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Rhône Valley Vineyards Announce Early Yet Promising Harvest

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This year, the vineyards demonstrated resilience and resistance while facing heat waves and low rainfall, as evidenced by the healthy condition of the vines. Winegrowers have shown patience and vigilance during the growing season, with some already beginning harvest

New York, NY, August 25, 2022 – Inter Rhône, the organization that represents the Rhône Valley Vineyards AOCs, announced that the winemakers of the Rhône Valley Vineyards, France’s second-largest appellation, have started the 2022 harvest on Monday, August 22, eight days earlier than in 2021. The 2021 vintage marked a return to near-normal harvest dates, and while the 2022 harvest distinguishes itself by its early maturation, it is not the earliest harvest on record.

The drought in the Rhône Valley Vineyards appellations, combined with high temperatures, led to an accelerated growth cycle by about twenty days compared to last year. After a very rainy month of October, significant rainfall deficits (from -53% to -97%) were recorded in each of the following months. Winter temperatures remained very mild, with one late cold wave at the beginning of spring, between April 1 and 5. 

May 2022 was the hottest month of May recorded since the beginning of the 20th century. Summer started with a storm episode in June which gave respite to the vines. Between July 1 and August 13, the region suffered several successive periods of intense heat without any rainfall, while soils already lacked water. Mid-August, rains of variable intensity across the vineyards had a beneficial influence, allowing the vineyard to regain its strength and the grapes to continue on their very promising journey towards maturity.

In the Southern Rhône Valley Vineyards:

Budburst took place at the beginning of April with a delay of 8 to 10 days compared to 2021, followed by high temperatures that allowed an acceleration of growth. With this, the vines caught up, and flowering took place in perfect conditions, starting on May 10 in the earliest areas. As of June 30, the phenological cycle of the vines had 10 days of advance compared to the previous vintage, making it comparable to vintages such as 2018 and 2020.

Grape picking for white and rosé wines began as early as August 11, specifically in the Gard department. The date to remember will however be August 22, 2022, which is the start date of the harvest for many winegrowers in the Southern Rhône Valley Vineyards

In the Northern Rhône Valley Vineyards:

After mid-April, temperatures remained consistently above the norm, with three episodes of temperature peaks. 

Rainfall during fall and winter 2021-2022 was 25% lower than the averages observed over the 2010-2020 period. Budburst was delayed, then vegetative development accelerated considerably. Flowering took place from May 15 to May 31 amidst high temperatures, with maximum daily temperatures frequently above 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit). These weather conditions helped to prevent grapevine diseases and preserve the healthy conditions of the vineyards, although some areas showed signs of water stress from mid-June. Rainfall in the second half of June gave the vines some respite and allowed them to resume their growing cycle. August precipitation in the northern part of the region was normal and very beneficial, breathing renewed life into vines that had demonstrated their incredible resistance to the dry conditions.

Harvest in the northern part of the region began on August 22 with the collection of Marsanne and Roussanne, followed by Syrah and Viognier towards the end of August. The start of the harvest at the northern end of the vineyards will wait until the first half of September.

In both the Southern and the Northern part of the Rhône Valley Vineyards, there are no signs of disease. Although the recent rainfall helped the grapes grow slightly and swell in size, the average berry weight remains lower than normal. 

The 2022 vintage is indeed marked by its early maturation throughout the region, and a good quality from the harvest is expected. The healthy grapes will ensure a high quality to start the winemaking process. The vintage promises rich, deep, concentrated wines with great colors.

About Inter Rhône

Inter Rhône is a dynamic, deeply committed professional association representing all members of the Côtes du Rhône and Rhône Valley AOC wine industry. Founded in 1955, it coordinates the marketing and communications, business and technical activities of the following AOCs: Côtes du Rhône (Regional, Villages and Crus), Clairette de Bellegarde, Clairette de Die, Châtillon en Diois, Costières de Nîmes, Côtes du Vivarais, Coteaux de Die, Crémant de Die, Duché d’Uzès, Grignan les Adhémar, Luberon, Ventoux, Muscat de Beaumes de Venise and Rasteau sweet fortified wines, Eaux de Vie de Vin des Côtes du Rhône (or Fine des Côtes du Rhône) and Eaux de Vie de Marc des Côtes du Rhône (or Marc des Côtes du Rhône). Its activity is based on three key principles: fair representation for all professional groupings; parity between producers and négociants; and unanimity for all major decisions. Inter Rhône is both creative and accountable, standing alongside its members, supporting them and helping them in their quest to win greater recognition for Rhône Valley Vineyards wines in France and abroad.

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