Young wine festivals in Europe

Young wine festivals in Europe

Did you know that good wine doesn’t have to be aged? In Europe, there are annual festivals of young wine. The fresh harvest is turned into a flavorful drink in a couple of weeks and tasted together with food, music and celebration. I will tell you where and when the most colorful and interesting wine festivals are held in the fall.

What is young wine?

The tradition appeared in the Middle Ages, and the main day was November 11. On this day in Europe, the grape harvest was completed and the fresh grapes were sent for processing. A couple of weeks later, they received young wine and celebrated the event.

Young wine is drunk fresh, so I don’t recommend taking it home. For production, maceration technology is used (it was invented in France). The bunches are placed in an airtight container and left to ferment. The berries from the bottom layer burst and give juice, starting the fermentation process.

Young wine has an insistent aroma and bright color, but it has almost no tannin and acidity. And the effect itself does not last long.

How to drink young wine?

Young wine holds its flavor for four months and then fades. If you can’t attend the festival in the fall, you can taste until the first spring month. Ask the winemaker in advance when the wine was made, otherwise the tasting experience will be ruined before it begins.

Before tasting young wine, it is cooled to 12—13 degrees and poured into classic glasses. This is the only way to experience the versatility of the drink. Gradually the aroma and multifaceted taste will unfold. Young wine is easy to drink, but there are varieties that are very intoxicating, don’t overdo it!

There is no limit to when and with what to drink young wine. Some people will enjoy it with lunch, while others will enjoy it with a romantic dinner. A good appetizer is Camembert cheese, poached eggs, poultry dishes or spicy sausages. In the Middle Ages, goose liver or fatty goose soup was served.

Czech Riesling with sausages and cabbage
Czech Riesling with sausages and cabbage

Where do they hold a young wine festival in Europe?

The holiday was first held in France. The drink was sent for sale at the end of November. In the middle of the 20th century, the idea was taken up by other wine-producing regions of Europe. Everywhere such an event is held in its own way, but there are many similarities.


What do you do if your grapes have a low aging potential, are not suitable for long-term storage, but ripen the earliest? Beaujolais has found a brilliant solution. If the wine can’t be stored, it must be drunk fresh. And turn it into a festival.

The Beaujolais Enos event starts at the end of November. It is held everywhere, but most vividly in Beaujolais. At midnight in the main square, after the phrase «Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrivé!», the barrels are opened and a free wine tasting begins. (Beaujolais Nouveau has arrived) the barrels are opened and the free tasting begins. During the event there are fairs, competitions and parades.

Beaujolais Nouveau
Beaujolais Nouveau

Beaujolais Nouveau is made from the gamay variety. The wine is simple without frills, but the producers managed to create a stir. In 1993, a Beaujolais Nouveau aficionado paid $1,450 for his first glass. I suggest accompanying the tasting with fatty foods (cheese, liver). I promise a morning without a headache. If you don’t like the taste of the wine, dilute it with cola. That’s how the local youth drink it.

The Beaujolais Nouveau celebration is a great excuse to embrace wine culture, taste the wine and appreciate the spectacle that the French make of the event. But take home a Cru Beaujolais or Beaujolais Villages from the same grape variety.

At this time, the celebration of young wine takes place in other regions of France. For a fresh drink, head to Touraine, Gaillac or Côtes du Rhône. Recently, winemakers from Languedoc have joined the event.

  • Regions: Beaujolais, Touraine, Guyac, Côte-du-Rhône, Languedoc.
  • Beginning: every third Thursday in November.
  • Website.


In Italy, the analog of Beaujolais Nouveau is novello. Young wine is made everywhere, but the epicenters of the celebration are in Veneto, Tuscany, Trentino, Piedmont, and Lombardy. The event begins in Vicenza with craft fairs, shows and competitions, and points of sale of fresh olive oil and wine open.

Novello and Beaujolais Nouveau share a ruby hue, production technology and strength (11%), distinguished by the berry variety and aroma. For young wines in Italy, one of the following varieties is used: Cannonau, Aglianico and Barbera, Cabernet Sauvignon, Corvina, Refosco, Merlot.

Young Italian wine smells like summer — flowers, apples and pears. Often the grapes grow near the trees and absorb the aroma. Low-quality wine is easy to distinguish. A sharp and tart flavor indicates that the berries have been overexposed. If the flavor is weak, they have clearly been under-ripened.

Any kind of food goes great with novello. It can be spaghetti, cheese, polenta corn porridge, chestnuts and desserts. Chill the wine to 11°C and drink no more than two glasses, otherwise the pleasure of the feast will be lost.

  • Regions: northeast Italy.
  • Kickoff: Nov. 6.
  • Website.


The celebration of young wine in Spain is a mix of old and new traditions. For hundreds of years, La Vendimia — the harvesting and making of wine — has been celebrated all over the country. In order to get a fresh drink with a short aging time, everything was done according to tradition — crushed with feet, and not a classic wine, but a must made of the tempranillo variety.

In the 90s, winemakers in Spain became interested in maceration and started using the technology to make young wine. Now you can taste joven, a drink prepared in the classical way, and vino nuevo, a bright and flavorful wine obtained by maceration.

The epicenter of the festival in Spain is the Rioja region, the town of Lagroño. The festival includes flamenco shows and bullfights. A queen is chosen for the festival — she drives through the streets, hands out candy, and as soon as the procession arrives at the Plaza de Arenal square, winemakers begin to treat everyone to vino nuevo.

Two months later, the celebration of young wine (and meat) takes place in Málaga’s Colmenar. Here you can taste fresh drink and tapas. In this village, the Spanish appetizer is masterfully made.

