The grape harvest season is the most exciting and rewarding time to plan a wine tour. Wineries come to life as the harvest that they have prepared for all year is finally here. Picking, sorting, crushing and tasting the fresh grapes means that there is never a dull moment in the wine makers day. While it’s a busy time for everyone involved, it’s not all work as many wineries host grape picking events, grape stomping parties, and in some cases festivals lasting a week or more celebrating the harvest season.
Grape growers are very concerned about choosing the right harvest time as it has a large effect on the final outcome of the wine. The amount of sugar in the grapes, rainfall amounts, temperature patterns and the type of wine it will be used for are only some of the factors that go into choosing the best picking time. The harvest for each wine region varies, and even within the region itself, each grape variety becomes ripe at different times. This leads to a headache for the traveler trying to make sense of everything.
While it may be tricky to plan to visit a specific winery during this time period, we have put together a general guide to help you understand the harvest seasons around the world.
Wine Harvest in the Northern Hemisphere
Early: July to early August
Peak: Late August – early October
Late: Late October – November
Wine Harvest in the Southern Hemisphere
Peak: February – April
Late: May – June
Tip: Regions closer to the equator generally harvest earlier
Harvest by Wine Types
We added a designation of early, peak and late harvest periods to help clarify the wide time period that grapes can be harvested in. If planning travel, it would be best to plan around the peak time.
Early: Typically grapes destined for sparkling wine.
Peak: In many places this will start with white wine grapes and end with red.
Late: Many of these grapes will end up in specialty wines such as Ice Wine and other dessert wines.
If you want to experience the excitement of visiting a winery during the harvest, some of our tour providers offer guided tours:
Do you have any memorable wine harvest stories to share? Did we miss any important details? Let us know in the comments below.
Cover Photo: © Depositphotos.com/GoodluzTags: Grape Harvest, Wine Harvest