GRAPE FESTIVAL CUPRAMONTANA
GRAPE FESTIVAL CUPRAMONTANA - EDITION 2022
Every year as early as August, the residents of Cupramontana already start eagerly awaiting the beginning of October again! Because that’s when the biggest event of the year takes place in this capital of the Verdicchio wine region. The Sagra dell’uva!
ROMAN WINE FESTIVAL
The first Sunday of October and the 3 preceding days see the annual Sagra dell’uva, the grape festival. Traditionally, the harvest of wine grapes was celebrated in this village of 4,500 inhabitants. Verdicchio grapes have been grown here and the fresh white wine produced since Roman times. Cupramontana’s Sagra dell’uva is therefore one of the oldest festivals in Italy!
We were able to experience the 85th edition in 2022 up close ourselves! We attended 4 days of the festival, which was festively launched on Thursday for the residents of Cupramontana. After Mayor Enrico Gian Pieri’s speech, bubbles were poured from Colonnara, a local producer of delicious Verdicchio spumante.
Fireworks set off the night and we began our discovery of the festival.
Around the old centre of Cupramontana were all the stalls of Cuprense winemakers and associations. They offered lots of food and lots and lots of wine.
Our first stop was the stall of winery ‘Quaresima’ where we tasted our first Verdicchio of the evening. Next on the menu was a delicious ‘porchetta’ sandwich. A local speciality of pork with an herb crust, highly recommended!
VERDICCHIO A VOLONTE
The brass band stopped by and people flocked. Local artists exhibited their work in the parish hall. A funfair on the old football field could charm the youth and little ones.
We continued our way past the beautifully decorated food and drink stalls of, among others, winery ‘Vallerosa Bonci’, ‘Cupra baseball’, the ‘cacciatore’ (hunters from the village) where a delicious pasta with duck was on the menu and ‘Cherubini’, a winemaker central from the village.
The square had large stages for the various artists who came to perform over the weekend. This year’s programme included big names like ‘Africa Unite’, ‘Willie peyote’ and Cristina D’Avena. There were old-fashioned candy stalls with candyfloss and marjorettes walking with pompoms. A great trip down memory lane!
As newcomers, we had got to know quite a few people from the village. We were having a chat everywhere and being offered glasses of wine. We hadn’t seen the stage on day 1 because it was so late before we could finish our round.
Fortunately, there were still 3 more festive days to go!
PARTY FUN GUARANTEED
On Friday, rain threw a spanner in the works. A setback for the local middle class, who had expected more spectators. 2022 was the first year since corona that the festival could go ahead again.
We did not let the rain stop us, but the artists who came to perform had unfortunately cancelled… Together with the youth, we then gave a small ‘performance’ ourselves with our umbrella dancing in the rain!
Luckily the wine keep flowing from the taps on the wall…
On Saturday, all kinds of folkoristic activities were showcased such as the banner parade and the ‘palio della pigiatura’ , a competition of ‘grape treading’. This involves several teams competing against each other to crush grapes in a wooden barrel, as in ancient times, and do so barefoot. The team with the most ‘must’ (grape juice that is later made into wine) won. Our neighbour Gianni’s family was one of the teams, but unfortunately they were not the winner. Better luck next year!
At the town hall, there is also the ‘fonte del Verdicchio’ (Fountain of Verdicchio) on display every year. From a fountain flows an endless stream of Verdicchio wine, which visitors are offered free of charge by local winegrowers.
PARADE WITH FLOATS
On Sunday, the last day of the festival, it is the grand procession of floats that is always eagerly awaited. Young people from the five neighbourhoods of Cupramontana start designing a float -with a Verdicchio wine theme- as early as summer. Together with the 5 teams, they spend several months building their wagon in a large municipal depot in complete secrecy.
The result is magnificent!
CUPRENS IS NOT ITALIAN
During the parade, the five floats make two laps around the old centre of Cupramontana and when they reach the stage in piazza Giacomo Leopardi, they stop in front of the jury. Here they perform a little play on the cart, entirely in “Cuprens” dialect, which is very difficult to follow even for the real Italian, as they say: “Cuprens is not Italian”!
The festival ended with a concert by Cristina D’Avena, an Italian artist that composes mostly cartoon themed songs, and a crowd gathered in front of the stage where young and old alike sang along loudly to all the songs. This wonderful edition of the four-day grape festival ‘Sagra dell’uva’ where the wine flowed richly, ended in beauty with a magnificent fireworks show.
Would you like to attend the Sagra dell’uva grape festival yourself? Then stay at Villa Verdicchio!
This B&B for winelovers is within walking distance of Cupramontana so you don’t have to miss any of the fun, even when you had some drinks!