Summer Festival in Provence – La Fête de la Veraison
This upcoming 4th, 5th and 6th of August, make sure to visit Le Fête de la Veraison at Châteauneuf du Pape. Most towns in Provence celebrate the wine harvest during the autumn months. In this hilltop town, the wine in is so sacred that they even celebrate the ripening of the grapes!
Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a well known wine region in the Rhône Valley. Most lovers of fermented grapes have heard of the region but many don’t realise that it is not only an AOC wine region but a village as well. A medieval castle crowns the picturesque village used as a kind of countryside getaway for the popes that occupied the Papal Palace in Avignon during the 14th century. Make sure to take a look at the view from the top of the chateau ruins.
The rocky soils of the area produce complex red wine with an ability to age well. You’ll most likely recognise the distinctive bottles from Châteauneuf-du-Pape AOC . The embossed logo symbolises a papal tiara placed above the keys of St. Peter. The inscription: “Châteauneuf-du-Pape contrôlé” is written in Gothic letters around the emblem. If you’re in the region, make sure to try the few whites that are produced here. They are exquisite.
Le Fête de la Veraison is a free village festival. You can buy a wine glass for 5 euros and then taste to your heart’s content at the many vendors and wine caves that open their doors to the public. Free wine tastings! If you’re lucky, you’ll even be able to track down one of the donkeys that roam the streets with barrels full of last year’s vintage on their backs. A pretty girl in costume will serve you a full glass of red from one of these barrels. Now you can’t say that isn’t an original experience!
The festival also honours Châteauneuf-du-Pape’s medieval history. There will be at least 200 medieval character impersonators roaming the streets and participating in parades, jousts and market stalls selling handmade paper, knights’ garb and all other manner of medieval delights.
Around midday, if you’re hungry, make sure to grab a seat in the square where all the cafés will be bursting with people. Or, head over to one of the organised festival tents where you can find a large pot of something delicious.
Most of the wine that you’ll taste will be last year’s wine. The wine from this appellation is best aged. Feel free to ask to try the earlier vintages in the wine caves but make sure to be polite and buy a couple bottles. If you find the chaos of all that choice too much for you, a great way to taste the wines of Châteauneuf du Pape (and grab some bottles on your way home) is from the Cellier des Princes . Albeit not as romantic as from a barrel on a donkey’s back, Cellier des Princes have knowledgable staff that can guide you through a relaxed and varied tasting of the appellation’s wine. This is the cooperative of the local producers that is located on the main road outside the hilltop village. You can even buy bag-in-box wine from this high-class region. Who knew! 4 euros a litre for good quality wine? Why not!?
For the full festival schedule, click here.
Friday August 4th, 2pm-11pm
Saturday, August 5th, 10am-11pm
Sunday, August 6th, 10am-11pm
Cellier des Princes Summer Hours:
Open 7 days a week
Monday-Saturday: 8:30-7 pm
Sunday and bank holidays: 9 am-6pm
More Events in Bouches du Rhône this month via Curious Provence
And be sure to check out one of our French cooking classes in Uzès this Summer