The Ronda style as it is known originated by accident in Ronda’s Philip II’s Centre for Horsemanship when a gentleman training on horse was unseated in the path of a bull they used to train officers in horsemanship.
A local man, Francisco Romero distracted the bull on foot using his hat, thus securing both the life of the aristocrat, and inventing a new form of bullfighting perfected by his grandson, Pedro Romero (1754-1839).
It is becoming a popular and enjoyable event within the Pedro Romero Feria, the annual grape stomping to officially kick off the beginning of the wine pressing season after grapes have matured in the summer sun. The arrival of the Damas Goyesca to lend their feet is eagerly awaited.
Aside from stomping grapes in traditional wooden tanks, which is a lot of fun, the day has a more serious agenda as dignataries and visitors are able to sample some of the latest wines on offer, as well as some of the best meats and cheeses made in the Serranía.
For thousands of years wine has been made in the Serranía, ancient Iberian people are understood to have fermented grapes, though the Romans really gave wine making a boost with dozens of warehouses at Setenil supplied by large villas surrounding Acinipo. In fact Acinipo wine is believed to have been in great demand in the larger cities of Iberia and Rome itself.
During the last century vineyards have slowly made a comeback, not achieving much renown until recently, though the pace of change of acceptance of Ronda wines is speeding up with several local wines taking Gold at some of the most prestigious international wine competitions.
The annual wine stomping at the Museum of Wine in an old factory near the Santa Maria church is new tradition, but one that is proving popular with wine connoisseurs and tourists, in fact in 2007 over 4,000 people attended.
Great strides have been taken to promote wines of the district, with a special designation having been approved “Designation of Origin Malaga – Serranía de Ronda”, especially after the great phylloxera tragedy.
Thankfully the days of Ronda wines being shunned are well past us, and great vineyards such as La Sangre de Ronda, Jorge Bonet, Los Aguilares, Andalus, Doña Felisa and many more attracting attention from some of the best restaurants in Spain, and other wines sought ofter in foreign markets, the future is looking bright.
2010 is a special year for the annual Corrida Goyesca and the Real Maestranza de Ronda as both celebrate the 225th anniversary of the construction of Ronda’s Plaza de Toros, a nationally protected monument with a fascinating history.
Last Saturday saw Rondeños come out into the streets in their thousands for the annual Carnaval procession (cabalgata) which this year snaked it’s way from the top of La Bola to the Plaza de Toros.
Carnaval in Ronda is a small affair due to the Pedro Romero Feria being the big event in our fair city, though the people of Ronda still make a decent effort to showcase their love of having fun.
The cabalgata consisted of several floats towed by 4wd vehicles, including last year’s Goyesca Dames who parodied their formal attire with home-made gowns and extravagant moves to the great amusement of the crowd.
High school students also took part, with a great selection of clowns, cross-dressing footballers and their cheerleading squad, or babies sucking dummies. As well, several employee groups joined the festivities with political messages about how the economic crisis is affecting their livelihood.
But perhaps the highlight, at least for Rondeños watching the procession, was the musical act “Entre los Flores”, who this year became the first Rondeño act in living memory to reach the semi-finals at the Falla theatre in Cadíz, the home of Spanish carnaval. Whilst the Rondeños didn’t win in Cadíz, they certainly did in Ronda, with a crowd that couldn’t get enough.
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