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Harvest 2023: A Promising Year Despite the Challenges

As summer draws to a close, the first grapes begin to be picked, marking the start of this year's harvest. It's a time when winegrowers are pulling out all the stops to reap the rewards of a year's hard work. We wish all winemakers courage and success as they embark on this annual adventure.

The harvest season, generally situated between September and October, varies from one wine-growing region to another, adapting its calendar to the climatic nuances of each terroir.

What will happen to the 2023 harvest?

The French Ministry of Agriculture has lifted the veil on the first estimates for the 2023 harvest, describing them as "average". Despite major obstacles such as mildew and drought, which have dealt a heavy blow to renowned wine-growing regions such as Bordeaux, Sud-Ouest and Languedoc, the outlook for this season looks rather positive. This news is greeted with a sigh of relief, as these climatic factors can often have a significant impact on the quality and quantity of the grapes harvested.

With the help of Vitivalor Solutions, we intend to immerse ourselves in the harvest atmosphere alongside our partner Domaines. Our aim is to support winegrowers in managing teams of harvesters, while supervising the transfer of bunches to the various winemaking tanks. This collaboration embodies solidarity and cooperation at the heart of the wine industry.

Vitivalor Solutions supervises the harvest for all the estates they manage, representing a surface area of 300 hectares in the Beaujolais region, especially the crus. Their role is vital, as they follow our Domaines et Châteaux from the harvesting of the bunches to the transport of this fruity elixir to the cellars for the vinification stages (de-stemming, crushing/pressing, etc.).

The technical stages of harvesting

Harvesting is not a simple task, but a winemaking tradition that combines traditional expertise with modern technological advances. Among these technical stages, destemming stands out. Also known as de-stemming, it precedes the pressing of the grapes and is of particular importance for the production of red wines. By removing the stalks*, winemakers ensure that the best is extracted from the grapes for the winemaking process to come. An equally essential stage is crushing, where the grapes are crushed to release the juice known as must. This stage, which marks the beginning of the winemaking process, uses anthocyanins to release compounds such as tannins, enzymes and vitamins that will influence the aromatic profile and quality of the final wine. Anthocyanins are "black grape pigments, located in the grape skins, which give color to red and rosé wines during vatting".

Next comes sulfiting, a delicate stage involving the addition of sulfur dioxide. This chemical substance plays a crucial role in winemaking, improving the process while offering protection against oxidation and preserving grapes and wine from potential deterioration. However, inappropriate dosage can lead to unpleasant and nauseating effects.

Alcoholic fermentation, the central stage of winemaking, transforms the sugar present in the grapes into alcohol and gas, often with the addition of yeast (or not). Fermentation temperature is carefully monitored to ensure an optimal process. The next stage, called "décuvage" or "fin de cuvaison", consists in draining the wine and extracting the marc from the vats after fermentation. The length of maceration influences the wine's structure and ageing potential.

Ageing, the final stage in the winemaking process, takes place in specific barrels or vats, influencing the wine's complexity and character. Finally, bottling completes this journey of transformation, preparing the wine to be enjoyed by wine lovers the world over.

Every stage, every region and every technique contributes to the complexity of the harvest. The meeting of tradition and innovation, labor and technology, creates the very essence of the wine we enjoy with respect and wonder. We wish the winemakers the best of luck, and hope that this vintage will be a celebration of terroir, hard work and the passion behind every bottle of wine to come.

*Raffles: "the woody, peduncular support of the bunch on which the grapes hang". - La Revue du vin de France

**[Avenue des Vins - Vendanges : 3 choses qu'il faut savoir](

***[La Petite Goutte - Alcools et Vins](


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