Vendange is one of the most important activities in the wine calendar. If the grapes are not picked, there is no wine!
Vendange, or the “Grape Harvest” is a major event in Provence that starts in mid-September or late September, depending on the weather. Each farmer makes their decision as to when the best date is to start, and when the best time is to pick the grapes, it is their secret! This year (2020), the Vendange has started earlier as it has been a very dry summer and the sugar levels have risen, so now is the time.
Traditionally and more romantically, the grapes were hand picked in the early morning, placed in La Hutte (Cane basket) and taken to the winery for processing. The picking should be done by midday, before the heat rises, but also to ensure a simple lunch can be had after the hard work of picking. In some areas of Provence, hand picking is not only still done, but is mandatory subject to the rules of the Appellation.
In the Luberon and many other areas, many farmers use mechanical harvesting, and whilst less romantic, it is still an amazing sight to see. Mechanical harvesting can be done in the very early hours of the morning using lights, picking the grapes at the best temperature for processing. You can hear the harvesters growling in the morning if you listen hard enough!
For visiting the region, this is an amazing time, cooler weather, less tourists and the excitement of the Vendange can make a fantastic experience for any visitor, whether it is your first time or your 10th time.
Join us in 2021, Villa Maison Tours, for an experience of a lifetime and learn all there is to know about the Vendange.