Top five wine festivals in Europe for 2017

Sunny celebrations in Rioja, Bordeaux, Paris, Champagne... and even Budapest

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Group of young people toasting with wine glasses.

What better way to tingle your tastebuds on holiday than visit a wine festival?

We asked SmoothRed, a leading company specialising in wine holidays and tours, to recommend the pick of the bunch for this year.

From a riot in Rioja to a knees-up in Budapest, these tantalising festivals will hit the spot for all wine buffs looking for a taste of something special this year.

See also: Italian town unveils free wine fountain

Pop your cork in Champagne, France

Who doesn't reach for the Champagne on a special occasion? So it's surely apt that the world's favourite sparkling wine has just become the subject of a celebration itself.

A new annual event, La Champenoise, which launched in 2016, will get the corks popping again on 9 and 10 June in Reims, the home of Champagne just north-east of Paris.

There, you can learn all about France's famous bubbles from more than 65 Champagne houses, including famous names and lesser-known independents.

They'll be topping up glasses for tastings and offering bargain prices for those wishing to stock up their cellars.

Glug on the run in Bordeaux, France

Limber up for the world's booziest race.

It may sound like more of a marathon drinking session than a cross-country run, but this is a serious road race with an edge of fancy-dress fun.

Thousands apply to stride out amid the iconic French chateaux on the banks of the Gironde for Le Marathon du Médoc each year.

Some 10,000 competitors will go under the starter's gun for the 26.2-mile run, north of Bordeaux, on 9 June in 2017.

And what better way for runners to keep hydrated than with the fine wines produced from the surrounding plumptious grapes?

As for refuelling, participants can forget the usual energy gels: oysters, steak, and ice cream are just a few of the tasty treats the runners will stock up on at pitstops along the way.

Have a riot in Rioja, Spain

La Batalla del Vino, 29 de junio, la batalla a los pies de los riscos de Bilibio, Rioja Alta, DOC La RiojaHaro, la Rioja,

Get ready to battle it out at the annual wine fight in Rioja, La Batalla de Haro.

Thousands of revellers turn out to drench each other in local wine on a hill just outside Haro, a town at the heart of Spain's Rioja vineyards, during this novel annual wine festival, from 28 to 30 June in 2017.

The tradition stretches back to the 13th century, when the good people of Haro and the neighbouring village began meeting each year to mark the boundary between the two communities.

A few hundred years later, this convivial meet-up deteriorated into a scrap, with the rival groups throwing wine at each other – and a curious annual event was born.

These days the stand-off is more friendly than feisty, and is followed by partying in the streets.

See also: The world's messiest festivals

Raise a glass in Budapest, Hungary

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Hungary? Wine? Find out more about this nation's overlooked vineyards at the Budapest Wine Festival, from 7 to 10 September in 2017.

More than 200 wineries will be showing why the fruits of their vines have moved on from being the cheap choice for the desperate student to eminently quaffable vintages and Hungary's emerging wine scene is one to watch.

What's more, the festival takes place in the fabulous setting of Buda Castle.

There you can test the wines on your discerning palate, while enjoying sublime views of the city from the terraces of this medieval royal palace.

See also: Take a look at this underwater winery in Croatia

Bring in the harvest in Paris

Who knew you could celebrate the grape harvest in the shadow of Sacré-Coeur, right in the heart of Paris?

That's what happens each year at the Fête des Vendanges de Montmartre, from 11 to 15 October in 2017.

The 2,000 serried vines of Clos Montmartre cling to a steep slope in the midst of the 18tharrondissement, from which 1,000 bottles of red are produced each year.

They're auctioned off for charity at this annual festival, which harks back to days of yore despite the vineyard being planted in the 1930s.

This being Paris, the event also doubles as a contemporary arts festival, with a packed programme of concerts, art exhibitions, poetry readings and more.

For more ideas on wine tours and holidays, visit SmoothRed.co.uk

Ten fabulous wine holidays

Ten fabulous wine holidays