San Mateo and the Rioja’s Grape Harvest

The Festivities of San Mateo and the Riojan Harvest originate from the annual markets that were held in the Middle Ages, known as free trade fairs . According to historians, its birth dates back to the privilege that Alfonso VI granted Logroño in 1095 to celebrate a weekly fair.

Of the two large annual markets, the most important took place on Thanksgiving, in September, when the people of La Rioja also thanked the harvests with religious acts. The chosen date was September 21, the feast of San Mateo, patron saint of merchants. These festivals also represent the starting point of the grape harvest.

The playful part of these trade shows grew in importance over time. This is how wine, the fruit par excellence of the Rioja land, was introduced in the medieval markets of the town of Logroño and achieved its deserved prominence until today.

San Mateo and Riojan Vendimia festivities are the most popular in La Rioja. On September 21, Riojans offer the fruits of the harvest and the first must to their patron saint, the Virgin of Valvanera, during the massive ceremony of the Pisado de la Uva (treading of the grapes) that is celebrated in El Espolón.

Popular tastings, bullfighting shows such as “vaquillas” and “feria taurina”, parades and peñistas, giants and big heads “pasacalles”, puppet shows and Tragantúa, concerts and festivals in the public squares, fireworks contest, religious offerings, artisan markets, jai alai sports are some of the the many activities that complete the festive program.

Week of September 21, feast of San Mateo .

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