This year’s harvest in Provence began just over a week ago on 24 August, as the general outlook for the 2010 harvest in France looks to be impressive in both size and quality.
The region’s vendange has started in the AOC Côtes de Provence, Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence and Coteaux Varois. This is a week later than in 2009, but in keeping with the average date for the region, with minimal fanfare in comparison to the still undecided date for Bordeaux that has been the subject of much speculation for some weeks now.
Despite this lack of hype, the 2010 harvest across the region is set to be good thanks to favourable weather conditions over the year, with plenty of rain during the winter and spring, a hot and dry summer followed by a last burst of rain on 15 August, and then a natural blow-dry from the Mistral to dry the grapes and keep them disease free.
Because of these good conditions, the yield promises to be slightly higher than last year, which François Millo, director of the Conseil des Vins de Provence, suggested will be welcomed by many producers. “We need to replete our cellar stocks”, he confirmed, explaining: “This is an incredibly popular region at the moment, thanks to the rosé boom”.
Amazingly, despite the catastrophic floods in the Var on 15 and 16 June, only 200 hectares of vines have been affected out of a total of 25,000ha.
“While those that were caught [in the floods] are beyond rescue, the loss will not have a large impact on production”, Millo announced.
While the more northern regions of France still waiting to start picking, the nationwide outlook for 2010 is equally promising. The estimated total harvest for the country is set at 47.7 million hectolitres, slightly lower than the average over the past five years but an increase on last year. Nearly half of the total, 22.6mhl, will fall under the AOC classification.
The harvests in Champagne and Burgundy are both set for approximately 15 September.
Marinel FitzSimons, 02.09.10