Binissalem: Festa des Vermar, the grape harvest festival

March 2, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

In September, the month of the grape harvest, Binissalem celebrates its most important festival, the “Festa des Vermar”, which for nine days transforms this wine growing town into a hive of activity flowing with fine wine.

Mallorca - Binissalem: "Festa des Vermar", the grape harvest festival

Mallorca - Binissalem: "Festa des Vermar", the grape harvest festival

This year it is celebrating it 38th edition, which makes it one of the oldest of its kind in Spain. Not in vain are we in one of the three most important wine-growing areas on the island, situated at the foot of the Sierra de Tramuntana. The municipality gives its name to the Binissalem-Mallorca Denomination of Origin, which the neighbouring regions also form part of.

The festival lasts for nine days and revolves around the fruit which has made this place famous for its wines, praised by the writer Jules Vernes already in the 19th Century. It begins with the welcoming of the grape harvesters at the Town Hall, accompanied by the “xeremiers” (traditional Majorcan musicians). There is an extensive programme of activities and the town becomes a colourful and lively place, full of visitors. Speech-making and chess contests, street bands, open-air celebrations, floats, a wine tasting contest and the International Painting Competition are some of the activities suggested.

Open-air celebrations and wine in the square

Its origins are related to Sant Gall, the symbol of fertility and so, on the last Sunday in September, the grape harvesters take the young mosto or unfermented grape juice to be blessed and to make an offering to the Virgin of Robines. In the afternoon there is an open-air celebration in the square and all those present are invited to drink wine.

This square lies at the foot of the magnificent church built of marble and veined marble, with an impressive Norman bell tower. Visitors should stroll around the town, declared a Historical-Artistic Monument in 1983, and take time to view its stately houses, especially those along the streets Calle Pere Estruch and Calle San Vicente de Paúl.

This festival has its typical dish, Fideus de Vermar (Grape Harvest Noodles), a very old recipe made with lamb. In the past it was customary to choose the oldest sheep of the flock, which the shepherds had taken special care of for months. This dish has a very strong flavour, although it is also very tasty. It can also be prepared with rabbit. It is delicious, even more so if accompanied by a fine wine from Binissalem.

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