HISTORY AND CULTURE
LA MANCHA WINE ROUTE
“Sea of vineyards; Land of the famous Knight Don Quixote”, he who fought against giants and righted wrongs; hospitality and good gastronomy”
The “Ruta del Vino de la Mancha” is located on the very plateau of la Mancha, here, where the greatest production of wine all over Europe is developed. The route runs along nine towns situated across Albacete, Ciudad Real and Toledo. These towns, linked by their singular landscape, their ancient wine-making tradition and their precious culture, built over the course of the centuries are: Alcazar de San Juan, Argamasilla de Alba, Campo de Criptana e Toboso, Socuéllamos, Tomelloso and Villarrobledo
This unusual landscape stands out because of its limitless flatness. Here, light makes colours shine with unsuspected nuances. Its environment is made of large vineyards and cereal fields besides wide expanses of Mediterranean forest also rich in small game. Here, beautiful hidden landscapes and countless historical remains are ready to be found.
Among our ground breaking wineries large or small family-owned ones, traditional or modern can be visited. We count on newly founded ones that are specifically designed to elaborate quality wines while hosted in an outstanding architectural atmosphere or those located in astonishing landscapes that are full of high interesting nature values while dominating large surfaces of vineyards all over the plain. Each of them is ready to welcome those visitors who love and enjoy wine.
LOCATION AND CONTACT
KNOWS OUR ROUTE
TASTE OUR HISTORY
“He lauded the wine so much that he praised it to the skies, although he did not dare to leave it there much time in case it could be watered down”.
Cervantes shows here its love for wine tasting by means of Sancho’s palate. Without any shadow of a doubt this same lauds will be repeated by our visitors by means of tasting our La Mancha wines, feeling at the same time the taste of Quixote adventures´
A sea of vines illuminated by more than 3000 sunshine hours each year and a deep winemaking tradition inherited from the Ancient Rome allow you to enjoy the same wines that inspired the most distinguished writers of the Spanish Literature Golden Age
La Mancha vineyards lay on a wide plain that has been granted with unique characteristics, such as its altitude of 600 to 900 meters over sea level, which allows the ripening of the grapes to be uniform, and a climate that joints countless hours of sunshine per year with a rainfall of 300-400 mm.
This dry climate and its temperatures, together with its limestone soil, makes its vineyards produce grapes whose unique characteristics are reflected in the quality and flavor of the wines of our La Mancha Wine Route.
Signature wines, highly expressive wines, great tradition wines… Wines with their own personality.
Land of Knights
This land has a long history. Countless archaeological remains can be found here from prehistoric times, Romans, Visigoths… as a testimony of the different cultures that have passed by the towns of La Mancha Wine Route.
The History of La Mancha is different from that of the rest of Spain for being specially related to the Military Orders. The Military Orders were important not only during the Spanish Reconquest (12th and 13th centuries) but also during the Spanish period of medieval repopulation. Military orders made new settlers to plant vines, in order to settle the population down. They also ensured their supply of wine for their own consumption, as well as a significant income through the collection of the tithe due to cultivation of vineyards They defined not only the economic model, but also the urban planning (castles, majestic palaces, cooperatives, hospitals, jails, churches, convents, hermitages…)
The proximity of this land to the capital of the kingdom allowed La Mancha to become the wine of the court during the Spanish Golden Age.
These lands were home to powerful orders, great battles and a great love story…
Due to Don Quixote, Sancho Panza and Dulcinea, La Mancha has become a world-renowned region.
Taste our Traditions.
ALCÁZAR DE SAN JUAN
This Celebration has been awarded National Tourism Interest Event. It is the only one that is developed from 25th to 28th December, during Christmas time instead of been developed during spring as the usual dates of others “carnavales”. This odd date is due to a Medieval fight between noblemen and commoners that was won by the plebeians and so the decision of celebrate Carnaval at Christmas was taken to annoy noblemen
Colorful parades and groups of people in disguises and “comparsas” can be enjoyed. On December 28th “Entierro de la Sardina” (sardine burial) takes place, here people wearing mourning clothes walk behind the statue of a sardine that will be buried as a symbol of sadness because of the end of the celebration.
It is one of the most massive celebrations in this town. It begins Good Friday Morning with Our Lady of Sorrows’ (5) procession, later the most massive procession that of Jesus Nazareno. At the evening, the most outstanding one is that of The Silence, it departs from Santa María, the oldest church of the town located in the Moorish quarter.
