The great grape harvest
September heralds the start of serious wine time, when the Provence region of southern France pulls out all the stops in celebration of its great grape harvest.
At this time of year, both small and large wine producers, seemingly from chateau to chateau, from village to village, road-side trestle table to road-side trestle table, open their doors and, more importantly, their bottles for the delectation of locals and visitors alike.
Provence’s wine culture comes alive with a seemingly countless stream of festivals and parties, markets, tastings, pop-up bars and parades – all in homage to the glory of the humble grape.
A great time to see Provence
The sheer number of grape harvest events presents a great opportunity to hire a car – with a designated driver strictly on the soft stuff, of course – and take to the roads through the heart of Provence, stopping here and there to pick up some notable crus straight from the wine producers themselves to enjoy at home.
But a boat cruise along leisurely, scenic French waterways, taking in the pleasure of stop-offs in world-famous wine centres such as Macon and Beaune, plus the home of French gastronomy, Lyon, is an altogether more serene way of lapping up the wine heritage of the region.