Vendimia has definitely made its presence known in Mendoza over the last few days. The energy is palpable and the streets are filled with locals and tourists alike. The festivities started last Friday with the election of the capital of Mendoza's queen, who will then vie for the title of Vendimia Queen against the other 17 departmental queens on Saturday night at the annual Vendimia Festival. There was also the first annual megadegustacion in the calle Belgrano, with prominent local bodegas pouring their finest varietals and blends.
The festivities continued this week with the Italian festival in Plaza Italia where hoards lined up to taste locally made pizza, sandwichitos and other delectables. (I am always a bit surprised by the willingness to stand in line for hours, personally I do not have the patience but I am also an American gringa.)
Tonight the queens hit the streets of Mendoza with the Via Blanca de las reinas, or the parade of queens. They will do a repeat performance tomorrow during the day with the addition of large produce, representative of each province, being thrown into the crowd as well as bottles of wine given to bystanders. This definitely does not happen in the US.
The culmination happens tomorrow evening with the election of the Vendimia Queen. It is quite a production with dancing, theater effects, and of course the drama that I associate with Argentine telenovelas. (the narrating is amazing- breathy whispers and dramatic intonations and an amazing finale, its impressive) Saturday is a bit long, as they announce every single vote, needless to say there are about 1000 votes. (ok I may be exaggerating but it is long, I fell asleep the first year I went)
There are even rumors that Argentina's reigning queen, president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner will be in attendance for the Vendimia Celebration.
For complete information about the Vendimia schedule and activities check out: http://argentinewines.com/?p=2342
Photo credits: www.mdzol.com