Moors and Christians
This Celebration has been awarded National Tourism Interest Event. It is developed on the closest weekend to St John’s festivity
It starts with the ceremony of the Vigil of Arms and the recreation of the nomination ceremony , by means of it, the novel knights received the knighthood Order of St. John of Jerusalen.
During this festivity there are medieval performances and parades with Christian knights and Moorish armies. There is also a medieval market to make our visitors feel that period atmosphere.
ARGAMASILLA DE ALBA
Harvest Festival (September/ October)
The traditional grape harvest festival is celebrated with different cultural and musical festivals and gastronomic events. The date is at end of September or at the beginning of October and the events are sited in the Municipal Summer Auditorium.
Fair and Festivals (September)
They are celebrated the first Saturday in September in order to honor Our Lady of Peñarroya. A wide range of events are developed related with culture, sports, children, music, etc., such as the traditional Baile del Vermut (Vermouth dance) in the morning and the Verbena Popular (popular night party) at the evenings, also gastronomic painting and poetry contests and folk and flamenco festivals,
Mercadillo Cervantino /May/June)
During this weekend at end of May or beginning of June, the locals, wearing traditional costumes of the 16th and 17th-century, sell their products in markets with its Spanish decoration from the same historical period.
CAMPO DE CRIPTANA
It has been awarded National Tourism Interest Event, Its history spans around five centuries. This Holy week is one of the most massive celebrations in our Land of Giants. To experience Easter Week in Campo de Criptana is to relive the Passion of Christ in a Cervantine environment whose locals will invite our visitors to join them in the tradition.
Semana cervantina (April/may)
This Festivity commemorates the death of Cervantes and the publication of the masterpiece of universal literature Don Quixote de la Mancha.
The Carnaval of El Toboso is one of the most popular and participative festivals nowadays.
Its celebration starts earlier than in most of the surrounding villages, on the weekend closest to the 17th to the 20th of January.
These festivities are celebrated in honor of the Patron Saints San Sebastián and San Antón, and also in honor of the latter saint, is celebrated the traditional and popular mule and horse races where the animals are decked out in their best harness.
Jornadas Cervantinas/ Cervantes’ s Days (April)
Every year, in the closest days to the 23rd of April, when Book Day is celebrated, El Toboso hosts its now traditional Jornadas Cervantinas honoring Dulcinea.
It has been awarded Regional Tourism Interest Event because the town goes back to the 17th century to enjoy the atmosphere of that time. Its streets are transformed and decorated as centuries ago.
For several days you can enjoy different events all over the town such as street theatre shows, a Cervantino Market, concerts, dance, activities for children, lectures, exhibitions
Cantos mayos manchegos (30th April)
20 years ago the woman of the local association “Casa de la Torrecilla” began a tradition: They, wearing the traditional costume of the region, walk the streets along a night-time route with stops at the crosses in the Town Hall Square or at the hermitage of Santo Cristo.
These festivities, typical in almost all regions of Spain and Portugal, are celebrated at the beginning of May or during the month.
Fair and Festivities Santiago and Santa Ana (July)
Over 24th and 29th of July, local people live intensely one of the most important fairs all over Ciudad Real. Bullfighting festivities, musical performances and a large fair make La Solana an outstanding event in the month of July.
Patron Saint Festivities of Our Lady of Peñarroya ( September)
The sanctuary of Peñarroya is located in a Castle in Argamasilla de Alba, 30 km from La Solana. La Solana shares the image of the Virgen with Argamasilla de Alba. On the second Saturday of September, the pilgrimage to bring the Patron Saint to La Solana is celebrated. During that weekend the castle becomes a village. The next Sunday after San Antón the image returns to its sanctuary in the Castle.
The Solana Passion Week has become very popular in recent years. The procession of Jesús Rescatado (Rescued Jesus) attracts more than 2,500 brothers and sisters and its image is carried on the shoulders of the “costaleros” (porters) on Good Friday morning, also is carried for “costaleros” the image of the Virgen de las Angustias, while the Santo Sepulcro (Holy Sepulchre) is carried by “anderos”. The growing devotion has created a colorful and elegant Holy Week.
The Mayo Manchego Festival is held on 30th April and 1st May.
There are several celebrations related to this festival. The most outstanding are the awarding of the sash across the chest to the Mayeras (singers) and around the waist to the Rondadores (“serenaders”) that is developed on the next-to-last April weekend. The Night of Ronda (Serenade) is held on April 30th and the Manchego May Festival on May 1st. It is also worth taking into account the Gastronomic Festival of the Manchego May
Fair and Festival from the first of August to the seventh honoring Our Lady of Angels
The most important events are the Pregón that mark the start of the festivity activities, The Open Night, the Patron Saint Day and the Gala Evening
It is held on the first Saturday of September with a great parade, grape treading and a Folklore Festival
There are 4 intense days plenty of activities and parades: School Groups Carnival and Chirigotas Festival on Saturday , the Great Parade on Sunday, Children Carnaval on Monday and Popular Carnaval and Gachas on Tuesday. The “Entierro de la Sardina (sardine burial) marks the end.
