Lavender season is over. We are now in September and it’s the turn of the grape-growers busy preparing for the grape-harvesting period in France which is between August and October. This is also a very important month for the winemakers as it’s one of the most crucial steps in the process of wine-making.
Based on the style of wine they wish to produce, the wine-makers will determine the time of harvest by the ripeness of the grape as measured by sugar, acid and tanin levels. Weather conditions are also a very important factor. Threats of heat, rain, hail and frost can damage the grapes as well. In addition to determining the time of the harvest, wine-makers must also decide whether to use hand pickers or mechanical harvesters.
However in some regions, the method of harvest and the grapes varieties used in the making of wine are mandated by rules.
For example, in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, various rules for the production of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, were drawn up and promulgated in 1923, were the first Appellation Contrôlée rules in France, and provided the prototype for subsequent AOC rules. Here, only hand picking is allowed and grapes are transported in small containers. Minimum natural alcohol degree is 12.5%. Only 13 grapes varieties are authorised. 95% production of red wine and 5% of white wine, No rosé wine in Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
The first producer of wine in France is Bordeaux and followed by the South of the Rhône River Valley. (Côte du Rhône), Last but not least is Burgundy region.