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Event! Do not miss it..!

Saturday 01 Septembre 2018 - Sunday 2 Septembre 2018, Fête des Vendanges, Sainte Maxime

This traditional Harvest Festival is held in honor of the grape harvest that begins in our beautiful region when the summer comes to an end.

Program :

Saturday the 1st of September 2018

22:30 Fireworks on the sea, downtown beach.

22:40 Ball at the Théâtre de la Mer with the "Benty Brothers" orchestra.

Sunday the 2nd of September 2018

09:30 Departure of the parade of the folklore group Leï Magnoti (from the Maison des Associations).

10:00 Mass in the open air at the Théâtre de la Mer grape distribution on the Magnoti area and parade in the city center.

16:00 Traditional dances with the groups "The Academy Provencal of Cannes" & "Lei Magnoti" at the Théâter de la Mer.

What is harvesting?

The harvesting of wine grapes (Vintage) is one of the most crucial steps in the process of wine-making. The time of harvest is determined primarily by the ripeness of the grape as measured by sugar, acid and tannin levels with winemakers basing their decision to pick based on the style of wine they wish to produce. The weather can also shape the timetable of harvesting with the threat of heat, rain, hail, and frost which can damage the grapes and bring about various vine diseases. In addition to determining the time of the harvest, winemakers and vineyard owners must also determine whether to use hand pickers or mechanical harvesters. The harvest season typically falls between August & October. With various climate conditions, grape varieties, and wine styles the harvesting of grapes could happen in every month of the calendar year somewhere in the world.

The majority of harvesting occurs in late August to early October.

A bit of the history of wine

Throughout the history of wine, winemakers would use the sugar and acid levels of the grape as a guide in determining ripeness. Early winemakers tasted the grapes to gauge ripeness. Modern winemakers use a refractometer to measure hi sugar levels and °Brix or titration tests (using an indicator such as phenolphthalein) to determine the titratable acidity within the grape.

In recent times there has been more of an emphasis on the "physiological" ripeness of the grape, usually in the form of tannins and other phenolics. Currently, tasting is the only way to measure tannin ripeness, which can take experience and skill to do accurately. Viticulturalists have not yet fully explained the complex processes that go into the ripening of tannins but most believe it begins with the polymerization of small astringent tannins into larger molecules which are perceived by the taste buds as being softer.

Question of mechanical harvesting versus traditional hand picking

The question of using mechanical harvesting versus traditional hand picking is a source of contention in the wine industry. Mechanical harvesting of grapes has been one of the major changes in many vineyards in the last third of a century.

Manual harvest is used for the production of high quality wines and sparkling wines, as long as the grapes must be selected; this results in an inevitable increase in production costs. It is also simply used in vineyards where the machines can not harvest, because of unsuitable ground, rows too tight, etc. They are made by "cutters" or "pickers" using pruning shears or spruce trees, which deposit the clusters cut in a petty box or in a bucket or wicker basket. These will be emptied into a crate or hood that a "porter" or "longshoreman" will bring to the edge of the parcel. In the case of fume hoods, they are emptied in a grape dump, crates (between 15 and 30 kg in general), they can be stacked on a trailer or in a truck, they can also be transported by a chase at the end of the plot.

More economical, it is done with the help of machines and is used for the wines of current quality, insofar as the harvest is not selective and mixes grapes more or less ripe, even damaged, with obvious consequences on the quality of the final product.

The techniques in viticulture and oenology have evolved a lot over the last 50 years (green harvest, sorting table, stainless steel tank, electric press and then pneumatic, etc.). Thanks to them, the quality of the grapes is improved. Other parameters are to control to obtain grapes in the best conditions: ▪ When the harvest is wet (by rain, dew or mist), the additional water could indeed have a negative influence on the quality of the must by diluting it; ▪ The hottest hours of the day are an unfavorable condition for harvesting. A high temperature of the grapes can favor the departure of an undesired fermentation once the grape in vat or in the containers. ▪ The bunches must be placed in containers of limited size to prevent crushing and release their juice, the latter would oxidize and would be in contact with the earth, the container, and other undesirable elements. On the grape harvest of red grapes, this can provoke an exaggerated extraction of the color by release of the anthocyanins contained in the films, and to be problematic for the elaboration of the rosé wines or champagnes, the juices flowing from the berries are then stained ". In the case of manual harvesting, preference will be given to harvest boxes, preferences pierced to allow the flow of juice, rather than conquets or skips where the larger volume of harvest makes it crash under its own weight. ▪ The grapes must be transported as quickly as possible to the winery, to avoid uncontrolled fermentation or maceration, the oxidation of the juice, and the action of tyrosinase and laccase, all the more present when the vintage is botrytised.

For more events and entertainment tips and an extensive program, please visit the website of the Office du Tourisme of Sainte Maxime.

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