It’s harvest season! Celebrating the month of the Vendanges

by Sep 7, 2020News0 comments

Grape picking at Domaine Roger Sabon, Châteauneuf-du-Pape (photo: Jean-Louis Zimmermann/Flickr)

Grape picking at Domaine Roger Sabon, Châteauneuf-du-Pape (photo: Jean-Louis Zimmermann/Flickr)

September has arrived. Summer is soon saying goodbye, leaves are turning golden brown… and grapes are at last ready to be picked and turned into the beloved liquid we can’t live without: wine.

Here in the Northern Hemisphere, this the month of the Vendanges! Or, if you want to call it this way, it’s time for the harvest – or vintage.

I’m Breno, and today I’m here to give you insights on some French and overall traditions about harvesting and the harvest season.

And that’s not all: I’m also bringing the exclusive four-fold offer that our Wine Club members have just received!


Why September?

You may ask yourself: why September as the peak of harvest season? Well, for the Northern Hemisphere, it is between August and October – and particularly in the middle of it – that grapes are at their peak sugar and acid levels, ensuring the best conditions to produce the best possible wine (in the Southern Hemisphere, the harvest season is usually between February & April).

Harvesting is one of the most crucial steps in winemaking, and various elements are measured at this point because small choices can produce quite different outcomes.

A couple questions that show just how harvesting affects the whole:

Hand-picked or mechanically harvested? Top-notch producers prefer the human touch to avoid unnecessary damage to the grapes and avoid incorrectly levels of oxidation of the must after the crush, or even simply to better control the stemming.

And what about the ripeness of the grapes: early, ripe or late? This specific decision determines mostly which type of one the producer is aiming for. A tempranillo, a stronger and bold red, a late harvest, a dessert wine? So many options! Picking a few days too early or too late can make a big difference to the intended result.

ban-des-vendanges saint emilion.jpg

A matter of tradition and festivities

Harvest festivities are a worldwide classic. The month of the Vendanges is itself a big tradition in France. Starting as early as August, peaking in September, several winemaking regions treat this period as a moment of celebration and hard work.

Towns in French winemaking regions hold traditional festivities at the time and/or in the following months – take the much celebrated Ban des Vendanges de la Jurade de Saint-Émilion, Burgundy’s Fête de la Pressé, Loire’s Festivini, Paris’ Fête des Vendanges de Montmartre, Beaujolais’ Fête du Beaujolais Nouveau…

Harvesting is so popular that, for instance, in Bordeaux’s Saint-Emilion and Médoc, it’s common to see (at least it was before the pandemic!) hundreds of volunteers yearly take part in picking grapes, in exchange of living a unique experience – and enjoy some great meals offered by producers.

* * *

It can be challenging. It can take a whole fortnight of hard work to pick all the grapes if a vignoble is big. Weather conditions can be tough. Indeed, seasonal workers are required to be fit to do the task. But it’s certainly a sacred process.

This whole harvesting world is quite special, isn’t it? Maybe a bit less thrilling with limitations imposed by the contingency measures surrounding Covid-19, but we’re hopeful this will all be solved soon before 2021.


Exclusive offers to celebrate the Vendanges

To celebrate this season, our members’ exclusive offers for this September couldn’t fall far from the tree. Yes: fine and rare wines that celebrate the Vendanges: an exclusive four-fold offer for our members to invest in or have them delivered.

  • From one of Rhône’s finest, M. Chapoutier, we bring you LE MÉAL Rouge BIO 2017 – a Syrah vintage that speaks for itself, having scored incredible 100 points by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate.

  • From the heart of the Médoc, we give you the fantastic 1998 2nd Cru from Château Léoville-Poyferré, an elegant red Bordeaux blend rated 91 by Wine Spectator.

  • Last, but not least, the best Bordeaux blends from Portugal, coming from Principal, in the Bairrada region: Grande Reserva 2008 and Grande Reserva 2009, both vintages with the signature of Pascal Chatonnet and deemed among the finest red wines in the world.

