Muscat grape harvest comes early for Roussillon

The Muscat à petits grains has ripened even earlier than usual this year

The grape harvest in the Roussillon region has come historically early this year, with wine farmers saying the grapes will be good due to the warm weather.

In Rivesaltes, in the Pyrénées-Orientales department (Occitanie), the warm winter and hot summer has seen the small-grain Muscat grape (sometimes known by its French name even in English; the Muscat à petits grains) ripen two or three weeks’ earlier than normal, with harvest already beginning at vineyards in the area, such as the Château de Jau.

It is usually harvested earlier than other grapes, to help produce a wine that is sweet and low in alcohol, but even so, harvesting does not usually happen until later in the summer. Speaking to French news website France TV Info, workers at the château agreed that this year’s harvest was happening earlier than anyone there could remember.

The manager of the Château de Jau, Simon Dauré, also confirmed that the harvest was earlier than anyone could remember in previous years, but said that it would not affect the grapes’ quality, and would actually be a good year for the wine.

“The year is starting off very well,” he said. “We have the benefit of good weather conditions, and it looks like this will be very helpful for the Roussillon [region].”

Only the Muscat vines will be harvested now, however, with all other vines waiting until around October.

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