Manilva is famous for its grapes and wine, and its vineyards have been established since the 16th century. On the first weekend of September, the village pays tribute to the local farmers and celebrates the end of the grape harvest with the “Fiesta de la Vendimia” (Manilva Wine Festival). This is a two day a festival which has been recognised as a unique event in the province and of significant importance for tourism.
The Manilva Wine Festival has been going for many years and combines wine, food, religion, tradition and music to create an unbeatable party, which brings the usually sleepy village to life. There are several different parts to this wonderful celebration and thousands of people from all around Andalusia join in the fun.
We are Manilva property experts and love the Manilva Wine Festival and have been enjoying attending ever since we first set up C2C Properties in 2002. However, we know that it can be hard to find information in English and because it is a festival of parts you can end up missing out. So, in this post, we’ll take you through the different aspects of the Manilva Wine Festival and give you recommendations on how to enjoy it to the full – like a local!
Where is the Manilva Wine Festival and how do you get there?
Manilva is a district and a village, so this can get confusing. This event takes place in Manilva Pueblo, the pretty white village up the hill from the town of Sabinillas on the coast.
The main area of the celebrations extends from the roundabout at the entrance to the village, up to the main town square (Plaza de la Vendimia) and the high street (Calle Mar).
This is all closed to traffic throughout the event and parking can be tricky, but there is a dirt car park on Calle Oceana which is usually a safe bet and a short walk up a steep hill into the centre of the action.
There are public buses which run from Sabinillas to Manilva Village as well, but they are limited and so many people take a taxi to avoid travel issues.
When should you go to the Manilva Wine Festival?
The main day of celebrations is always the Sunday. However, there is usually a flamenco show on the Friday evening, and the festivities really commence on Saturday around 7pm with a religious mass and procession, followed by musical performances.
Remember this is a very hot time of year on the Costa del Sol and everything gets going late, and so you’re better to get up late on Saturday night and party alongside the locals until the early hours.
If you’re travelling into Manilva for the festival you should aim for the Sunday, as this is the main day. Activities such as wine and food tastings and processions start around lunchtime, and the live music normally kicks off around 2pm, with lots going on until 10 or 11pm and finished off with a firework display, if weather conditions allow.
Now you know the basics, let’s drill down to the details!
Flamenco at the Manilva Wine Festival
One important aspect of the Manilva Wine Festival, as with almost all “ferias” in southern Spain is flamenco. You will see many attendees decked out in their flamenco finery and there is live flamenco music being played on the streets and on the stages throughout the event.
For over 40 years, the local flamenco society “Peña Flamenca de Manilva” has held a flamenco festival on the Friday at the beginning of the Vendimia festival, and it continues to go from strength to strength. In recent years, it has been held at the local village school Pablo Picasso, and in 2022 attracted 600 people to enjoy the performances of three incredible female flamenco singers – Argentian, María Terremoto and Anabel Valencia. This is a ticketed event, and cost 20€ in 2022.
We’d recommend this part of the festival for real flamenco aficionados. However, if you just want to hear some and watch the locals dance, you’ll find flamenco performances taking place on the stages in Calle Mar on the main day of the celebrations (Sunday). The more traditional flamenco performances tend to be earlier in the day, with the DJs taking over later in the evening.
Religion and Parades at the Manilva Wine Festival
You’ll find that there is a mass to start almost all festivals in Andalusia, and the Feria de la Vendimia is no different.
On Saturday evening there is a mass in the Parroquia de Santa Ana – the main church in Manilva and this is the first official activity of the event. There is singing from the local music school’s choir and then a procession, taking the statue of “Our Lady of Sorrows” from the church, up Calle de la Iglesia and into Calle Mar. This beautiful statue and the bearers of the float makes for quite a spectacle, and the municipal band provides music to accompany it.
The image of the virgin is accompanied by villagers in traditional costumes and she is presented with an offering of the best grapes and requested to bless the fields and the vineyards of Manilva.
At the same time, local farmers are invited to enter their grapes into a competition to crown the winner of the heaviest bunch of grapes.
There is also a parade on horseback which takes place around 1pm on Sunday.
Music at the Manilva Wine Festival
There’s lots of great live music to enjoy during the Vendimia festival, with groups performing in Calle Mar and in the Vendimia Square. DJs delight the crowds of younger party goers throughout Saturday night and on Sunday evening.
You’ll also see the musicians and dancers of the “pandas de verdiales”, who roam the streets with their instruments and perform in the middle of all the action.
Food and Drink at the Manilva Wine Festival
There are lots of opportunities to enjoy traditional Spanish food and of course wine at this festival.
The centre of the village is transformed with “casetas” or little huts set up outside people’s houses, and bars and stalls on the streets offering drinks and food. It can be hard to get a seat, as it is very crowded, but you can grab a drink or something to eat and find a park bench or a little space to stand in and enjoy the atmosphere.
There are also food trucks with food like burgers, kebabs and jacket potatoes - handy for soaking up the alcohol consumed by the revellers.
C2C Properties Insider’s tip – Most of these casetas are private, invite only affairs, and the bars tend to require that you buy tickets, rather than just pay with cash.
On Sunday there is usually a tasting of wine and grapes, with cheese and ham offered for free to kick off the festivities (it took place at midday in 2022).
The main event, which everything is leading up to, takes place in the Vendimia Square. Here people tread the grapes and you have the opportunity to taste the first press grape juice.
There is a traditional platform with a low wall around it, where the grapes are poured. There are two holes at the base of this platform and spouts for the grape juice to escape from and be captured in barrels. Two or three people in traditional dress tread the grapes and it’s a wonderful sight, which takes you back in time. This took place at 7pm in 2022, but times can vary, so check the programme.
After this, expect another four hours or so of music, dancing, drinking and eating before the festival is brought to a close with a fireworks display (if the weather isn’t too windy).
It really is a fantastic party and something you won’t forget in a hurry!
Where to find up to date information about Manilva Wine Festival?
We recommend you follow the Manilva Town Hall’s press department on Facebook, as they tend to post about the events, although only in Spanish. https://www.facebook.com/AytoManilva
Manilva WS website and Facebook is another great source of information in Spanish
If you’re in the area, then the Town Hall offices usually have summer event information to pick up, as well as flyers and posters with the schedule. However, these tend to be released quite close to the event itself.
You can also follow C2C Properties on Facebook, as we post local information and event information every Friday to help you stay up to date with what’s going on in this fantastic area.
Properties in Manilva
Our clients who are looking for the authentic Spanish experience and a place with charm and tradition really like properties in Manilva village. Families like the excellent state primary school Pablo Picasso and the top-notch sports facilities available.
It is quite a small place, so there is a limited supply of properties in Manilva Pueblo itself, but they do come on the market and there are a number of different options. These vary from traditional whitewashed homes, apartments and flats to more modern townhouses.
If you’re looking for a pool and parking then you can choose a property on a development around the Vendimia square, or some of the larger villas on the outskirts. Central properties are charming and very convenient for accessing everything that Manilva has to offer, but don’t often have pools or parking.
Otherwise, we’ll see you at next year’s Manilva Wine Festival!