The Pedro Muñoz Holy Week has several religious events and processions: La Borriquita (the little donkey) on Sunday, The Silence Procession on Wednesday, Passion Procession on Thursday and Santo Entierro (Holy Burial) on Friday
Cruces de Mayo (Crosses of May) (from 30th April to 3rd May)
The celebrations begin on the night of the 30th April, when the mayeros (singers dressed in traditional costumes) walk in procession from the Parish Church of Our lady of la Asunción, during their route by the city’s crosses they perform the Mayo a la Virgen (a traditional song to stolling Mary’s virtues) .
The crosses have been previously prepared by local residents, associations and organizations, decorated with tulle, lace, thyme, rosemary, flowers and imagery, in order to glorify the figure of the Cross. The cross could be made either of wood or flowers.
The owners of the private houses where the Crosses are hosted, let the doors of their homes open throughout the month, to allow the hundreds of visitors to enjoy the crosses, sing the mayos along and have “convidá”, a light meal based on traditional sweets, zurra (a drink made of wine, water and lemon) and wine, thus keeping alive one of the most deeply-rooted festivities in the region and much loved by visitors from all over the world.
All Saints Fair (November)
At the beginning of November this Fiesta preserves the traditional Regional Market which is held at the end of the harvest. At the same time the Theatre Festival “Villa de Socuéllamos” is organized.
The All Saints Fair of Socuéllamos is a unique and genuine celebration that is part of the most deeply-rooted traditions of this town and it is the only one that survives all over the region, preserving the tradition by which the inhabitants of this village used to stock up to get through the harsh winter: blankets, warm fabrics, tools for farming, the ‘slaughter’ of the pig, and harness for animals, resources with which they stocked up for the whole year.
It has been awarded Regional Tourism Interest Event
Last Sunday in April, the Romería (pilgrimage) in honor of Our Lady of las Viñas, the Patron Saint of Tomelloso, is celebrated. This pilgrimage takes place in the sanctuary of Pinilla, four kilometers from the town, on the road to Pedro Muñoz. It is traditional to arrange carriages alluding to local current affairs or referring to some characteristic aspects of the town. Green carriages or agricultural trailers decorated with branches and full of people ready to spend a fun day in the countryside also, are part of the celebration. These are two days of fraternity and fellowship in which it is traditional to go to visit the Virgin, accompanied by family and friends, and then enjoy a good meal.
Tomelloso Fair (August)
Tomelloso Fair and Festivals are one of the most important events in Castilla La Mancha. It is developed from 24th to 30th August. It is a week dedicated Our Lady of Las Viñas Patron Saint, whose celebration is lived at a frenetic pace. Local people take to the streets to enjoy this festival that is popularly known as “La Feria” (The Fair).
The opening of the Semana Grande (great week) begin on the night of the 24th, in the Plaza de España, with the exciting event of La Fiesta de la Vendimia (Grape Harvest Festival), when the first grapes are harvested.
There are activities for everybody and every taste, such as the Jornadas Agroalimentarias (Agro-food Days) where wine, brandy, olive oil, cheese and melon can be tasted; several sports competitions, exhibitions and artistic performances in the Plaza de España and the Jardines del Parque can be enjoyed and also religious events are organized.
The cultural events open with the celebration of the outstanding International Folklore Festival and close with the Literary Contest “Fiesta de las Letras”, a prestigious event that has been held for half a century that puts a magnificent finishing touch.
The typical expression of the Carnaval of Tomelloso has been highlighted by the spectacular parades that can be seen during these days. In the school parade participate almost two thousand children, parents and teachers, displaying so much imagination and colour that has been awarded Regional Tourism Interest Event. In the parade of peñas stand out the large peñas of our town and its surroundings.
Funny and transgressive, it is a very participative and entertaining festival; the school parade is a good opportunity for travelers with their children to come and enjoy it; and the one of peñas offers light, colour and lots of laughs and sense of humour.
To win the Spontaneous Mask Contest it is necessary to have an original costume, a good characterization, and, of course be friendly.
The processions are characterized by the sobriety, but at the same time by a shared feeling of community, thanks to the 17 local Brotherhoods.
