One of the most popular cultural attractions in the island of Madeira is the annual Wine Festival. This year, the festival begins on August 28th in the village of Câmara de Lobos with the festivities continuing through September 12th. The festival takes place during the main time of the island’s grape harvest.
Madeira winemaking dates all the way back to the Age of Exploration when Madeira was a popular port for ships making their way to the New World. During the festival, the old wine making traditions are relived and celebrated with many exciting events on the island. Celebrations are centered on the time-honoured traditions of producing this renowned and exquisite wine.
This culturally rich festival pays tribute to Madeiran wine and its indisputable socioeconomic importance. Participants can learn about and act out the old traditions and customs of Madeira, which were developed over centuries of labour in viticulture.
This event has been commemorated since the late seventies of the last century. It begins in Funchal and includes European Folklore Week, ornamentations, exhibitions and live portraits depicting wine and its crafts and light and traditional music performances.
In Estreito de Câmara de Lobos, the Wine Harvest Festival begins with grape picking and a picker’s parade. The harvest takes place on farm, followed by a parade with the participation of many folklore and ethnography groups. The parade is followed by the traditional treading of the grapes in the winemaking process. There is no cost to participate in the festivities which include lots of extra entertainment such as live music and regional cuisine.
The Wine Festival excitement is also felt in the center of Funchal, where thrilling light and sound shows and folk entertainment will be taking place. Most of the activity is concentrated in the central walkway of Avenida Arriaga, which will be filled with many decorations such as viticulture tools (presses, casks, barrels, grape picking baskets, traditional means of transportation), living portraits and actors who re-enact the winemaking process. There will also be wine tastings, exhibitions, and local handicrafts. Performances by local folklore groups, traditional Madeiran music and light music performances by the Madeira Light Orchestra will also liven up the festival. Locals and tourists will both enjoy the shows related to the wine making process plus delicious Madeiran culinary specialties.
Included in the Wine Festival’s programme is European Folklore Week, which is organized by the Boa Nova Ethnography and Folk Group. This sub-festival aims to promote an intercultural gathering and promote ethnographic realities, with the participation of both Portuguese and foreign groups.