The province of Mendoza is the centre of Argentina's wine making. In 2005 it was declared the great wine capital of the world. Here the Malbec grape variety was selected. More than 1,200 local wineries produce up to 70% of Argentina's wine.
The most important event in the life of the region is the collection of grapes, which depends on the grade and degree of maturation. The grapes are harvested only manually from late February to April.
On the first Saturday of February to March in the provincial capital, locals organise a festival—Fiesta de la Vendimia—dedicated to grape harvesting. This is one of the most anticipated events of Mendoza, attracting people from all over the world.
The holiday begins with the fruit blessing, the patroness of which is the Virgin of Carrodilla. People thank the higher powers for a good harvest of grapes—the main treat at the festival, and for the labour of wine producers. Then begins a bright and stormy fun which often lasts for several weeks. In the evening vendimia ‘queens’ parade takes place along the streets of the city. The carnival procession is called "carousel" and includes chariots, dancers, and gauchos and is held in the afternoon on the first Saturday of March. The culmination of the holiday is a grand live concert with dance, song, and a light show in the main amphitheatre of Mendoza called "Fray Romero Day". The celebration ends with fireworks and mass festivities.