A Rioja wine fight took place in Bute park.

Wales’ very own specialist Spanish bar and restaurant 44 Group, comprised of three Bar 44 tapas bars and one Asador 44 Spanish grill in South Wales, has been chosen as one of only four groups in the UK to host Imbibe Magazines’ “Rethink Rioja Festival 2018” from 2 – 15 July.


To celebrate the start of the Festival and the launch of the 44 Group Rioja Trail, staff from Bar 44 took to Bute Park in Cardiff to recreate La Batalla del Vino de Haro, in the Rioja region, also known as the Wine Fight. Dressed in white they spurt wine at each other with super soakers.


Up to 40% of the Rioja vineyards are located in Haro, such is the importance of rioja to the town that every year at the end of June, the locals celebrate with their own Haro Wine Festival. And now, there’s an opportunity to join in the rioja celebrations in south Wales.


While most people have heard of and sampled rioja wine, the festival hopes to highlight how the old-school, traditional heavy oak styles have been revolutionised in recent years and winemakers in the region are championing lighter styles and more progressive techniques resulting in an incredibly diverse offering.


A different selection of red, white and rose riojas will be available, at heavily discounted prices, at each of the 44 Groups’ four restaurants across the fortnight to reflect the personalities of each bar and restaurant.


Asador sommeliers Jessica Walker and Sophie Ehlers have a selection of favourites from a list of 60 exciting new-wave rioja wines and can be enjoyed by the glass, bottle or in smaller, flight measures during the festival.


There will also be pairing menus available in the Cowbridge, Penarth and Cardiff Bar 44s and Asador 44 and people are encouraged to follow the trail to enjoy the different offerings at each restaurant.


Co-owner of the 44 Group, Owen Morgan, recently won the prestigious Imbibe Magazine Restaurant Personality of the Year, 2018 Award.  He said “We are absolutely delighted to have been chosen to take part in the 2018 Rethink Rioja Festival.  It is sure to be a fun-filled, rioja-fuelled couple of weeks where everyone is welcome to come along and try some truly world-leading and unique wines from one of my favourite parts of Spain.”


For those intrepid wine-lovers who visit each of the 44 sites over the festival and sample every wine, they can get a card stamped and then enter a draw to win an invitation to one of the soft launches of the new Bar 44 opening in Clifton at the start of August, with an overnight stay at the stunning Avon Gorge Hotel.


For more information visit www.bar44.co.uk