Wine tasting, anyone?

Wine tasting, anyone?

Mendoza’s Grape Harvest Festival

Written for Travel + Leisure on March 24, 2014

Mendoza hosted its 78th annual grape harvest festival known as La Fiesta Nacional de la Vendimia, a ten-day cultural celebration that takes place every March and attracts hundreds of thousands of revelers from near and afar.

The festival officially commences with a religious blessing of the crops offering thanks and prayers for a good harvest. It continues with the colorful La Via Blanca and El Carrusel parades where 18 elected beauty queens representing the departments of Mendoza float through the streets on emblematic chariots tossing fruit to animated crowds.

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Around 250,000 people rally to watch the vibrant Carrusel parade, which also celebrates the various communities who contribute to the grape harvest.

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The festival culminates with the Acto Central, a masterfully choreographed spectacle of folkloric song and dance in one of the world’s largest open-air performances. Wowing 40,000 enthusiastic fans gathered in the outdoor in the Frank Romero Day Greek Amphitheatre and surrounding hills, the Acto Central is as beautiful as it is symbolic.

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Over a thousand performers use music, movement and Broadway-worthy costumes to artfully explain the history of Mendoza and the relationship between man and nature when harvesting grapes into wine. Due to its popularity, the Acto Central is repeated three times.

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The opening-night performance is followed by the highly anticipated crowning of the Vendimia Queen, while the repetition acts have musical performances from notable bands. All evenings conclude with an impressive firework finale.

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La Fiesta Nacional de la Vendimia is an exciting time of year to visit Mendoza because the festival unites the entire community with a sense of pride, passion and purpose, and traveler’s get to celebrate the province’s rich cultural heritage and world famous wines right alongside the locals. 

…With steaming thermal baths included… (at Termas Cacheuta Hotel & Resort)

…With steaming thermal baths included… (at Termas Cacheuta Hotel & Resort)

Who could use a spa day this weekend? (at Termas Cacheuta Hotel & Resort)

Who could use a spa day this weekend? (at Termas Cacheuta Hotel & Resort)

A verdant oasis in the Mendocino desert.  (at Termas Cacheuta Hotel & Resort)

A verdant oasis in the Mendocino desert. (at Termas Cacheuta Hotel & Resort)

Potrerillos  (at Mendoza, Argentina)

Potrerillos (at Mendoza, Argentina)

Tumblr thoughtfully reminded me that it’s Patchwork Compass’ 3rd birthday today! 

Tumblr thoughtfully reminded me that it’s Patchwork Compass’ 3rd birthday today! 

Road trips in Cacheuta, Mendoza.  (at Cacheuta)

Road trips in Cacheuta, Mendoza. (at Cacheuta)

If you’re enough lucky to be Irish…You’re lucky enough. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

If you’re enough lucky to be Irish…You’re lucky enough. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Trigolino at Mendoza Green Market  (at Gen. San Martin Park)

Trigolino at Mendoza Green Market (at Gen. San Martin Park)

A designers touch (at Mendoza Green Market)

A designers touch (at Mendoza Green Market)

Mendoza Green Market  (at Mendoza, Argentina)

Mendoza Green Market (at Mendoza, Argentina)

Strangers kissing for the first time makes great content when beautifully edited. Slate Magazine dubbed the Wren fashion ad the “hipster Bachelor,” but the awkwardness is tangible and so is the chemistry (or lack thereof). 

A 19-yr old from Guaymallen is crowned Queen of the Grape Harvest at Mendoza’s Vendimia festival.

A 19-yr old from Guaymallen is crowned Queen of the Grape Harvest at Mendoza’s Vendimia festival.

Everybody loves a good cancan performance. #Vendimia2014