The 2022 vintage across the Provence wine region is well underway after a hot summer saw some of the earliest ripening across a number of areas within the region.

Across the region the fruit is said to be extremely healthy despite the heat and the water stress with all signs pointing towards a vintage with great potential.

Calm weather has returned and sunny days alternate with cool nights. This comes after storms in mid-August which, whilst replenishing water supplies for the vines, also brought hailstorms that caused damage on some properties along the Var coastline.

Due to the cumulative effect of the heatwave, winegrowers have an even greater incentive to harvest in the coolest hours of the day and even by night in order to pick fruit as cool as possible, which helps preserve the pure aromas that are key to Provence rosés.

Éric Pastorino, Chairman of the Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins de Provence (CIVP), said: “Since the start of harvesting, night times are cooler and the fruit has become more balanced, ushering in a stellar vintage.

“We were extremely concerned but volumes should equal those of a normal year with some variations depending on the properties – those that have suffered most are the ones that had the least amount of rain. This vintage offers the perfect illustration that weather events are having an increasing impact.

“Ultimately, we know that we are going to have to adapt and we are already working on it with experiments focusing both on the varietal range and vineyard management techniques.”

It has been a challenging year in Provence with an extremely dry first quarter meaning bud-burst occurred much later than in previous years, however this delay did have one positive outcome as there was no frost damage recorded this year.

And while the dry conditions remained through April and May the conditions were very favourable for flowering in May, with moderate temperatures and no wind, this was followed by some beneficial rain at the end of June.

Picking in Provence always takes place very early in the morning or even by night to preserve the purity of the aromas in the grapes, a prerequisite for ensuring balanced rosés and Gilles Masson, Director of the Rosé Research Centre, said there was added pressure on picking this year.

“Grapevine growth was impacted by the heatwave, but we did not witness the stall in ripening that might have been feared,” he said.

“This is due to the vines’ capacity for resilience, which never ceases to amaze, and the refreshing nights. Both day and night time temperatures were high but the difference between them and normal seasonal levels was slightly less significant, which helped the plants cope. However, this year it is essential to choose the right time to harvest, virtually to within the day or hour, in order to counteract the effects of the heatwave on the fruit.”

The Provence wine region covers three appellation areas: AOC Côtes de Provence, AOC Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence and AOC Coteaux Varois en Provence, with rosés accounting for 91 per cent on volumes.

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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