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From the hidden vineyards of Montmartre to the waves of Banyuls-sur-Mer, the autumn wine harvest season is celebrated in France with great splendor. Wine regions show off their best tastings, gourmet delicacies, artisan crafts, personalized tours, dancing, concerts, and celebrations. The infectious joy and pride in a region’s heritage during a harvest festival in France is an experience like no other. Below are some of our favorite festivals. Each offers an experience unique to the region and its people. Reservations are still available for the upcoming harvest season. Á votre santé!
Fête de la Pressée à Chenôve, Chenôve, Bourgogne, France, 17-18 September 2022
Fête de la Pressée, Grape Pressing Party, is an annual event in Chenôve, Bourgogne (or, Burgundy, as the English-speakers know it) where pinot noir and chardonnay grapes are dominant. This celebration highlights the medieval wine-making tradition of grape pressing. Visitors have the opportunity to see vintage wine presses and learn more about the history of the craft. Regional wines and local delicacies are available for tasting. In the old town of Chenôve, activities including crafts, medieval costumes, artisan stalls, and dancing for all ages are planned throughout the days of the festival. Nearby villages also participate. Neighboring Dijon presents a vine festival and Semur-en-Auxois hosts medieval-themed events.
Favorite accommodation: Hotel Des Ducs Dijon
Vendanges en Fête, Montmartre, Paris, France, 5-9 October 2022
As the leaves turn, each Autumn since 1934 Parisians celebrate Vendanges en Fête, Harvest Festival, honoring the most famous Parisian grapes. The event is held on the hilltop of Montmarte. Hidden behind the Musée de Montmartre, this secret Parisian vineyard offers the only location in the city where grapes, originally of the pinot noir and gamay variety, are still grown. The festival partners with more than 40 local restaurants and bars, offering five days of wine and food tastings, dancing, concerts, and fireworks. This festival showcases the best of local Parisian wine and culture.
Favorite accommodation: Oh La La What A View
Vendanges en Fête à Banyuls-sur-Mer, Banyuls-sur-Mer, France, 6-9 October 2022
Where the the Pyrenées meet the Mediterranean lies the charming town of Banyuls-sur-Mer. Discover the seaside vineyards of Cru Banyuls & Collioure. The main grape varieties are grenache, muscat, macabeo and malvoisie. Each October, celebrations are made for the end of the annual wine harvest. On offer are a well anticipated Regatta, seaside tastings with your feet in the sand, cooking competitions, musical entertainment, local cellar tours, gastronomy workshops featuring local seafood, and a winegrower’s meal. This unique celebration of the sea and vine is not to be missed.
Favorite accommodations: The Hot Seat
Alsace Wine Route, Alsace France, 13-16 October 2022
Among the castles and Vosges Mountains in Eastern France, you will find the famous Alsace Wine Route. Known for their German influenced riesling, pinot gris, muscat, and gewürztraminer, the wine route features tastings and events throughout the year, their Autumn celebration being among the most popular. Whether you choose to explore by bike (a popular choice) or by car, this family friendly event offers more than 100 activities showcasing the specialities of this Region. Festive celebrations, many taking place among the vines, pair with regional gourmet flavors, and live entertainment. Eager winemakers share their passion with locals and tourists alike who have come out to discover the unique wines of this area.
The Chablis Wine Festival, Chablis, France, 22-23 October 2022
The Chablis Wine Festival, La Fête des Vins, held in October each year, was first organized in 1949. In partnership with the Bourgogne Wine Board, the celebration is one of the most important events of the year for French wine. The festival attracts thousands from all around the world including professional sommeliers and families. A highlight of the festival is the baptism of the region’s annual chardonnay grape harvest. Numerous tasting chances, wine seminars, auctions, local food stalls, walks and tours through vineyards, and organized activities for children make this one of the premier vinoculture events in France.
Beaujolais Nouveau Time Festival, Les Sarmentelles de Beaujeu, France, 16-20 November 2022
The Beaujolais Nouveau Time Festival is a celebration of the release of new Beaujolais wine. Beaujolais Nouveau accounts for a significant percentage of Beaujolais production and must be fermented quickly and released the same year as the vintage. At precisely midnight Beaujeu winemakers open the barrels of their new vintage and declare “Le Beaujolais nouveau est arrivé”. Festival guests taste and compare 12 varieties of Beaujolais wine, made from the gamay grape. If guessed correctly, the winner is gifted a wine barrel that is equal to their body weight. Celebrated over several days, activities range from a torch parade, concerts, film screenings, wine and vineyard tours, artisan food and craft markets, and a firework finale.
Habits de Lumière, Epernay, France, 9-11 December, 2022
This light and champagne festival held annually in Epernay, the capital of the Champagne region, is one of the most popular in all of France. For the pre-holiday season, Epernay is filled with dazzling light projections and illuminations, entertaining shows, food and an abundance of (what else) champagne. Exclusive champagne houses on the Avenue de Champagne open their doors during the festival, presenting the chance to sample exclusive varieties. Another highlight of the weekend is ‘Habits de Saveurs’, a classic car parade and festival which offer additional tastings and activities for the entire family.
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