After a wet winter followed by copious spring rainfall until June and then a typically Mediterranean summer – in short, perfect weather conditions – Rhône Valley winegrowers are preparing for harvests slightly earlier than the norm.
Off to a flying start…
Harvesting is due to kick off on Thursday August 27th 2015 in the Rhône Valley’s earliest vineyards, while the main start date for red wines is likely to be around September 7th – a week earlier than in 2014.
In the northern sector, the first harvests are also due to start imminently - around the end of August for whites in the earliest areas and at the very beginning of September for the reds, some two weeks earlier than in 2014. There is already evidence of excellent phenolic ripeness, leading growers to expect well-concentrated, sun-drenched wines.
…after a season of ideal growing conditions
The Rhône Valley vineyards started the summer season with sizeable reserves of water; further rainfall in June helped the vines to withstand the summer heat and lack of rain. Flowering progressed well under good conditions. Sporadic rainfall in August helped promote ripeness in the drier terroirs. The current physiological condition of the Rhône Valley vineyards is a perfect illustration of how well the Rhône varietals suit the region’s warm, dry, windy climate. With their deep roots, the Rhône vines flourish in the Mediterranean climate; they are ideally suited to the weather conditions here.
Initial ripeness testing indicates high levels of phenolic compounds and anthocyanins in all areas. The recent spate of cool nights has contributed to phenolic ripeness. Now at the end of August, the grapes are in excellent health. Veraison is at an advanced stage, having progressed rapidly and evenly across the Grenache and Syrah grapes. The 2015 vintage looks set to be particularly well-concentrated, with exceptionally good reds.