If you live in the South of France, you would have to be living a cave not to know that the 2017 harvest was historically early and small. I was in Provence during harvest time – la vendange, in French – and heard directly from winemakers about their concerns for the future but also about their optimism that Mother Nature who, despite dealing drought conditions in some areas and severe frost in others, operates in cycles.
“It used to be that grapes were picked in mid-September,” said Romain Ott, great, great grandson of pioneer winemaker Marcel Ott and, today, the winemaker at Château Léoube, a sprawling estate located on the Mediterranean coast (next to Clos Mireille, one of Marcel Ott’s original three properties).
“I never got to participate [in the harvest] because I had gone back to school,” Ott said.
“Now, we are finished by then,” he added.
“This year, our harvest began on August 17th,” Ott told me when I visited Château Léoube at the end of August. He estimated the harvest would be complete on the 8th of September. “Five years ago, the harvest began the last week in August,” he [...]