When: Annually, every August
Where: Wine growing region of Châteauneuf, South of France
What to bring: Jugglers ball or jousting spear
What not to bring: Bottle of cheap plonk
The Châteauneuf du Papes, also known as the Veraison wine festival, celebrates all things wine. The name means “the Pope’s new castle” because back in the 14th century the Pope was said to have a penchant for wine. Legend has it that one of the first things that Clement the Vth did when leaving Rome was to inspect his winefields. In 1316 his successor John the 22nd went one better and built a castle in Châteauneuf du Pape.
Châteauneuf du Pape town has a vineyard on every other farm with the vines exceeding up to the roads. The regional wines requires 13 different kinds of grape and is considered one of the worlds best wines.
A wine festival is celebrated in all of the wine making villages in the region, in celebration of the ripening of the grape to yield a good harvest. Châteauneuf is renowned as one of the best of the wine festivals in Southern France, where there is steep competition. Each year during early August the whole village of Châteauneuf du Pape gets together and welcomes people from far and near to celebrate in her streets for live street performance. wine tasting and music.
It is a traditional festival with joustings, horse riding, jugglers, fire eaters, sword fights and a medieval style carnival. During the festival a fountain spouts out free wine for visitors to make merry. The Pope who owned this chateau had his own drinking song:
“I want to sing to you
of this old Châteauneuf
that I’ve bottled just for you
It will work miracles;
for when this wine makes us tipsy;
Venus will crown our mirth!”
Much tipsy mirth is to be had if you’re fortunate enough to visit the region during the festival.
1 Place du Portail
84230 Chateauneuf du Pape
Tel: +33 4 90 83 77 81
Information and directions to quality vineyards in France, together with routes, booking and travel information. Vineyard lists include some 730 wines and 150 appellations from 100 vineyards in Alsace, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, the Loire Valley, the Rhône Valley and Provence plus the south west and Languedoc.
By Susi O’Neill