When is a Wine Fair not a Wine Fair? When it’s The Wine Fair!
Ok – not funny, but true. I refer of course to the famous Foire aux vins which takes place every August in Colmar. With such a name, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this particular festival had something to do with wine. Nothing could be further from the truth however.
Unfortunately this doesn’t stop hundreds of curious visitors making their way to the festival in Colmar each year and asking themselves “So where’s the wine?” soon after getting through the turnstiles. (Which is precisely what my cousin and I did a few weeks ago.)
What wine there is at the Fair you have to pay between 1.50 – 5.00 a glass to taste, and there are no spittoons – so you have to swallow. However, you may have trouble locating the viticulturists in between the double-glazing and farm machinery stands, but then this is not a wine-tasting event per se, it is simply local show that has evolved into something of a mutating beast with an identity crisis.
In the UK it would have been renamed “The Colmar Music Festival” by now, and all the farm related drudgery done away with in favour of fringe attractions and bars. Clearly though the organisers of the festival believe that music lovers appreciate easy access to farming and home improvement supplies:
“Sure, I’ve come to enjoy the Hard-Rock session with Judas Priest, but on my way in I’m planning to buy some home insurance, a swimming pool and a ride-on lawn-mower. I may even taste some wine too.”
An unlikely demographic profile if you ask me. Although it is hard to contest the fact that this formula has worked successfully since the 1960s! As French music Festivals go it’s not bad. Every night the main stage plays host to some big international names and it is rare that the biggest bands are not sold out months in advance.
One wonders though just how long they can go on calling it a bloody wine fair? Trading Standards anyone?