For those looking to relocate or acquire holiday property in France, it should be noted that the wine harvest season is regarded among the best times of the year. The people of France take great pleasure in hosting a plethora of wine festivals and tastings that give newcomers, visitors and locals alike the chance to sample the wines from each year’s harvest.
If you are looking to buy an Ile de Re property for sale with a vineyard, for example, then this insightful guide to the French wine harvest is sure to put you in good stead for the future:
When does the harvest take place?
Grapes are harvested as early as August right through until October, depending on the regions they are grown in. However, a regular month for harvesting grapes takes place in September. Owners must often allow room for fluctuation on harvest dates due to the ripeness of the grapes varying year on year; therefore growers are required to wait for the grapes to achieve their optimal level of ripeness. One of the defining factors in any harvest is the climate; if a region has experienced a cooler period, grapes harvests must wait slightly longer than usual. Additionally, opting when to harvest grapes is calculated on the levels of sugar the grapes possess, along with the ripeness the skins of the grape have.
Wine harvests can last from several days to several weeks, depending on the size of the plot. During the harvesting period fleets of tractors can be seen making their way through the vineyards as they transport a shuttle of crates containing grapes to the presses, before going through the next stage of the wine-making process. Once this stage of the harvesting process is complete, the vines are left bare in anticipation for the forthcoming crop to start the cycle again the following year.
While most of the modern wine harvesting is achieved using machinery, there are certain regions that strictly prohibit the inclusion of machinery in their harvests. As a result, there has been a strong resurgence of manually-harvested grapes which has led to an increase in quality.
Omissions from the norm
There are several grape varieties that are harvested as late as November due to having special characteristics that require additional time to mature. For example, in Jurancon, the grapes dry on the vine, which allows the sugar content to concentrate, resulting in a sweet and strong wine that is perfect for making aperitifs. Additionally, there are grapes in the Layon Valley, Sauterne and Alsace that take on the assistance of a mushroom to develop unique flavours. The flower, Botrytis cinereal, causes something known as ‘noble rot’, which allows for a concentration of sugars and other strong flavours in the grapes.
If you would like to discuss French property with us further, then contact us today. We would be happy to help you in your search.