Make Your Wine and Drink It Too
By Kelly Cronin
What do you think of when someone talks about France? Wine of course! At least, that’s what I think of. Do you ever think of the hard work that goes behind producing this love potion? In France, the months of September and October are the busy period for vineyards as they harvest the grapes to make their wines. An authentic experience, being part of the wine harvest is a perfect way to enjoy the French countryside (or even some cities) in autumn. While actually working on the vineyards at this time is extremely exhausting, hard work, you can still take part in the action by enjoying the wine harvest festivals around the countries. Here’s all you need to know about French grape harvests:
Pick your region
This might seem a bit obvious, but it can be important to note. Although compared to the US France might seem like a small country, it’s actually quite large, spanning 248,573 square miles. Each region of the country specializes in different wines. There’s Bordeaux from Bordeaux (duh) and rosé from Provence. We also can’t forget about champagne from Champagne! So if you’re looking for a specific type of wine, figure out which region makes that wine and head to the top source.
Head to a festival
The best way to enjoy the wine harvest is to do some tastings and vineyard visits at festivals held in different regions. Here’s a list of three of our favorite wine harvest festivals happening around France for the fall months:
- Montmartre Grape Harvest Festival
Called the Fête des Vandages in French, this famous festival takes place in the artistic neighborhood of Montmartre in Paris, just by the Sacre-Coeur. The festival is held annually in mid-October, where there’s a celebration with parades, wine-tasting, food and fireworks.
- Nouveau Beaujolais Festival
This national event takes place all over France, although best celebrated in the city of Beaujolais, on the third Thursday of November at midnight each year. The festival celebrates the new harvests around the country. Celebrations include fireworks, parades, torches and, of course, lots and lots of wine.
- Fête du Vin Bourru
In Burgundy, you’ll find this passionate wine region full of vineyard visits and wine-tastings in late October. Some vineyards feature concerts, while others give you samples straight from their wine cellars.
Taste with food
If you’re doing a lot of wine tasting, you should always know to taste wines with local pairings of cheeses and meats. The good news is that France is also famous for their incredible selection of cheeses, like brie and camembert. Sip on a dark red paired with fresh baguette, smoked gouda and cured ham. I also love spreading fig jam on with my brie, or changing it up with cornichons.
Most festivals serve an array of french foods. Nibble throughout the day, or take your time and enjoy a grand lunch. French meals often have many courses and take a long, long, long time. Sit back, relax, eat, drink and be merry!