Where to visit vineyards in France ?

25 May 2024

Brenda Helliot Circuits oenotouristiques région Occitanie
Brenda Helliot

Do you often wonder where to visit vineyards in France?Are you a wine lover, fascinated by the winemaking process and curious to discover wine estates and châteaux, but afraid of finding the door closed or knocking on the wrong door? Do you dream of tasting fine wines, exploring vineyards and meeting passionate winemakers? Or perhaps you enjoy the occasional glass of wine and would like to learn more about the wine-making process from vine to bottle. Or perhaps you simply want to enjoy a glass of wine with friends and family.

In that case, if at least one of these questions applies to you, let us help you answer it: “Where to visit vineyards in France? In this article we’ll highlight the vineyards of the Occitanie region, offering an overview of the best places to visit.

The Occitanie region, France’s largest vineyard

When it comes to visiting vineyards in France, we’ve chosen to focus on the Occitanie region. Located in the south of France, this region is renowned for its breathtaking scenery, rich cultural heritage and, of course, its exceptional wines. From the Mediterranean coast inland, Occitanie offers a wide diversity of terroirs and grape varieties, producing a variety of high-quality wines.

Montpellier and the surrounding area are bursting with renowned vineyards and prestigious appellations. The Languedoc appellation is the region’s leading one, and virtually all local estates produce at least one wine under this name. Here, we’ll mention the region’s five best-known appellations: Pic Saint-Loup, Sable de Camargue, PicPoul de Pinet, Terrasses du Larzac and Châteauneuf du Pape. These appellations represent the diversity and richness of Occitanie winegrowing, and each offers a unique experience for wine lovers. Whether you’re a connoisseur or simply a curious amateur, discovering these vineyards will be an unforgettable experience.

The best-known appellations around Montpellier: their secrets revealed

Pic Saint-Loup appellation

When it comes to visiting vineyards in France, the Pic Saint-Loup is a must.
Located north of Montpellier, it’s packed with hiking trails, including one that takes you to the summit at 650 meters altitude, where you can enjoy a tasty picnic and take in the breathtaking views. It’s also renowned for its exceptional red and rosé wines. Its history dates back to the early 20th century, when its wines were already winning awards at international exhibitions. In 2017, it finally obtained its own AOC, testifying to the exceptional quality of its products. Although only red and rosé wines bear this appellation, Pic Saint-Loup continues to shine on the wine scene thanks to its wines combining power and elegance. This region is much more than an appellation, it’s a meeting of history, passion and taste, offering wine lovers an authentic and exhilarating experience.

Sable de Camargue appellation

The Sable de Camargue appellation, recently created in October 2023, produces wines of remarkable finesse, thanks to a unique terroir and ancestral know-how. It’s one of France’s not-to-be-missed vineyards! The vines, nourished by the sands of the Camargue, produce “gris” and “gris de gris” wines that celebrate a winemaking tradition dating back to the 7th century, when the monks of the Psalmody Abbey were already cultivating these fertile lands. In 1863, during the Phylloxera crisis, it was the only vineyard in France to resist the disease, thanks to its sandy soils. Nearly 95% of the vineyard is farmed organically or in conversion, demonstrating a profound respect for the environment. This sustainable approach helps to guarantee the quality and authenticity of “Sable de Camargue” wines, promising a unique and sustainable taste experience.

Picpoul de Pinet appellation

Rooted in history since the 17th century, Picpoul-de-Pinet became an AOC in 2013. This lively, refreshing white wine perfectly embodies the Mediterranean spirit, capturing the very essence of the region. It’s one of France’s must-try vineyards if you love seafood, especially local oysters from the Bassin de Thau. This wine has conquered palates the world over, asserting its place among the great French appellations. In conclusion, Picpoul-de-Pinet promises an unforgettable tasting experience, ideal for accompanying seafood delights or simply enjoying a convivial moment.

Terrasses du Larzac appellation

Terrasses du Larzac wines, whose appellation was created in 2014, capture the very essence of the region, forged by a varied terroir and unique climatic conditions. This is one of the vineyards in France that is home to one of the most beautiful villages in France, a UNESCO World Heritage Site: St-Guilhem-le-Désert, the medieval village on the route to Santiago de Compostela.
These wines are like stories told by the landscape, with aromas of garrigue that evoke walks in the wilderness. Beyond the wine, Terrasses du Larzac represents an art of living, an ode to conviviality and good food. Every glass is an invitation to travel, discover new flavors and meet the people who lovingly craft these exceptional wines.

Châteuneuf du Pape appellation

Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a French wine jewel, where vines stretch as far as the eye can see in a Mediterranean climate. Its history dates back to the Middle Ages, when the popes of Avignon introduced new viticultural techniques. Created in 1936, the Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation today produces exceptional red and white wines renowned the world over for their quality. The reds offer complex aromas and appreciated power, while the whites bring freshness and elegance to every sip. A visit to the tasting cellars allows you to savor these wines in a convivial atmosphere, and to immerse yourself in the history and tradition of Châteauneuf-du-Pape thanks to institutions such as the Échansonnerie des Papes.

In conclusion, the Occitanie region is a must-see destination for wine lovers wishing to visit vineyards in France. With its diverse landscapes and unique terroirs, it offers an exceptional wealth of wine-growing potential. Whether you’re a long-time wine enthusiast or just curious to learn more, Occitanie’s vineyards promise an immersive and unforgettable experience.

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