SOUTH WEST VINEYARDS
On the route to Santiago de Compostela
Although vines have existed since the dawn of time, the development of vineyards occurred gradually during the Roman conquest.
But the Southwest is distinguished by two other historical factors.
Situated between two mountain ranges, the Pyrenees and the Massif Central, and between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, the Southwest is a particularly humid area perfect for wild vines (vitis vinifera).
This unique geographical location has enabled indigenous vines and grape varieties to emerge, such as Cabernet Franc born in the Basque Pyrenees.
In 1189, the consecration of Santiago de Compostela, declared a holy city by Pope Alexander III, generated streams of believers on the roads of Europe and this lasted for centuries. A must-see between northern Europe and Spain, the Southwest witnessed an eruption of abbeys and monasteries welcoming pilgrims. These religious communities developed the winegrowing while the pilgrimage routes became an essential vector for sharing grape varieties and exporting native southwest grapes and many other varieties too.
The pilgrims brought back vines to try to acclimatize them at home. This is how Côt and Cabernet Franc reached Bordeaux and then the Loire Valley.
The Garonne River, into which all Southwest rivers flow (Tarn, Gers, Lot, Ariège, Aveyron), is historically the route by which the wine was transported on the famous flat-bottomed gabarre boats.
Despite this huge amount of trade, the vineyards of the Southwest have preserved their specific characteristics.
At the end of the 19th century, phylloxera and mildew ravaged vines and ruined the wine business. It took the tenacity of winemakers from new generations to revive the vineyards.
Today, the originality of the grape varieties and wines of the Southwest is a real asset in the face of the double challenge of globalization and climate change.
South West Vineyards
Centre INRA - Chemin de Borde Rouge
CS 52637 - 31321 Castanet Tolosan cedex
Phone : (+33) 5 61 73 87 06
Fax : (+33) 5 61 75 64 39
Monday to Friday : 9 am - 5 pm
Alcohol abuse is dangerous for health. To consume with moderation.