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Vendimia International Festival

Written by:
Claire Dean

Published: 12-12-2022

Peru has recently become a leading player in the South American wine scene, and vineyards can now be found all over the country, especially in southern Peru near the city of Ica, where some of the best pisco and wines are produced. Once a year, the country celebrates its wine and pisco-making traditions during La Vendimia, a festival dedicated to Peruvian grapes. If you want to experience the best the festival offers, head to Ica and stay at one of the many vineyards to enjoy all the fun! The Vendimia International Festival began in 1958 to celebrate the grape harvest. The festival is celebrated nationwide from humble beginnings, but the epicenter of wine production and the best place to celebrate is the Ica Vendimia. 


The Vendimia International Festival first took place in 1958 as a way to celebrate grape harvesting and promote Peruvian Pisco. Coming from humble beginnings, the festival is now celebrated across Peru but is mostly celebrated in Ica and other Pisco-producing regions, south of Lima. Visit on Ica Peru tours!

Ica Winery


During the first week of March, the region of Ica celebrates its grapes grown for wine and pisco. These fruits thrive in the area's sunny and dry environment and celebrate their culture. The Ica Vendimia is the perfect mixture of tradition and delicate flavors. Peruvians and tourists descend to Ica to visit the country's most important vineyards. They can see precisely how the juices are extracted from the grapes and watch the Peruvian process of wine- and pisco-making. Visitors will have the chance to witness traditional grape stomping, an activity reflective of the region's winemaking tradition.


Peruvians take their Pisco very seriously! Both Peruvians and tourists flock to the south of Lima to visit the country’s most important vineyards. Here they can see the artisanal methods of the juice extraction process and learn about Peruvian wine production and pisco-making in more depth.. Visit Ica and take the Pisco route of the vineyards to learn more!

Traditional Pisco Press

The celebration goes way beyond winemaking and is a celebration of everything Peruvian. As in every other city celebrating the tradition, you can appreciate different activities and plenty of food, music, and games. It is a great chance to experience everything Peru offers, all in one place. This is an excellent opportunity to sample Peru's delicious gastronomy, such as ceviche, anticuchos, and picarones, all accompanied by traditional Peruvian music. One of the main events of The Vendemia is the Queen of the Wine Festival, a beauty pageant where the winner gets to be the first person to stomp on the grapes. These celebrations that surround planting and harvesting have taken place since pre-Inca times. Over the years, these customs have survived, adapting to the many social changes the country experienced and transforming along the way.


One of the attractions of the Vendimia event is the Wine Festival beauty contest. Accompanied by her maidens, the winner of the beauty queen contest treads the grapes in the traditional way to extract the juice that will then be fermented to make Pisco. When you are sampling your first Pisco Sour on your Peru holiday packages, remember that it has probably been stamped on by a barefoot, Peruvian lady!

The Queen of the Festival


All activities during the exciting harvest week revolve around the signature crop: the grape. Bunches are cut and placed in baskets before taking them to the designated press. It is here that the famous "stomping" takes place; both men and women make their way into the press and stomp on the grapes with their bare feet to the beat of Peruvian cajones. After all the hard work, what better way than to enjoy the final product? The Ruta de Los Lagares – or "wine press route" takes visitors on tour through the main wineries in the area, many of which continue to produce wine and pisco in the same traditional ways. Visitors make their way through the region and learn about the elaboration process. Each day, a different winery prepares a series of activities for visitors. At the end of all the events, everyone is invited to indulge in a series of tastings that showcase the flavors of the earth.


The vendimia is a wonderful opportunity to experience everything Peruvian.  You will have a chance to try the country’s astounding gastronomy, including ceviche and anticuchos, and listen to traditional Peruvian music. This festival really does embrace everything Peruvian when you visit Ica.

Ica Vineyard


The final day of the Vendemia is centered around "the yunza", a lively tradition unique to Peru. Participants take turns trying to cut down a young tree decorated with balloons and gifts, one axe whack at a time. The axe and the wine are passed from person to person, to the rhythm of the music, until the tree falls. Upon its fall, participants rush to pick up the gifts, and as tradition has it, the person who struck the last blow is in charge of organizing the following year's yunza event.


Of course, no Pisco festival would be a celebration if you weren't able to sample the product! If you really want to experience the best that the festival has on offer, travel to Ica Peru and stay at one of the many vineyards to enjoy the fun and sample Peru´s national tipple!

Pisco Tasting



The vineyards have long since disappeared from Surco in Lima as the city has expanded. While Peru's wine and pisco are primarily produced in the country's south, Surco once was Lima's top wine producer. During Surco's Vendimia, the neighborhood's Plaza de Armas is where the party gets going, with plenty of food, drinks, music, and of course, plenty of wine and pisco. In colonial and early republican times, part of what today is the district of Surco in Lima was a wine-growing area. Today there are a handful of local wineries and many small traditional wine bars and eateries around Surco's main square. To keep this part of Surco's history and tradition alive, the district celebrates its own Grape Harvest Festival, usually in the second half of March.


Surco is a Lima suburb that was once home to the vineyards of Peru´s capital. Surco at one time was Lima’s top wine producer. During Surco’s la vendimia, the neighborhood’s Plaza de Armas is where the party and fun get going, even to this day. Why not take a visit on your Lima Peru tours?

Surco Vendimia


As in Ica, the festival starts with the Grand Parade of the Grape Harvest (Gran Corso de la Vendimia), introducing the wine queen candidates to the public; expect a delightful mix of folkloric dance and music groups, colorfully decorated floats sponsored by local businesses and a little "self-promotion" of the local municipality. In the evening, there are big fireworks displays also. During the actual 4-day celebration of the Vendimia in Surco, which takes place at and around Surco's main square, a wine queen is elected. The coming days are filled with many activities around wine, such as traditional grape stomping, wine, and Pisco tastings, presentations on the conventional way of wine and Pisco making and an exhibition of established wineries. Classic Peruvian dance shows and a great music program with concerts of national and international artists complete the spectacle.


Surco was home to grape-growing farms, but the Italian immigration of the 19th century converted the district into a regional powerhouse as the vineyards occupied 1,100 acres. The grapes were grown for consumption, wine and Peru’s national spirit, pisco. Pisco is un-aged brandy, which is clear because it never sits in wooden barrels. Pisco is a must-try on your Peru tour packages!


If you are interested in the culture, wines, and history of this delicious drink, and its place in Peruvian history,  then the Vendemia is a must-visit if you visit Peru in March. Ask us here for more information about this impressive Ica Vendemia!