The vine seems to have always been present in the history of France. It was in Provence that the first vines were grown, making the region the cradle of the good wines for which the country is famous. But let's discover more precisely the history of Provence wine .
The origins of Provence wine
The history of wine goes back more than 26 centuries, and begins in Provence. It was in Marseille that the first vines were planted, on the initiative of Phocians intrigued by this new plant. We can therefore say that the very first French vineyard was in Provence.
Then in -200 BC. J.-C., the Romans come to settle on the lands of Provence to develop the culture of the vine there, and to create the Provincia Romana, in other words, Provence. As their conquests progressed, the Romans took the vines with them, extending the vineyards throughout France. This is how other vineyards were born, such as Burgundy, Beaujolais, the Rhone Valley, Gascony and Bordeaux.
The cultivation of the vine by the monks and the nobility
The fall of the Roman Empire put an end to the cultivation of the vine, leaving all the vineyards, which until then had been prosperous, abandoned. It was not until the Middle Ages that viticulture resumed service, on the initiative of the great monastic orders. If, at the beginning, the manufacture of wine was intended for the sole consumption of the monks, and for the production of mass wine, very quickly the wine will be marketed. This activity will then contribute greatly to the income of the monastic establishments.
It was not until 1300 that the Provençal vineyards were taken over and managed by noble families and great officers of the royal army. Here, the beginnings of modern wine-growing Provence , as we know it today, will be built.
The phylloxera vastatrix crisis
The vineyards of Provence , like all the vineyards of France, were not spared by the phylloxera vastatrix crisis, from 1880. This insect, which came from the United States, succeeded in destroying almost all of the Provençal vineyards . Fortunately, by a skilful technique of grafting plants resistant to phylloxera, the vineyard can be saved, and will gradually regain its presence.
On the Provence wine route
To promote the region and wine-growing activity, many winegrowers have mobilized since the 20th century to introduce Provence to the rest of the world. One of the most remarkable tourist initiatives is undeniably the Provence wine route .
The principle of the Provence wine route
Not so long ago, in 2006, the Var Chamber of Agriculture decided to promote wine tourism in Provence by creating a wine route. Here is the opportunity to walk in the region, and to browse different wine estates, to discover their wines and Provençal gastronomy .
Classified by theme, each wine route offers an itinerary putting wine in the spotlight, but also the heritage and the art of living in Provence.
Spread over the Bouches-du-Rhône, the Var and the Alpes-Maritimes, the 440 domains and cooperative cellars of Provence involved in the process are articulated around 8 Appellations d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC): Baux de Provence, Côtes de Provence, Coteaux d'Aix en Provence, Coteaux Varois en Provence, Palette, Cassis, Bandol and Bellet.
Wine routes in Provence
Spread over the whole of Provence, no less than 44 Provencal wine routes are offered to visitors. The choice can then be made on the theme (a romantic getaway, art and culture, family, gastronomy, etc.), the territory (Camargue, Verdon, Provence Verte, etc.), the vineyard, the AOC, or even simply on the area. geographical.
The idea is then to combine the pleasures, to offer an entertaining walk full of discoveries. The visitor thus has plenty of time, for example, to discover the most glamorous and emblematic city of the Côte d'Azur, Saint-Tropez, then to go a little inland and find what nature has to offer. , visiting the Ultimate Provence estate .
Many areas of the wine route also offer quality catering and accommodation services. This makes it possible to organize a wine route over several days, and to fully immerse yourself in the atmosphere of the vineyard, and discover its history, its vintages, its grape varieties, or even its production and conservation methods.
Would you like to explore the vineyards of Provence ? Find out on the Château de Berne website, which offers oenological activities on the theme of wine.