EVENT 06: Fête des Vendanges et des Châtaignes

REBLOGGED FROM The Riviera Grapevine

What have you got planned for Sunday?

If you happen to be in the area, and fancy a chance to sample some of the unique wines of the Alpes-Maritimes, why not pop into the annual Fête des Vendanges et des Châtaignes in Saint-Paul de Vence?

October 19th marks the 2014 edition of this annual harvest festival for theVins des Baous et des Collines. Translated into normal speak, this term refers to the three vineyards found high in the hills behind the Riviera coastline, near the imposing cliff face above Saint-Jeannet:

  • Domaine Saint Joseph in Tourettes-sur-Loup and Saint-Paul de Vence
  • Le Petit Vigneau/Domaine La Vasta in Saint-Paul de Vence
  • Domaine Les Hautes Collines de la Côtes d’Azur in Saint-Jeannet

The setting is quintessentially southern French, Place de Gaulle in Saint-Paul de Vence.

Fête des Vendanges et des Châtaignes

For one day only, this popular square for playing pétanque is given over to this autumnal celebration of wines, chestnuts and other delicious local specialties (my advice is to queue early for the socca).

Last year, along with my wine partners-in-crime Rod (from the Riviera Wine Academy) and Tom, I enjoyed a glorious October afternoon wandering the dozen or so stands. The three vineyards had a generous selection of their wines on tasting, which were also available to buy.

This year, I’m looking forward to tasting the 2013 vintage, although I’ll be even more excited next year as the grapes I helped harvest at both Domaine Saint Joseph and Le Petit Vigneau this September will have finally made it into the bottle!

If you do plan to go, why not combine the event with an exploration of the medieval alleyways of Saint-Paul de Vence, one of the Côte d’Azur’s most charming villages? You could further spoil yourself by lunch in the village (La Colombe d’Or, I wish!) or browsing original works by Matisse, Léger and Kandinsky (to name a few) at Saint-Paul’s renowned Foundation Maeght,  currently celebrating its 50th anniversary.

Credit:  Chrissie at The Riviera Grapevine

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St. Paul de Vence: Participate in “La Vendange”

A local grape harvest, in which you can voluntarily participate as a way to experience French culture and comraderie, has been reported in the following Riviera Times article.

“Let the harvest begin! Ever fancied a go at grape picking? If so, the domaine of Saint Paul de Vence is allowing one and all to come and enjoy the age old activity of harvesting grapes next week. The event, held on 24th September, is a perfect opportunity to experience the long established tradition in the stunning grounds of the vineyard. The activity isn’t for the faint hearted, but is a great way to enjoy the French countryside. After a day of picking in the vineyard a glass of wine will be well earned.

Early in the morning at 7.30am, eager pickers are welcome to gather at the ‘ramparts ouest’ in the domaine’s grounds where they will be taught about the grape picking process before the real work begins. From 7.45am onwards, volunteers will be let loose on the steep hillside vineyards of Saint Paul de Vence to help harvest during a challenging but fun annual event.

Lunch will be provided in the afternoon before another session of harvesting the grapes that will soon be transformed into delicious wine.

If you think you’ve got what it takes to enjoy a day of grape picking in the picturesque surroundings of the Domaine Saint Paul de Vence, then all you have to do is turn up wearing suitable clothing, some sturdy shoes, and carrying some (gardening) gloves. For any queries about the day do not hesitate to call the domaine on 06 09 28 26 59.

Don’t forget that the day could be long and the weather may be hot so bring lots of water and wear plenty of sun cream!”

Note: Clothes will most likely become grape stained; bring garden clippers if you have them.