2016 harvest: Progress so far in the Rhone Valley

Wednesday October 19 2016 by Vitisphere

In the southern part of the Rhone Valley, in Gard and the south of Vaucluse, most harvesting began about a fortnight ago for white varieties and nearly a week ago for Grenache and Syrah. For the two red grapes, the volume shortfall seems smaller than expected: grapes described as very small and the “lightest ever” had led wine growers to fear a significant volume decrease, in excess of 20%. But after the first wave of crushing over the past few days the figures were revised upwards due to the number of clusters per vine.

Vines in the southern Rhone Valley, just like those in Provence, have been suffering from severe drought since August 20, causing wilting, dehydration and sometimes even a stop in ripening coupled with vine defoliation. There is an upside however: the grapes are more concentrated and show “very deeply-coloured, tannic and highly aromatic” juice. They also display higher acidity levels than in 2015, producing “some superb first wines with beautiful balance”.

In the northern part of the region, picking was due to start on September 17 and 18 for the white grape varieties, followed by the reds on September 24. “Ripening is taking its course. The end of the season is superb and yields so far have returned to normal”, says Françoise Dijon of the region’s marketing board.


Source: Vitisphere. Illustration: Institut Rhodanien


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