Stave Off the Winter Blues with a Visit to Tenerife’s Wine Festival

Let’s face it: no one needs much persuasion to trade the shorter days, declining temperatures and increased rainfall of autumn in the UK for a holiday in Tenerife. But for oenophiles, there is an added temptation that reaches beyond the glorious weather and beautiful landscapes: the island’s annual wine festival.

The Fiesta de San Andrés (Festival of Saint Andrew) is held in Puerto de la Cruz in November each year to celebrate the island’s grape harvest, making this the perfect time for wine lovers to go on holiday in Tenerife.

Patron Saints, Pots and Pans

Legend has it that the patron saint of Scotland visited Tenerife in an attempt to spread the gospel. But when he arrived on the island, he found a fiesta taking place to celebrate the end of the harvest. In an effort to fit in, and perhaps win over the locals, the saint allegedly drank more than his fill of Tenerife’s wonderful wine. As a result, he fell into a deep sleep by the road. A group of local children found him and thought that it would be funny to tie pots and pans to the Saint’s clothing, so that he would wake himself up every time he moved.

To commemorate the Saint’s arrival on the island, the people of Puerto de la Cruz drag heavy metal objects – everything from pots and pans to microwaves – through the town’s streets as part of the fiesta to this day. This peculiar event, known as the Arrastre los Cacharros or ‘run with pots and pans’, takes place on the eve of the festival, and has become a major part of the celebrations.

Of course, less prosaic historians claim that the tradition of dragging the pans through the streets has nothing to do with the saint. They claim that it is replicating the sound of winemakers dragging the heavy barrels used for fermenting the grape juice down to the sea for cleaning. This sound let the people of Puerto de la Cruz know that the wine was ready to be enjoyed, and it is this, rather than the saint, which the locals are celebrating.

Whatever the truth is about this ancient tradition, it makes for a lively – if extremely noisy – start to the fiesta.

Sample the Local Produce

For those enjoying a holiday in Tenerife during the fiesta, there is much more to the event than the banging of pots and pans. This is a wonderful opportunity to sample much of the island’s wine all in one place.

The local bodegas come from across the island to set up stalls beside Puerto de la Cruz’s harbour, allowing people to sample their produce, which includes the excellent vino del país.

If you fall in love with a particular producer’s wine, – and I warn you, there is a good chance that you will – then a visit to La Vinoteca in La Paz is a great place to arrange a shipment back home.

Whenever you holiday in Tenerife, it’s always worth taking the time to visit the bodegas and to sample their excellent wines. I highly recommend a visit to the Casa del Vino, which is just outside of Puerto de la Cruz, where you can find out more about regional viticulture and sample some excellent wines at any time of year.

John Dixon is an experienced world traveller and the Managing Director of Prestige Holidays. For over 30 years, he has been providing luxury accommodation, ensuring that you’re in for a perfect holiday in Tenerife, Italy, Croatia and in many other destinations around the globe. John tries to visit each of the destinations regularly in order to ensure the quality of his properties, and stay up-to-date about the latest local news and events. He has a taste for the finer things in life and has an interest in arts, history and culture.

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Author: Desiree Michels