2015 Wine Harvest in the Languedoc


As usual, from late August to early October, and particularly between 15th and 25th September, Languedoc (the biggest wine growing area in the world) is a hive of activity as the ripe grapes are harvested according to their variety and colour.

When wine buffs talk about a "good year" they mean exactly that: the whole twelve months from when the last grapes were picked in 2014 all the way round to the next harvest in 2015. Everything that happens during these twelve months all contribute to the quality of the grapes and ultimately the quality of the wine produced from them.

The conditions during these twelve months include temperatures, undesirable pests, insects and maladies, humidity, rainfall, wind and pesticides. The key is not to have any extremes with everything in good balance.


Winemakers are looking for a balance between quantity and quality. Sometimes grapes will become engorged by rain, making them large so you get more juice out of them but the sugar content (which later turns into alcohol) is diluted.

The reverse is true if there is not enough rain, so the grapes are small but the sugar content is more concentrated; less wine can be produced but the quality will be very good.

Winter in 2014 was ‘normal’ with average temperatures perhaps a little higher but basically there were no surprises. In 2015 the spring was warm and flowering took place in perfect conditions.

However, in late spring many vineyards were attacked by black rot and mildew following heavy rainfall but the heat wave in July limited their effects. The summer was early and hot but the vines showed no signs of hydric stress (needing water).

With its early, hot summer, 2015 should be a good vintage for France. The harvest, measured in hectolitres, is 1% less than in 2014 but 2% up on the average yield for the last five years.