The grape harvest in Provence 2020 seems to be of a very high quality and this after a troublesome start to the year:
- The winter was unusually warm and was the warmest on the Riviera in 62 years, so frost-sensitive buds appeared on vines in the Var department already in January. Unluckily the frost it came the last week of March with temperatures down to -7 ℃. The frost affected all of Provence where only colder areas survived because the budding had not come as far there.
- On the 18th of May came hailstorms where hail up to 2 cm in diameter hit the vineyards in the department of Var.
- April and May were also unusually wet, which gave mildew infestations (mildiou) on the vines in the south of France. But mildew and oidium are not uncommon, not even in Provence’s favourable climate where, for example, the Mistral wind dries up the vines.
In addition to all this, the Covid-19 made the vineyard work more difficult.
But then finally came the summer with pleasant heat and without the strong heat waves that hit Provence in 2019 and also in 2017, moreover, the nights were cold this year, which preserves the acidity in the grapes and gives fresh wines.
The first analyses of the grapes indicate that they have a good balance between the phenolic ripening (aromas, tannins) and the sugar content and with a preserved acid level. So, we consumers can probably look forward to a very good vintage 2020 in Provence, for producers, however, the frost means that the volume is negatively affected.
Harvest – Video with grape harvesting machine
With a warm summer, the harvest in the vineyards closest to the sea started already in mid-August, while in the colder parts of Provence northwest of the city of Aix-en-Provence starts a few weeks later. With a month of August that was the third warmest month of August after 2003 and 2018, the final grape ripening was fast.
On the 24th of August we visited the Esclans valley in the Côtes de Provence Frèjus, where for example the Château d’Esclans, Domaine du Jas D’Esclans and the Château des Demoiselles are located and where now the green Rolle grape was harvested. The harvest was done mechanically and it is impressive to see the harvester in action, in about an hour it harvests as much as 20 men in one day! The harvester here is of a later model that even has a sorting table that separates any stems and foreign material! WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW!!
The weather was perfect when the harvest began in mid-August and two more weeks, but this weekend, Saturday 29 August when the Tour de France started in Nice, a heavy thunderstorm pulled in. You who saw the race saw that several cyclists had accidents on the steep and slippery mountain roads! After a sunny day, a thunderstorm came again, but the forecast for the coming week looks promising. It cannot be easy to be a vine grover!