The processional floats are carried on the shoulders of the “costaleros”, (porters) who stop the “paso” (religious statue) when someone sing a “saeta” (religious song)
The Silence Procession on Friday night is the most outstanding, with a lot of participants carrying crosses and chains.
Fair and Festival (August)
They have been celebrated since 1845 and have maintained their popular flavour. For a few days Villarrobledo offers an exceptional atmosphere, it is the moment chosen for the family reunion, for the return of those who once left but have not lost their roots.
A large number of activities take place: sports activities of the most varied modalities and of which numerous championships are held, popular games with the most typical disciplines of Villarrobledo, street theatre for children, popular fairs, musical performances with leading artists, bullfighting…
Popular and inclusive, For more than a week, everything in Villarrobledo regards Carnaval. From people who go out in masquerade on the streets, to the shop assistants and waiters in the establishments. Any time is good for this celebration that not only develops activities and maintains traditions similar to other Carnivals, such as Parades of Adult and Children, Murgas and Chirigotas Contest or the Entierro de la Sardina, (sardine burial) but also offers many specific features, such as the Carnaval flea market, the Manchego Pride Night or the Weddings that are used to parody the marriage of… everything. All that make our carnaval unique.
Most of all They are the locals who make the Carnival a big deal, performing shows in the streets and squares, with their own costumes, all of which are more original than any other. The whole of Villarrobledo is, at this time of year, one big fancy dress party.
It has been awarded Regional Tourism Interest Event. The Sobriety and beauty of its sculptures, some of which date back to the 16th century, are its main characteristic.
Of unquestionable beauty are the processions on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday at night, as well as those of the “Encuentro” (Meeting) and the “Resurrección”.(Resurrection)
Typical cuisine either of noblemen and farmers
The Mancha Wine Route offers a gastronomy which has been kept without any kind of change for centuries, maintaining the essence of what it has always been; an austere and simple gastronomy that even coming from humble origins is capable of surprising with every mouthful.
The most traditional recipes from La Mancha have become popular worldwide because their appearance in the book Don Quixote de La Mancha. Among their hallmarks we find: duelos y quebrantos (dish prepared with eggs, chorizo, ham and bacon), Pisto (fried vegetables in its own juice) migas (breadcrumbs fried in oil and garlic with bits of pork), gachas , gazpachos de pastor (stew of partridge, hare, rabbit and pheasant) , Moje/pipirrana (a kind of salad with cold dish), ajoarriero or atascaburras (based on potatoes, cod and eggs). Lamb is mainly cooked roasted, although it can also be prepared in caldereta (lamb stew).
The dishes based in game, both large and small, are also very important. Meals based in game are such as partridges in pickling brine or in the traditional bean stew; quail casserole, venisons, wild boars, hare and rabbit.,
Special mention deserves the internationally acclaimed Manchego cheese
Confectionery include fine pastries as “flores manchegas”, (fried thin flower shaped dough) bizcochada, (sponge finger in sweet cream) torrijas, (bread soaked in milk, then fried and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar) pestiños, (fried thin sheets of dough with sugar or honey) tortas de mosto, (thin cakes with grape juice) arrope, (a jam of different fruits) mostillo (a thick marmalade made of grape juice)
We strongly recommend tasting every dish with a glass of our best wines.
La Mancha, a región to enjoy wine tourism experience to the fullest.
ALCÁZAR DE SAN JUAN
The Tierra del Quijote Regional Wine Contest (March first weekend)
It is one of the most important wine contest that takes place in Spain every year
This competition is aimed to promote the quality of La Mancha wines and to show wine culture.
This is the only contest that has a jury made up of 1,000 people who are in charge of the wines characteristics assessments.
Feria de los Sabores (April last weekend)
It is a food and wine event where you can discover and taste the excellent products of La Mancha in an unrivaled setting. Just a few of them are wines from La Mancha, cheeses, honey, sausages and sweets. Besides, a wide cultural and leisure activities program can be enjoyed.
Gastronomic day of Camacho’s Wedding Stew, (December last weekend)
Several establishments take part in this gastronomic event. Every one of them offers a menu consisting of a starter with products from La Mancha and then the famous Camacho’s Wedding Stew (guiso de bodas de Camacho), based on the idea that Cervantes shows in Don Quixote: “it is served with its bread and wine, and there is no lack of dumplings or meatballs in it”. The dessert is the “bizcochá” from La Mancha, very typical of Alcázar, and pastries.
Jornadas del Vino y Bautismo Qervantino (second week of November). (Wine days and Qervantino baptism)
It is a programme that aims to bring together two defining elements of the culture of Alcázar: Cervantes and Wine.
