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The grape harvest in Provence

Mourvedre grape in Bandol

In Provence, the French grape harvest, or vendange, is conducted with the precision of a science experiment and the blissful indulgence of Thanksgiving in the States. It takes place in September and October, different vineyards embarking on different start dates according to the readiness of the crop. For certain white wines, grapes are picked by hand at night or in the early morning hours if the weather is still warm, to avoid the shock associated with taking fruit heated to 90˚F by the midday sun and depositing it, crushed, into cold vats in 57˚F cellars. For red wines, grapes simply are separated from their stems and allowed to ferment a number of days before they are crushed and committed to vats. Everyone gets in on the act, from neighbors to in-laws, and friendly competition ranges from who can fill his or her bucket first to which vineyard puts on the finest and most elaborate lunch.

Provence features a number of prominent appellations throughout the region and this explains why the grape harvest is so all-consuming here. Recognizable wine centers include Côtes de Provence, Bandol, Bellet, Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence, Coteaux de Baux-de-Provence, Cassis, and Coteaux Variois. To view an excellent description of Provence wines and the grapes associated with them, including convenient lists of individual wineries and good contact information, visit www.beyond.fr/wine/provencewines.html.

Vineyard in Cotes de Provence

The grape harvest in Provence is a landmark occasion, heightened in its intensity by simultaneous celebrations of other local produce including olives, truffles and lavender. Wine, food and dancing are in generous supply here during the autumn months, most notably in places such as Cassis, Gorbio, Vence, Nice, Mouriès, Riez, Valbonne, Apt, Oppède, Avignon, and Châteauneuf-du-Pape. A useful listing of local fairs, festivals and events can be found at beyond.fr/a/calendar.html.

Villa YNF OLI, France, Provence - Luberon Area, 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, WiFi, WIMCO Villas


Located in a sought-after protected area, views of the Luberon countryside, impressive swimming pool

Provence - Luberon Area, France
4 br / 4 ba

Villa YNF SOL, France, Provence - Les Alpilles Area, 6 bedrooms, 6.5 bathrooms, WiFi, WIMCO Villas


Very stylish villa, contemporary Provençal style, spacious rooms with large windows, heated pool

Provence - Les Alpilles Area, France
6 br / 6.5 ba

Villa YNF RSS, France, Provence - Les Alpilles Area, 3 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, WiFi, WIMCO Villas


Lovely villa with spacious grounds, wonderful views of les Alpilles, perfect for large groups

Provence - Les Alpilles Area, France
3 br / 3.5 ba

Villa YNF CIE, France, Provence - Luberon Area, 12 bedrooms, 12 bathrooms, WiFi, WIMCO Villas


Close to a pretty village, ample living space, large landscaped grounds, imaginatively decorated

Provence - Luberon Area, France
12 br / 12 ba

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WIMCO Villas, FR1 LPC, France, Provence - Les Alpilles Area, 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms


Quiet and secluded, a short walk from the village, mix of Provençal, oriental, and modern design

Provence - Les Alpilles Area, France
4 br / 4 ba

WIMCO Villas, YNF TOU, France, Provence - Les Alpilles Area, 6 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms


Luxurious chateau with heated pool and tennis court, contemporary style, perfect for large groups

Provence - Les Alpilles Area, France
6 br / 6 ba

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