival is also a big extravaganza and certainly an experience for visiting film-lovers.

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