It’s an exciting time of year for grape growers and wine lovers alike as the vendanges, the period of grape harvesting, has officially begun. Each year is slightly different depending on the region, mother nature, and the grapes themselves. Typically the vendanges begin in late August and can last through October. Read on to learn more about the process, how to take part, and how to celebrate the 2022 grape harvest in France.
The 2022 Grape Harvest in France
When is the Harvest in France this Year?
Each prefecture must lift the ban on grape harvesting (lever le ban des vendanges) before picking begins. This date is typically about 100 days after the vine flowers. Ultimately, the harvesting date depends on the grapes. Wine growers monitor levels of sugar and acidity as well as the amount of tannins, especially for red wines.
Vendanges typically begin in late August in southern parts of France like Corsica and Provence and can last through October. Severe frosts make the date later and heatwaves make it earlier. In 2022, thanks to a hot and dry climate, the vendanges are about two weeks earlier than they were in 2021. Harvesting typically lasts for about 15 days, depending on the size of the vineyard.
The Champagne harvest period began on August 22nd. Bordeaux entered the harvest period on August 16th with crémant, which makes up 1% of their production. Next, they’ll start harvesting grapes for white wines. The first grapes for red wines will follow likely in mid-September. At the end of September the bulk of grapes for red wines will be harvested. In Burgundy, the harvest period is beginning this week.
Where to Stay During the Grape Harvests in Burgundy
Hôtel Le Montrachet
An elegant 4-star hotel nestled in the wine-producing village of Puligny-Montrachet in Burgundy, this 19th-century limestone building is set around a pedestrian square. The picturesque settings give the hotel a serene ambiance.
The completely renovated rooms are named after the famous Burgundy wines. A Bourgeois house just a few steps away from the hotel, with a beautiful façade and large garden, is open for travelers to relax in.
Indulge in the fine gourmet cuisine in the in-house restaurant. The delicious and colorful meals are a treat to the palate. The hotel’s Chardonnay wine bar offers 16 well-kept wines for you to discover the Burgundy wines at your leisure. You can even explore their cellar and buy the wines of your choice.
How Grapes are Harvested in France
Grapes are largely harvested by hand. Some regions like Champagne even require it. This means bringing in some extra help – about 300,000 people in order to cover the approximately 750,000 hectares (1.9 million acres) of vineyards in France. It’s a seasonal job open to anyone older than 16 and is popular among students.
In some cases, machines harvest the grapes. Machines increase productivity and can harvest about 200 times more grapes per day than a person. They also run day and night, no matter the weather conditions. However, machines are less accurate and can sometimes damage the delicate grapes. Machines also require sorting to remove any grapes with undesirable qualities.
Participating in French Grape Harvests
Visiting the cellars during the vendanges can be complicated. Many wineries close for tours. For a unique experience, we recommend attending a grape picking festival. Fête de la Pressée or a Grape Pressing Party is an annual wine event in the town of Chanôve, Burgundy, near Dijon. This festival is a celebration of medieval wine-making traditions, particularly grape pressing. Participants have the opportunity to taste the first-hand pressing or the bourrou. Participants can enjoy events around the history and savoir-faire of winemaking.
Celebrating the Grape Harvest in France
There are many different harvest festivals throughout France. One of the first is the Festivini Festival of Food and Wine in the Loire Valley. Perhaps the most well-known is the Montmartre Grape Harvest Festival in Paris. More than 40 bars and restaurants take part in the four day event which includes activities like concerts, entertainment, tastings of regional and local products, dances, walks, special exhibits and more.
Where to Stay During the Grape Harvest in Champagne
Château de Sacy
Experience a beautiful stay in a spacious, luxurious and comfortable Château, opening onto the vineyards on all sides. Elegance and modernity are combined in an atmosphere conducive to both relaxation and fun.
You’ll have a pleasurable stay in the elegant and modern rooms surrounded by beautiful vineyards with a splendid view of the mountains of Reims. Dining in the authentic restaurant with a delicate cuisine and 360 degree view of the vineyards will be a lovely memory and a unique experience.
The spa offers exceptional services, and quality and excellence are the spa’s motto. Discover your inner-self with yoga and fitness classes in the middle of the vines, surrounded by a scenic image of Reims.
For those who love sports and culture, there are numerous activities in the area including golf, opera, and more. Visit and be one with the nature.
Whether you can experience the 2022 grape harvest in France in person or not, it’s an exciting time for wine lovers. The French wine regions are diverse and worth exploring whenever you have the chance. Some of our favorite tours include A Road trip through Bordeaux and Dordogne’s Nature and Wine Country, The Best of Beaujolais, Burgundy, and Champagne Vineyards, and A Luxury Escape to Burgundy’s Vineyards. French Side Travel has something for everyone whether you’re interested in food and wine, history and culture, adventure, or romance and scenery.
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