Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Harvest time

We saw a harvester out in the vineyards on Monday. And two trailer-loads of white grapes being taken to the winery. I'm not absolutely certain what kind of grapes they were. There are three possibilities: chardonnay, chenin, or sauvignon. The vast majority of the white grapes out back are sauvignon, so it's likely that's what they were and that the general harvest has started.

This is not sauvignon. It's cabernet franc, one of the grapes that makes our local red wine.

Even if the official harvesting has not yet been authorized, there are parcels, I believe, that can be harvested at the grower's discretion. The juice from those grapes is used to make what they once called vin de pays, wine that doesn't get the AOP (Appellation d'Origine Protegée) designation, or is blended to make sparkling wine.

European regulations have changed the way member countries label their wines. In France, what used to be labeled as AOC (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée) is now designated as AOP. What was formerly called vin de pays is now categorized either as IGP (Indication Géographique Protegée), meaning that it comes from a specific region, or vin de France, meaning that it comes from somewhere in France but is not necessarily linked to a defined region, a specific varietal(s), or subject to other quality controls.

As usual, I am oversimplifying a very complicated process for labeling wine. And after you've had a glass (or three), you probably wouldn't care much.


  1. I took a geography course called Wine & World. I remember very little (I mostly took the course for the wine tastings).

  2. Having recently seen a Youtube clip of the problems faced by a young US citizen trying to work and did for six months in Paris, I think the complicated process for wine labelling is rather typical of French bureaucracy.

  3. That's such a gorgeous picture, the blue, green and red colours! I wonder if they'll be selling Sauvignon/Cabernet/Beaujolais wine from grapes grown in (the south of) England after Brexit. After all, they won't need to adhere to the EU regulations anymore, which is what Brexiteers seem to be really looking forward to - not me, mind!

  4. mitch, that's the best reason!

    andrew, I think it's difficult in most countries for non-citizens to get permission to work. That's one of the reasons why immigration is a hot political issue. Does Australia have more lax regulations?

    elgee, and Europe won't have to deal with UK rules. Get ready for German Cheddar!


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