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France allows regions to do away with traditional ‘ban des vendanges’

The Graves region of Bordeaux and Bourgeuil in the Loire have become some of the first appellations to do away with the traditional harvest start date, or ‘ban des vendanges’.

As part of wine sector reforms initiated by the national appellations office (INAO), wine regions throughout France have been given the freedom to decide whether or not they wish to abolish the ban.

Allowing areas to abolish the harvest date can, in some cases, put an end to early harvesting and increase quality.

‘Winegrowers went harvesting as soon as the ban was proclaimed without even looking at the maturity of their grapes,’ one Loire winemaker told French wine site Viti-net.com.

The head of the Bourgeuil winemakers’ union, Philippe Pitault said that his organisation would continue testing maturity and issue a ‘correct’ harvest date.

‘That will reassure some winemakers who are not too sure of themselves,’ he said.

In Bordeaux, and other wine regions in France, the ban des vendanges is a big part of winemaking folklore. Regions such as St-Emilion have maintained the tradition, as have Alsace and Beaujolais. The Graves appellation south of Bordeaux, however, confirmed it had put an end to the ban.

Some regions, including Saone et Loire in Burgundy, have deliberately issued very early harvest dates, maintaining the tradition and putting an end to early harvesting. The ban for the Saone et Loire was issued on 3 September.

Written by Oliver Styles

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