Authentic France Travel Tip #45: Take Part in The Harvest

You heard it here first! I Skyped my dear amie Charlotte B. this morning and she told me that the 2009 grape harvest (known in France as “les vendanges“) is slated to start next Thursday, September 10th.

It is hard to time a vacation in Burgundy, or any of France’s other wonderful wine regions, to coincide with les vendanges because the date is almost impossible to predict until a week or two before it actually starts. It all depends on what Mother Nature has up her sleeve – the amount of rain, of sun, and of heat.

If you luck out and happen to be in Burgundy during the vendanges, however, take time to bike or walk through the vineyards and winemaking villages to soak up this effervescent atmosphere (not to mention the fumes of macerating grapes which hang, redolent, over the stone streets). Sometimes I felt drunk just wandering the streets of PernandVergelesses or Villers-la-Faye during harvest.

So breathe deep – Les vendanges is what the soul of Burgundy is all about.