Sting, Andrea Bocelli, Brad Pitt, Bon Jovi, Chimo Bayo, Francis Ford Coppola, David Silva, Eneko Atxa, Andrés Iniesta, José Luis Cuerda, Julio Salinas, Messi or Rafael Moneo are just some of the famous winemakers. All of them can be tasted by the glass, at popular prices, until June 20 at the Famous Wine Festival, held in 16 wine bars in Avilés, Salinas and Piedras Blancas. It is the only celebrity wine festival in the world. You can discover up to 30 wines, 8 of them international (Argentina, United States, Italy and France).
In this Asturian wine festival, the wines of Sting (they have selected the red Message In A Bottle 2018) and Andrea Bocelli (made by his own family) are present for the first time. The Sting and Bocelli wines coincide in the fact that they have been made in Tuscany with the native Sangiovese grape variety. The third main novelty of the festival comes from the Thyssen Collection, which has a total of six wines. There are three rivers and three rivers, all of them reserves and large reserves of recognized brands such as Carmelo Rodero, Muga, Viña Pomal (Raventós Codorníu group) or Marqués de Riscal, which can also be enjoyed by the glass. As an added value, the organization highlights that this collection is a very limited edition, and that the labels are some of the most famous paintings in the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum.
The initiative seeks to publicize wines signed by celebrities, and glasses will be offered at affordable prices
Each participating wine bar is assigned the wine of one of the celebrities participating in the event. The wine cellars thus become ambassadors for each winery, setting their establishment according to the artist they represent, from the music of the singers to the screening of their films or the colors of their soccer team. Among the planned activities there is no shortage of wine tastings for professionals and amateurs. The program will be completed with various activities that will take place in the participating venues. Festival goers have at their disposal a ‘vinomapa’ to locate participating establishments. The prices of wines by the glass range from € 2.20 for the most popular to € 6 for the most exclusive (the Ama txacolí, by the chef Eneko Atxa and his uncle Gorka Izagirre).
The Famous Wine Festival is promoted by the Avilés Comarca Association and the Gustatio gastronomic events company. This festival aims to “backbone culture, art and wine”. For this reason, the director of a festival that this year reaches its twelfth edition, Fernando Estrada, clarifies that the initiative is promotional. For this reason the prices are affordable. Drinking by the glass is encouraged so that the wines, some with few bottles available, reach a wider audience, although whoever wishes may also purchase the bottles.
Fernando Estrada recognizes that the event has two different audiences. On the one hand, there are fans of celebrities, who want to taste, for example, wines from soccer stars such as Messi or Iniesta. There are also “Wine lovers” who come to the festival every year, some even from outside Asturias, mainly from the Basque Country and Madrid. Coppola wines are usually the most successful, and they are not the cheapest. Last year, the Garnacha del Priorat La Catalina de Vall Llach (the Porrera winery of which Lluís Llach is co-owner) also aroused great interest. This year it has not been able to repeat due to the shortage of available bottles.
They have not always been right in the selection of wines. Fernando Estada admits that a Bob Dylan wine (named after one of his most famous albums: Planet Wawes) did not like much. Some famous wines have not yet made it to the Famous Wine Festival, but they could do so in the future, as is the case with ‘Boig per tu’, a DO Montsant from Vinyes Domènech. Its owner, Joan Ignasi Domènech, affirms that every year he meets with Pep Sala at the Capçanes winery to make the wine coupage while listening to the song ‘Boig per tu’ by Sau. This year they have not been able to count on the cava that Vilarnau (González Byass) has made for Kylie Minogue, since for now it is only available for the British market. The organization also hopes to be able to serve in future editions the sparkling wine that Raventós i Blanc de Sant Sadurní d’Anoia has made for Cameron Diaz and Katherine Power (Avaline), as well as the white wine from Garraf (DO Penedès) from Can Ràfols dels Caus that this same Californian actress has selected.
Yes, Capita Vidal’s cava will be present again in this new edition, linked to ex-footballer Julio Salinas (who is a great collector of cava plates). On other occasions there were wines from the Priorat winery of which Joan Manuel Serrat was co-owner, the Torelló by Custo cava and even a wine linked to the sculptor Lorenzo Quinn (son of Anthony Quinn).
The wine that has caused the organization the most headaches is the liter and a half bottle signed by the driver Fernando Alonso. On the second occasion that this red was selected, a lawyer contacted the organization threatening them, since, according to his understanding, “we were using the image of Fernando Alonso without consent.” They never served this wine again, although “as Asturians it hurt us doubly”, according to Fernando Estrada.
Not even the pandemic has prevented the call for the event from being suspended. Last year it could already be celebrated, although it had to be transferred, with less capacity than usual, to the month of October. This year they hope to serve around 10,000 glasses of wine, 1,500 more than last year.