The anniversary of Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra’s baptism in the Parish Church of Santa María, in Alcázar (on November the 9th) and the European Wine Tourism Day (second Sunday in November) are the occasions marking these days
During the second week in November, a very attractive programme of activities is on the agenda. It combines sports, theatre, music, lectures, visits to wineries, wine tasting, tourist routes, exhibitions, traditional milling, gastronomy… that makes Alcázar de San Juan a reference point in Cervantes world and wine tourism field.
ARGAMASILLA DE ALBA
Collective reading of Don Quixote
In April the 23rd and 24th in “Casa de Medrano” Everyone can participate in this event and enjoy the Reading of the sonnets and epitaphs of the Argamasilla Academicians.
Quijote en la calle (Quixote in the streets)
Last weekend of May or the first of June in Plaza de Alonso Quijano (Alonso Quijano Square) some live acting about Cervantes’ work episodes are performed by the local theatre group “Tiquitoc Teatro”, as well as associations and hundreds of local residents.
CAMPO DE CRIPTANA
Traditional milling (every month it is usually first Sunday).
The XVI century windmills conserving their original mechanism held this event. Sardinero, Burleta and Infanto are the first windmills in the history of La Mancha.
National Zarzuela Week (October)
La Solana is considered the “Villa de la Zarzuela”. Its relationship with this musical genre dates back to the first third of the 20th century, when the play “La Rosa del Azafrán” (The Saffron Rose) was premiered. Its text is by Federico Romero and its libretto is inspired by typical local uses and characters. Since 1984 the National Zarzuela Week has been celebrated in this town and has been organised by the Asociación Cultural Amigos de la Zarzuela “Federico Romero”. The National Zarzuela Week is held in mid-October.
Film and Wine Festival “Ciudad de La Solana” (December)
The La Solana renowned Film Festival links the seventh art with wine. A film event counting on an official section and besides exhibitions, wine tastings, or a tapas route.
Throughout the year different activities related to La Mancha wine and its culture is developed in Socuéllamos MANCHAVINO PROFESIONAL, is addressed at the business sector, it offers training and informative lectures by experts. These activities are held in the Torre del Vino Museum facilities and attended by experts, specialised not only on the oenological world but also in business. The recreational and dynamic side of the wine world can be enjoyed and also some activities of the harvest festival are hosted
Fiesta de la Vendimia (September)
From August 31st to September 9th, Socuéllamos celebrates the Harvest Festival. It provides an appointment with the traditions and culture of a town whose history is linked to wine. The Fiesta is celebrated in honor of Our Lady of Loreto. It begins with the offering of the first grape harvest juice to the patron Saint that marks the starting point to all kinds of activities developed during these days.
The activities are as different as, the Folklore Festival, the already famous Gachas contest, as long as the Outdoor Fast Painting, the Socuéllamos National Wine Tasters and the popular tractors contests. In Loreto Park the competitions of zurra, grape treading and grape bunch. There is also a tasting of Migas Gigantes, wine paired dinners and the now legendary night-time walking route through the vineyards developed every year in one of the many wineries placed in the town… a whole world of entertainment revolving around wine.
Patio del Vino
This is one of Manchavino activities which is held in the Torre del Vino Museum at the beginning of September, besides to the harvest festival.
During last summer nights this event is open to all kinds of public to participate. It takes place at the foot of the Torre del Vino that offers an unique framework with its modern and diaphanous Museum and its outstanding viewpoint. This special setting gives a unique touch to a celebration where the best wines of the city become protagonists and can be tasted while listening to live music.
It is also the best moment to visit the Torre del Vino museum and its 42-metre high viewpoint to contemplate the night sky over La Mancha.
Wine Festival August 26th.
During Tomelloso Fair and Festivals, there is a wine day when talks, workshops and many other activities related with wine can be enjoyed, Also the wineries of Tomelloso offer their wines to be tasted accompanied with tapas and live music
The European Wine Tourism Day (November second Sunady).
It offers several activities related to the wine: tour of tapas, cultural visits, tastings, workshops…
HOW TO GET THERE
How to get to the La Mancha Wine Route
Located in the very heart of La Mancha.
There are different ways to reach La Mancha Wine Route. Madrid is the closest airport, from where you can reach our towns by car, bus or train. Towns with train station are: Alcázar de San Juan, Campo de Criptana, Socuéllamos and Villarrobledo
The towns that make up La Mancha Wine Route are very close to each other, so the easiest way to visit them is by car or train. If you come to La Mancha Wine Route and need to rent a car or prefer private transport, you can hire it at our tourist service companies
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