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La Vendimia: What to Know About Peru's Famous Wine and Grape Celebration

Picture of Brandon Dupre
Updated: 5 April 2018
Peru has become very prominent on the international wine scene and vineyards can now be found all over the country, especially in the south of Peru near the city of Ica, where some of the best pisco and wine is produced. Once a year, the country comes together to celebrate its wine- and pisco-making traditions during la vendimia, a festival dedicated to one of Peru’s favorite fruits.

The Vendimia International Festival began in 1958 as a way to celebrate the grape harvest and promote Peruvian wine and pisco, which, at the time, was nowhere close to the popularity it has today. Coming from humble beginnings, the festival is now celebrated nationwide but is most festive in the wine-producing regions in the south.

Wine tasting
Wine tasting | © jill111 / Pixabay

The south of Peru produces the most wine and pisco in the country and is where you’ll want to be for the harvest celebration. The Vendimia Festival acknowledges Peru’s new emergence as one of South America’s top producers of wine and pisco, products that have begun making their way across the world. If you really want to experience the best that the festival has to offer, head to Ica and stay at one of the many vineyards to enjoy the fun.

Ica

Peruvians and tourists alike flock to the south of Peru to visit the country’s most important vineyards where they can see how the juices are extracted from the grapes and watch the Peruvian process of wine- and pisco-making. Visitors will have the chance to witness traditional grape stomping, an activity that’s reflective of the region’s winemaking tradition.

Every last drop
Every last drop | © tookapic / Pixabay

The celebration goes beyond just winemaking—it is also a celebration of everything Peruvian. In Ica, as in every other city celebrating the tradition, you’ll find days’ worth of activities and plenty of food, music and games. It is a great chance to experience everything Peru has to offer, all in one place. You’ll get a chance to try the country’s delicious gastronomy—from ceviche to anticuchos and picaronesand listen to traditional Peruvian music. One of the main events is the Queen of the Wine Festival beauty pageant, in which the winner gets to be the first person to stomp on the grapes.

Wine is meant to be shared
Wine is meant to be shared | © jill111 / Pixabay

Surco

The vineyards have long since disappeared from Surco since the metropolitan area of Lima expanded rapidly and is now home to nearly a third of the country’s population. While Peru’s wine and pisco is mostly produced in the south of the country, Surco at one time was Lima’s top wine producer. During Surco’s la vendimia, the neighbourhood’s Plaza de Armas is where the party and fun gets going as it does in Ica, just on a smaller scale. You’ll find food, drinks, music and, of course, plenty of wine and pisco.