Wine tourism in the South of France
The presence of the vine dates back to the Gallo-Roman period, when the land of the Lodevois had a privileged position: it stretched along the Gallo-Roman way, an artery of circulation particularly used between the highlands of the central massif (predominance of livestock) and the Mediterranean coast (predominance of crops).
The Pierrefont estate lies along the right edge of Herault River on 60 hectares in one piece, including 40 ha of vineyards. The different glaciations of the quaternary alternating a period of glaciation followed by a warm and humid period, have shaped several levels of terraces along the rivers. As a result, the soils of the estate are made up of limestone deposits rich in gravels while closer from the river and in the former bed, you can found silty soils rich in clays, sand and rolled pebbles. In the spring and early summer, the strong and irregular north-west wind reduces some diseases of the vineyard (mildiou), but vigilance is permanent.
The terraced vineyards of Pierrefont are located in the territory appellation AOC Languedoc Terraces du Larzac. The winemakers of this territory are very dynamic. The appellation requires respecting a strict specifications: terroirs, grape varieties, vine management and maximum yield, plus a meticulous work of assembly (3 grape varieties at least).
To make red wines, we grow traditional grape varieties well adapted to the Mediterranean climate such as carignan, cinsault, syrah and grenache, plus some other grape varieties to make IGP OC blends such as merlot, cabernet-sauvignon. For white wine, we planted chardonnay, vermentino, terret bourret and for rosé wine, we planted chenanson.
The estate has been in organic conversion for almost 3 years. After having made wine in our cellar for more than a century, we decided in 2013 to bring our grapes to an important cooperative winery of the Herault Valley (Clochers and Terroirs), to give us time to re-structure the oldest vines at our own pace. This dynamic winery provides its members with high level of support including for switching to new ways of farming, such as organic farming or high environmental value certification.
Should you want to do tourism related to the vine and the winemakers, here are some ideas
Meet a winemaker
In July and August, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., a winemaker installs his cellar at the wine library of the Grand Site de France at the Devil’s Bridge.
- Free tasting
Between Vines and Olive trees
This tour (by car or bicycle) offers a festival of landscapes through vines and olive trees. From ruffe to dolomie, from scrubland to small woods, in a hilly environment where Lake Salagou plays hide-and-seek, it reveals an unusual nature in the heart of the Larzac Terraces terroir. “Vines and olive trees around the Salagou” (70 km, 2 hours)
- Tourist office – 34800 Clermont-l’Hérault
- Tél. : 04 67 96 23 86
Tour to the heart of the vineyards
This is a route that is well tagged to the visitor’ eye with its forty-two red, ochre and black panels that offer a multitude of information about the vine, heritage, olive tree, geology, etc., this circuit designed by the winemakers of Saint-Félix plunges us into the heart of a vineyard in a 20-kilometre loop. Garrigues, leafy shrubs, lavenders, pines, brooms and vines adorn the trails of this Mediterranean walk that smells of thyme and rosemary. Tour discovery of the vineyard of Saint-Félix-de-Lodez – Cooperative Cave – 34725 Saint-Félix-de-Lodez.
- Tel. : 04 67 96 60 61
It’s a unique sensory experience waiting for you. Before tasting his wines, Frédéric Kast invites his visitors to accompany them through a five-step walk where each of their senses is stirred up. It is by listening to the wind under a bicentennial oak tree, touching the face of the earth in the shade of a grove of garrigues or feeling the scrubland and other aromatic plants that make the characteristic of Capion wines… that the visitor will be able to soak up the spirit of this vineyard. The expected tasting becomes a rare moment.
- Château Capion – Frédéric Kast – 34150 Gignac
- Tél. : 04 67 57 71 37
- Visits by appointment 5 euros per person – for a group 3 euros per person
Cave de Montpeyroux
This guided tour will be a must and will tell you about the architectural and cultural heritage, the history of the paths through the ages, the fauna, the flora and the social economy in Montpeyroux.
- La Cave de Montpeyroux – 34150 Montpeyroux
- Free, reservation at the tourist office of St Guilhem the Desert : 04 67 57 58 83
Walks stroll in Terraces du Larzac vineyards
For the past few years, the walks stroll around the terroirs of The AOC Languedoc have been meeting a large success with thousands of visitors, in order to enjoy bucolic days around the vines, wine, gastronomy and Languedoc heritage.
- Tél. : 04 67 06 04 44
- First Saturday in July, starting at 4:30 p.m.
And also :
- April: “All open cellars” in Montpeyroux
- April: : The Floréales of wine in the heart of Herault – Mountain bike ride – “vineyard and heritage”
- At the beginning of June: Gignac wine competition
- First weekend in June: wine fairs and reception of six French wineries
- Late July: Aniane Wine Show
- October: First Wine Festival in Saint-Saturnin
- The Poets’ Wine Trail in Saint-Saturnin
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