A very special time for winemakers!

Since Friday, August 14th, harvests 2020 have started in the Golfe de Saint-Tropez boosting the work of the winemakers who since then, winemakers have been sleeping little, running around and the vats are filling up with the 2020 vintage!

A year that has been mixed in the Gulf, a dry, warm, rain-free summer, some of which has been hit hard by hail and others by frost. This year has therefore been an intense one for the winemakers who, in addition to taking even more care of their vines by practising the pruning of the winter themselves, in family (usually they outsource the work of the pruning to specialized companies) have had to protect their future harvest as best they could from these natural phenomena, which are becoming more and more frequent…

But in spite of this, the Gulf winemakers are not the type to let themselves be slaughtered and they have throughout the year roll up their sleeves and sharpen their pruning shears so that this 2020 harvest is the best possible and it seems that they have worked well!

Grapes ripened quickly (with the heat of summer), in number that promise this 2020 harvest to give generous dry and fruity wines great to enjoy at any time!

So how does the harvests work ??

First of all I can obviously recommend you to follow one of my special harvest wine tour to make you aware of it!! Then here are some ways to better understand them:

1. First of all it is necessary to know that in Provence, the grapes are picked grape variety by grape variety so it is necessary to analyze each plot and each grape variety to know if it is time to harvest or not! What do we measure measure to know when it is time? Acidity and sugar! And if the results are those expected by the winemaker then let’s go!

2. We harvest (we pick the grapes) by machine or by hand (in the Gulf about 30% of the estates harvest all or part by hand, obviously it takes more time, it is more expensive and allows a first sorting in the vineyard). And here most often we harvest at night: why? to keep the berries fresh and prevent the grapes from bursting and starting to macerate (skin and juice contact)

3. Destem if hand picked

4. Then this harvest is cooled because our enemy (and friend too ) n°1 is heat! Then we put it at a temperature that allows to extract already some aromas without releasing color

5. The grapes are gently pressed into large, mostly pneumatic presses, giving us grape juice

6. This juice is sent through large tubing to VAT and here the magic of alcoholic fermentation works! Grape juice turns into alcohol!

Destem of the grapes at Domaine de La Croix, Cru Classé in La Croix Valmer

The harvest is of course done outside but there is also all the cellar work that happens during the same period and that is just as essential for the production of the future wine. Two intense months before a well deserved «rest» (into brackets as being a winemaker is an everyday job) for the winemaker who will have to be attentive to every detail, to every temperature increase, to every evolution of the wine to have the result that he expects and that his consumers also look forward to every year!

So want to follow the harvests for real ??

Join us for a harvest tour in the Golfe de Saint-Tropez !

Harvests, Golfe de Saint-Tropez