The time of the harvest has finally arrived in our beautiful French wine regions. A time that is important since it is the fruit of the entire year of work by the winegrower. A moment of conviviality, the harvest represents a real part of French culture. Let's find out all about this harvest.
What is the harvest?
The name vendange comes from the name Vendémiaire which is the name of the first month of the republican calendar which lasts from September 22 to October 21. It refers to the harvest period which in France was generally between September and October. The harvest refers to the harvest of grapes intended for the production of wine. The term harvest is used in the plural to generally designate the period when the operation is carried out. The harvest period varies depending on the region and the climate. It can be between the end of July and mid-October. However, it corresponds above all to the period when the grape has reached its level of maturity. Or, when the ratio between sugar and acidity has reached its optimum level of stability.
The different methods
There are two types of harvest. Manual harvests and mechanical harvests. The choice of harvesting method depends on the desired quality of the wines, the costs and the values that the estate wishes to defend or promote. Manual harvesting is often used in the production of higher quality wines or sparkling wines such as champagne where the selection of the bunches is more rigorous. It is also widely used in organic, biodynamic and natural wine where this method is favored since it meets the expectations and the philosophy of the winegrowers. Finally, this harvesting method is also practiced in vineyards where machines cannot harvest. For example, when the land is not suitable or the rows of vines are too narrow. Manual harvesting has a higher production cost since it requires a great deal of labor. Indeed, it requires pickers or cutters. With a secateurs they cut and place the bunches of grapes in buckets, small crates or even wicker baskets. Then the bunches are placed in a hood or crate which will be moved by a porter to the edge of the plot. During manual harvesting, sorting is done at the same time as the grapes are picked. Mechanical harvests are more economical. They are carried out by tractors designed to span one or two rows of vines called straddles . The straddles do not allow sorting the bunches of grapes. Thus, after the harvest, the winegrowers place the bunches on sorting tables before passing them through the press.
In France, the time of the harvest is a festive tradition deeply rooted in the wine-growing regions since it is the most significant stage in the making of wine. It marks the end of work in the vineyard (viticulture) and the start of work in the cellar (winemaking). Each region therefore has a habit of celebrating the end of this process as it should. In Champagne, and more particularly in the Marne region, we speak of Cochelet to designate the end of harvest festival. Le Cochelet draws its tradition from an ancient custom at the end of the harvest dating back to the Middle Ages. For the occasion we brought a rooster during the meal which we drank wine. The drunken animal was then released to the laughter of the guests. The cochelet designating at the time the rooster of the church steeple. Although the rooster is gone, the tradition of gathering around a festive meal has remained. In Burgundy, several traditions coexist. The best known is the Paulée . La Paulée is a traditional meal where everyone brings their best wine. The famous Paulée de Meursault which closes " Les Trois Glorieuse s " (great Burgundian celebration taking place at Clos de Vougeot, in Beaune on the occasion of the Hospices sale, then in Meursault), is traditionally celebrated every third weekend of November. The name Paulée comes from the patois paule which means shovel and refers to the last stroke of the grape shovel poured into the press. In Mâconnais and Beaujolais the celebrations carry the de R'voule. On the menu, meat-based meals in sauce and waffles for dessert! Finally, in the Bordeaux region, the Gerbaude is the traditional festival. The celebration takes its name from the word "wreath". Or, a set of stems covered with flowers that were placed on the very last cart of the harvest.
An incredibly early 2020 harvest!
This year 2020, the harvests are breaking all the precocity records! Indeed, more than 40 years since the harvest had not happened so early. The reason ? Exceptional sunshine and heat records throughout the first half of this year. The year 2020 promises to be an exceptional vintage. Special mention for Domaine Fichet, the first estate with which Domaine du Goût to collaborate for its box, which was the first estate to launch the harvest season this year on Wednesday August 12, 2020.
While waiting for the end of the harvest
If you can not wait until the end of the harvest to celebrate with good wine, do not hesitate to discover the wines inour shop .
Want to discover new wines? Subscribe to our box , and receive each month three wines from three different regions. Taste, and receive three bottles of your favorite wine.