Cambados Albarino festival (Pontevedra province)

Cambados is the capital of the Albarino wine region and it is the town where you will find wine merchants and bodegas specialising in the province's excellent Albarino wine. This wine has gained international recognition and is now sold throughout the Western World.

Although these merchants are present all year long, during part of the last week of July and the first week in August the town has a major festival that combines celebrating the region's produce, awarding prizes to the best bodegas, and providing an opportunity for visitors to sample the wines from around 40 to 60 different bodegas.

To the right is a photo showing the itinerary for the various concerts and events taking place on the stage during the Albarino fiesta. This festival is well publicised throughout Galicia and in the media.

The next picture (below) shows the square where the wine festival itself takes place. You can see the stalls (or stands) for a number of the bodegas in the background.

The Albarino fiesta

Although wine takes centre stage for this fiesta, there are a number of other secondary events that occupy the town and take place during different times of the day, so I will get these out of the way first.

As is often the case in Galicia, there is a traveling market selling everything from clothes to trinkets. The stalls are primarily run by South Americans (although there are now a few Africans involved).

There is a stage in the main square with bands playing each night and there are numerous entertainers and presentations intended to entertain various age groups at different times of the day. These run for the duration of the festival.

The Albarino

As for the wine part of the fiesta, this is focussed in a large square opposite a big pazzo (once a mansion now a hotel). A number of kiosk style structures (see photos) are each occupied by a different bodega and these bodega representatives sell their wine by both the glass and the bottle. This means that, for anything from 1.5 Euros to 3 Euros per glass, you can sample as many Albarinos as you wish (and as your constitution can absorb). The photo below right shows one of these stalls.

Some bodegas have a single wine, others have two or three, and most of the better known names like Martin Codax have a presence. A number of smaller bodegas also use this fiesta, but with something like 1,000 different bodegas producing Albarino you tend to see the bigger names.

As you sample the wine you will be entertained by a mix of different "street performers" from bagpipe players to salsa bands, along with the odd individual who has had one too many. All of this starts late morning and continues well into the night.

On the last day of the fiesta there is a very formal award ceremony at the Pazzo which is quite protracted and involves everything from the recognition of new bodgas and winemakers, to making certain individuals something akin to knights of the Albarino. The conclusion is of course the prize of best wine at the fiesta and this is something that will have a long term benefit to the winner in domestic and international sales.

The whole event also acts as a marketing tool for the wine and gets national and international publicity in reviews, articles and these days through social networking.

The Cambados Albarino fiesta is most definitely an event to visit and it will be enhanced if you have an overnight stay in Cambados and are not limited to sampling only one or two glasses of wine. If you miss this fiesta, do not worry - You can buy all the Albarino that you want from the numerous merchants in town. To further enhance your visit, I would suggest that you eat at one of the many restaurants on the mainly pedestrianised main street. All are good value and offer excellent menu del dias.

Our recommendation would be “Luis”, the first restaurant on the left as you pass the stone fort like building on entering the pretty part of the town. This restaurant is popular with commercial wine buyers from all over the world, but is still priced very reasonably. You can see it in the photo above.

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