Vignerons usually shut their doors to visitors once the heat is on with the annual vendange (grape harvest). But La Madelene Rhone Wine Holidays, based 45 minutes from Avignon in Malaucene, has teamed up with the Northern Wine Academy in York, UK and persuaded two top vineyards to let guests roll up their sleeves and help with the harvest. This unique "study tour" runs October 7th to 11th and there are still some places left.
At the bio-dynamic Domaine Roche-Audran in Buisson (pictured above) and Domaine des Anges in Mormoiron, participants will pick grapes, practice grape sorting ("triage"), pumping down ("pigeage") and preparing and "activating" bio-dynamic preparations for the vines. But it won't be all toil and sweat, of course: picnic lunches in the vineyards will be accompanied by copious "degustations" to keep spirits up, while, in the evening, guests will relax over Provencal dinners at La Madelene, a renovated 12th c. priory.
The full itinerary can be obtained from Philip Reddaway, La Madelene's owner and a qualified WSET wine educator. For the readers of Provence Post, Philip is offering a special rate of €750, which includes four night's accommodation at La Madelene (www.bighouseinprovence.com) and all meals. For more info: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 04-90-62-19-33.