A number of vineyards in Roussillon organise grape harvests for the general public in late summer. They’re the ideal opportunity to see what goes on behind the scenes of this work that is so bound up with tradition.
The grape harvest, which heralds the culmination of a year devoted to tending the vines, is an important moment in the calendar for each and every winemaker. It is also a unique opportunity for the curious wine lover to meet the producers, learn about the harvest, and gain insight into the expertise involved in making wine. Participants join a colle, a team of grape pickers, and are invited to share a pleasant, friendly time in the company of enthusiastic experts.
Each estate runs its own programme for beginners. Visitors to Les Vignerons en Terres Romanes are welcomed at the afternoon harvesting, which takes the form of an exploratory walk through the heart of the vineyard. Here apprentice winemakers learn the techniques of pruning and weighing, find out all about measuring the alcohol content and help the grapes on their way to the stalk separator and press. In short, you’ll “harvest” a wealth of knowledge about the basic stages involved in making wine.
You can discover the grape harvest under Roussillon’s summer sun… or under the stars!
Vignobles Dom Brial, which has been awarded the special Vignoble et Découverte label, organises mid-night harvests: picking at night-time safeguards the grapes from the vagaries of the sun and oxidation, and produces wonderful cuvées. Pickers are kitted out with lamps on their head and buckets in their hands as they get down to work in the cool of the evening.
The harvest is first and foremost a time of celebration. The unmissable Fête des Vendanges – Wine Harvest Festival – in Banyuls-sur-Mer is attended by over 10,000 visitors. This special event is a highly festive and sociable occasion with a Catalan barbecue on the beach – a unique way of bringing an iconic wine experience to an end.
Vignobles Dom Brial
Tel. +33(0)4 68 64 22 37
Les Vignerons en Terres Romanes
Tel. +33(0)4 68 05 85 86