The region’s harvest has started in the AOCs Côtes de Provence, Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence and Coteaux Varois en Provence. The first cuts were made on the August 21 in the earlier ripening vineyards, and harvest began in earnest on Monday the 25th.
The generic body says this is slightly earlier than last year and earlier than the average harvest date for Provence, thanks to the favourable weather conditions enjoyed by the region this year.
The CdVP says experts estimate that the 2014 crop will be better than those of 2012 and 2013 (years marked by frost and hail), and closer to the yields of the outstanding 2011 vintage.
Winter 2013/2014 was mild and wet, allowing good reserves of groundwater to be put down. Drier conditions followed in early spring, and from the month of June rising temperatures signaled the onset of summer weather. Rain in mid-June was followed by the irregular, localised storms that are characteristic of the region, which were sometimes accompanied by hail. In general this had no severe impact on the vines, except in the upper part of the Var where damage was more serious.
Summer conditions were favourable, with cool nights and no excessive heat or dryness. Relatively abundant rain, in particular around August 15, was followed by cleansing Mistral winds, minimising the risk of mildew. The vineyards now have healthy crops that are free from mildew and oidium, and look to be impressive in both size and quality.
CdVP director François Millo, said: “Our region is proving extremely popular at the moment, and since the boom in Provence rosé doesn’t seem to be slowing down, we are delighted that the yields from this vintage will allow us to continue to supply our existing markets and aid the renewed growth in exports for the year ahead.”
In Provence, 26,000 hectares of AOC classified vines will be harvested. More than 160 million bottles of the 2014 vintage will be marketed. The association says last year circa 25m bottles were consumed abroad, with the majority in the US (Provence’s top export market), and 2014 figures show a double digit growth on the UK market.