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Qormi Wine Festival
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Saturday, 04 April 2009 14:59

History of the festival

2005 – turning an idea into reality




It was in this year that Kumitat Festi Esterni decided to setup an event in September to celebrate the culture of Maltese wine making, which has its roots in Qormi. The 2005 was a good start. It was still a phase of testing, since no one before has ever dared to organize a wine festival in a village.



We were only used to such festival in Valletta or for a special occasion. But the efforts of the organizing committee turned out to be fruitful. The pjazza in front of St George’s Church was packed with fanatics of wine who flocked to Qormi for that so called ‘event with a difference’.


All the streets were specially decorated for the occasion. The organizers also managed to setup stalls with traditional Maltese food which compliments wine.


2006 and 2007 – establishing the festival as a national event

This incredibly popular social event become a meeting place for thousands of wine enthusiasts who came along each year to join in the celebrations that were organized at the peak of the Maltese grape harvest. People from all walks of life look forward to this cultural event. The organizing committee’s premises were converted into an exhibition space that recreated the atmosphere inside the typical traditional wine bar, very common in the Maltese Islands at the turn of the century.  The Ta’ Kurun wine bar was set up complete with old wooden barrels, wooden stools and an authentic wooden bar, together with life-size models of men drinking wine, giving a perfect illustration of life in the typical village wine bar.


Wall panels were also used to give historical information about the wine-traditions of Qormi, a village well known for its wine-making culture.  During these editions, the organizers gave more importance to the aspect of music and entertainment for the festival. The main stage (which was the only stage until this year) featured dancers in traditional Maltese costumes, folk singing, and renowned artists like Enzo Gusman, Benny & Tonia, Greenfields and others. In 2006 the organizers kicked-off the very popular wine competition. This competition brings together home made wines which compete for the best prices. Eventually it turned out to be the most sought-after competition of its sort in Malta. The wines competing are awarded not just for their taste but also for colour, smell and texture. This is why the committee calls for a panel of professionals to judge these wines.


2008 – the biggest edition…10,000 people!

wine fest 2008

The 2008 edition was the biggest so far, attracting huge crowds to Qormi for both days of the festival. Amongst the 10,000 who were estimated to have attended the 2008 Qormi Wine Festival, there were also hundreds of tourists. Apart from the exhibition on the tradition of wine making in Malta, the 2008 edition added another 4 exhibitions to increase more attractions for this festival. Alley number 1 in Main Street in Qormi served as a temporary exhibition hall, featuring paintings by Daniel Scerri on the Byzantine style. The artist used different media to create his works, alternating between wood panels ranging from wooden doors and other boards that come to hand, as well as stone and canvas. For the first time, Alley number 6 in the same street featured a photographic exhibition with works by Christopher Azzopardi, displaying colour and black & white photos having crafts as a common underlying theme. Also for the first time, a floral exhibition was held. Sixteen students from the Micallef Grimaud Ladies’ Academy created floral displays centring on the theme of the Maltese traditional festa.  The St George’s Parish Museum, adjacent to the church in St George’s Street, also opened for the occasion. It is usually open on one occasion during the year, but was specifically opened, until late, for those visiting Qormi for the Wine Festival, especially tourists.


The museum will served as a highlight to the culturally-minded visitor, displaying several works of art that are inherent to Qormi’s and the parish’s cultural history, dating as far back as the 15th Century. Paintings by Mattia Preti, Francesco Zahra and Stefano Erardi were displayed a few metres away from paintings that adorned the St George’s Parish in bygone years, including the first titular painting with panels. Several historical documents, including those related to the construction of the present church, dating as far back as the 17th Century were also on display, as were designs of antique silverware, actual antique wooden chandeliers and models of Good Friday processional statues. Of particular note is the 18th Century carriage used by Grand Master Pinto to travel from his beloved Città Pinto. For the 2008 edition there were three different stages, featuring separate musical genres. Hence the area had to be double and spread throughout other streets.


The main stage featured a huge concert by the Big Band Brothers, traditional folk dancing by the Astra Folk Group from Gozo, a two-hour concert by the Festive Brass Band and the closing by Enzo Gusman.  A special map indicating all the attractions of the event was given out to those who attended.


Food platters included Greek, Italian and Spanish dishes, togheter with the traditional Maltese platter, and also Maltese sweets (Imqaret).


Recently, it also participated in the European Youth Week 2008, which was organized in Valletta by EUPA and the Secretariat for Youth and Sport. The committee is currently working on another national event – The Malta Springfest 2009.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 September 2009 10:47


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