Home Industry News Releases Rhône Valley Vineyards Announces the 2023 Harvest Is Underway 

Rhône Valley Vineyards Announces the 2023 Harvest Is Underway 

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This year’s vintage started early, with good potential yields across all varieties, which will enable precise and well-balanced blends

New York, NY, September 12, 2023 – Inter Rhône, the organization that represents the Rhône Valley Vineyards AOCs, has announced that the harvest in the Rhône Valley, the second largest French AOC region, has kicked off. The 2023 vintage will be among the earliest, yet is showing good promise on both yields across all varieties, as well as great balance for the region’s well-known blends. 

The harvest has started for the white varieties of the AOCs of the Rhône Valley Vineyards, with the first grapes having been picked on Monday, August 28 (except for the Muscats which started around August 15), almost a week later than in 2022. For the reds, the harvest should begin mid-September. 

After very early 2020 and 2022 harvests, the launch of the 2023 harvest was set to be within the ten-year average, but the heat records experienced leading up to the harvest quickly accelerated the ripening process. The 2023 vintage will therefore be among the earliest vintages. 

Winter was historically dry, with an episode of 32 consecutive days without rainfall between January 21 and February 21; this is the highest number of days without rain ever recorded since 1959. Bud break took place in good conditions from the end of March to the beginning of April depending on the area (period similar to 2022). 

The 2023 spring was rainy, which made it possible to reinvigorate the vines and start flowering in a favorable context, in disparate ways in the different vineyards of the Rhône Valley. Some stormy episodes were noted, sometimes accompanied by very localized hailstorms, which caused damages in some areas of the Northern part of the region. These precipitations, sometimes heavy in certain parts, led to a significant growth in the vines, which thus benefited from favorable conditions (water supply and mild temperatures). 

By mid-July, the cycle of the vine showed a delay of 7 days in maturity compared to 2022. The vines resisted particularly well considering the temperature records registered towards the end of August: the frequent rains in the weeks before summer enabled the vineyard to be correctly supplied with water. Despite the extreme heatwave that lasted from August 19 to 24, the temperature variations remained good enough to allow the vines to rest thanks to the cool nights. 

From a qualitative point of view, vigilance remained constant to limit the risks of mildew. Having suffered less epidemiological pressure compared to other winegrowing regions, the health situation in the vineyard is good. The rigor and work of the winegrowers have made it possible to control the risk of disease. The harvest is therefore starting serenely, with vineyards in good sanitary condition and good potential yields across all varieties, which will enable particularly precise and well-balanced blends to be obtained.

In the Southern part of the vineyard, high temperatures since Sunday, August 20 led to an increase in degrees the last week of the month (+1.6% vol. on average for Grenaches). As for the whites, the harvest started early September, while the reds will be harvested mid-September. 

In the Northern part, maturity parameters quickly progressed as well, thanks to the heat and sunshine at the end of August. The weight of the berries remains stable. The high temperatures have considerably accelerated the accumulation of sugars in the berries (+1.5 degrees in 5 days).

Philippe Pellaton, President of Inter Rhône, indicates that “the 2023 vintage in the Côtes du Rhône and Rhône Valley Vineyards appellations will be a great blending vintage. We will of course have to wait for the last strokes of the shears to define its characteristics more precisely, but 2023 already promises to be full, dense, balanced and with good acidity.”

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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