One of the last Sundays in July, the famous “Battle of Claret” is celebrated in the Rioja town of San Asensio. Claret is a fresh, young wine made in this part of the Rioja Alta. For this reason, San Asensio is known in the wine world as “The Cradle of Claret Wine”.
At 12 o’clock in the morning, the Municipal Corporation and the Authorities go from the Town Hall to the place where the battle will take place, the so called Cerrillo Verballe, commonly known as the Barrio de las Bodegas because there are some private wineries where wine was once produced in a traditional way.
The authorities begin the battle, which floods the town with its most precious asset; the so-called Claret Wine. 30,000 litres are donated by the cooperatives and wineries of the area so that the participants can load the sulphate machines, water guns, buckets and all kinds of instruments that will be converted into harmless weapons against a very numerous enemy: anyone who passes by. Always in harmony and good atmosphere.
With the t-shirts dyed purple by the claret, the descent begins by dancing to the sound of the Charanga de San Asensio, until reaching the Plaza Vieja where the traditional “vueltas” take place.
Later, around 2 pm, the participants go to the Plaza Nueva where they can finish the morning with a tour of the local bars tasting their famous pinchos.