Needless to say… but these wines are all highly age-worthy, great to be cellared for the long term – or work as an alternative investment to be re-sold in the future.

No better way to celebrate harvest season, right? Don’t miss out.

* * *

To know more about Alti Wine Exchange, read our FAQ.

For a must-know when investing in fine and rare wines, click here for tips, and check our home page for much more.


Explore More from Our Blog

Ever heard of a wine cocktail?

DEAR READER, I hope some of you learned from the reader letter last week [hyperlink to Week Ten post] and checked your attics! You never know how much wine sits above you, waiting to be uncorked and decanted—on someone else’s dime! Dear Sommelier Ferdinand, I have a...

What on earth is a ‘Wine Decanter’?

DEAR READER, It’s come to my attention that many of you are ill-informed, misinformed, and frankly, uninformed about how wine is to be consumed. Were I only a wine enthusiast, it would be wholly dispiriting. But—wine is my profession, and I’m obligated to recognize...

“What’s My Next Question?” – Benjamin Kaplan

What’s My Next Question? On a random day like today 11 years ago, a legendary Harvard Law professor and lawyer, Benjamin Kaplan, died at 99 years of age. A rich, marked life that left an impact long after his last breathe. Apart from influencing the likes of Ruth...

Wine that Makes You Look Up

Wines that Make You Look Up Can you imagine having a device that magnifies your view and never thinking to look up, never pointing it toward the sky? Until August 25, 1609, nobody had. Enter Galileo Galilee, the man who changed the way we see and interpret all that is...

Should you be swirling your wine before consumption?

DEAR READER, Through all the melodrama of the past few weeks, I’ve neglected to educate the newcomers about the art of winetasting. So, I dug deep into my inbox for this query: Sommelier Ferdinand, I went to a ball last night and wasn’t aware of the proper pre-drink...

Sommelier Ferdinand answers “What’s the point of drinking wine from a hundred years ago?”.

DEAR READER, I’ve heard what you’ve all had to say, and I’ve decided to reach out to Jerry, once again, to bury the hatchet. Who’s to say if he would be open to making amends… but I made the effort, on behalf of all you insightful readers! I’ll keep you all updated on...


DEAR READER, Something unprecedented has happened. My assistant has received an additional letter from Jerry. Remember him—from last week [READ HERE] Well, our beloved wine purist wrote back after reading yesterweek’s column: Sommelier Ferdinand, I don’t care about...

Transcending Time through Wine

On August 11, 1888, The Scientific American published its 658th issue, replete with exciting findings. From “A Study on Whirlwinds,” to “The Distillation of Peppermint" and thoughts on the human conscious, this popular science magazine had already been around since...

Boxed Wine and an angry recipient.

What an experience, to receive all your criticisms. That would shake any normal individual. But I’ve spent years having my judgments under a microscope, so I’ve learned to shut my doors to it. You are all welcome to try—but I won’t be changing any time soon! Speaking...

Sommelier Ferdinand answers “What it takes to become a Sommelier”.

DEAR READER, As the grapes grow richer, so do the bottler and buyer! Wine is an investment, my dear readers. Never forget the long game! Now, for some advice you folks have solicited: Sommelier Ferdinand, I want to be a sommelier, like yourself. I have the respect for...

Harry Potter and the Magical Creation of Seña 2007

On July 21, 2007, J.K. Rowling released her seventh and final book of a most memorable series. In just 24 hours, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows sold more than 11 million copies! On that same day, in a land more fascinating than Hogwarts, Seña 2007 was getting...

This week Sommelier Ferdinand answers the difficult question “Which do you prefer: Red or White?

DEAR READER, Some wrote in after last week, wishing me happiness…? Sending me love…? What do you all think, I’m still in love with Matilde? Save your pity for someone who needs it, I beg you! Anyway: Sommelier Ferdinand, Which do you prefer: Red, or white? -Clarise...