  • Regions: Rioja, Málaga.
  • Date: From September 21 in Rioja, from December 1 in Málaga. This event lasts for one week.
  • The website of the Rioja fiesta in Malaga.


Austrian wine should be tasted and then told that it is the best. Even if you are offered a young wine from Austria, which is essentially over-fermented must (sturm) or juice in the first stage of fermentation (bridge). These drinks have two advantages: they are from Austria and they are cheap (from 3 €).

Wildbacher grapes for Austrian Sturm are grown in the vicinity of Styria. The drink tastes something between kvass and champagne. The bottles in which the young wine is sold are only covered with a cork, otherwise it will explode.

In Austria, look for young wine in heurigers, which are cozy wine taverns throughout the country. An «Ausg’steckt» sign at the entrance says it’s open season. Sturm and traditional dishes are on the menu. Fatty foods are better with this wine: speckbread, cheeses and walnuts. By the way, walnuts helped legionaries not to get drunk. The wine has a strength of only 4—5%, but it gets «stormy» quickly.

  • Regions: Vienna, Styria.
  • The date is October 1 and runs through November 30.
  • Website.
Wineries also organize their own mini-holidays, where entry is open to all comers
Wineries also organize their own mini-holidays, where entry is open to all comers


The only difference between young wine from Germany and Austria is the name and berry variety. Germans prefer grapes for white wines, mostly Riesling. Otherwise, the German version of young wine is a fermented must with a low alcohol content, cloudy due to yeast sediment.

The wine harvest festival starts at the end of August and continues until the end of October. The event kicks off in Stuttgart with the installation of a «Wine Village» in the main square. Tourists can taste federweiser (as young wine is called in Germany) and Swabian cuisine.

In the first half of September, wine markets are open in Mainz, Bensheim, Mosel and Heilbronn. The festival can be visited until mid-October in Offenburg, Bappart and Neustadt. The festival includes the selection of a queen, fairs and fireworks. And all this with fresh Riesling!

Czech Republic

Besides excellent beer, the Czechs produce excellent wine and you should try it! Wine bars have appeared in Prague. And back in 2014, Czech chardonnay surpassed Italy and France.

The wine festival in the Czech Republic is called Vinobraní, and young wine is called burchak. This drink cannot be stored, it spoils quickly. It should be drunk, but carefully. Burchak contains 4—6% alcohol, but it intoxicates quickly. To prolong the pleasure, look for goose liver and Czech sausages.

Vineyards in Prague
Vineyards in Prague

The Czech Republic’s Young Wine Festival is celebrated in Prague. Have you met the vineyards by the Botanical Gardens and Prague Castle? The wine festival takes place September 13—15 at several locations: at Jiřího z Poděbrad (Jiřího z Poděbrad Square), Troy Castle Garden, Botanical Garden, Prague Castle, Peace Square, Kunratice Castle and Kampa Island. Look for the sign with the word Burčák.

If you don’t feel like drinking young wine in the hustle and bustle, head to Moravia and Bohemia (Cesky Krumlov). In Bohemia, November 11 is a special day for farms. At exactly 11:11 a.m., St. Martin’s young wine is poured into a glass!

  • Regions: Prague, Melnik, Moravia, Bohemia.
  • Dates: September 13—15 in Prague, September 13—21 in Moravia, November 6—28 in Bohemia.
  • Website with the program of the festival in Bohemia.


In Slovenia, the main event takes place on November 11, but you can taste young wine even earlier. According to tradition, on this day the must turns into wine, which means that you should try the fresh drink before that time.

In Slovenia, the holiday is called «Martinga» and the young wine is called mošt (mošt). In season, mošt is sold everywhere. I recommend a visit to Maribor. There is the oldest vine in the world (450 years old). It is still bearing fruit. It has its own anthem and museum, and various events are held in its honor.

The young wine is tasted with traditional cuisine — roast goose, mlints and braised sour red cabbage. Why goose? The wine tradition is linked to St. Martin, the patron saint of European winemakers. Traitor geese betrayed the bishop when he was hiding in a goose cage.

  • Regions: Ljubljana, Maribor.
  • UPDATE: November 11.
  • Website.
The young wine festival is always accompanied by folklore performances
The young wine festival is always accompanied by folklore performances
The young wine festival always gathers winemakers themselves, their products are not found in mass supermarkets
The young wine festival always gathers winemakers themselves, their products are not found in mass supermarkets
Martinovanie in Ljubljana
Martinovanie in Ljubljana
Slovenia is one of the inventors of modern orange wine. At the martiniere, it pours in rivers
Slovenia is one of the inventors of modern orange wine. At the martiniere, it pours in rivers


There are several wine festivals to attend in Budapest in the fall. In September, I accidentally got to the International Festival-Fair in the Buda Fortress, where Hungarian winemakers participated. The program included local wine and national cuisine, concerts.

Outside the capital, look for the young wine festival in the Tokaj Valley. Here, the fresh drink is served with fish soup made from fish caught in the river Tisse. All to music and dancing.

Hungarian wines
Hungarian wines

On the last weekend of November, the Young Wine and Cheese Festival is held in Budapest. The event is a paid event — entrance tickets from 12 €. The price includes tasting of young wine (kekfrankos, tokay, furmint) and cheeses. The ticket allows access to the Vajdahunyad Castle Museum.

  • Regions: Budapest, Tokaj.
  • Date: In Budapest the second weekend of September and the last weekend of November, in Tokaj the first weekend of October.
  • Website.

If you’re planning a trip to Europe in the fall, be sure to attend one of the wine festivals. This is a colorful and delicious event that introduces the history and traditions of winemaking.