As you ride along the EuroVelo 8 in our area, you cannot fail to notice the many many fields of grape vines alongside. But nearly all are small, local producers, little known to the wider world. Here we take a closer look. 

SAINT FERRÉOL

Watch our video…..

Wine in la Provence verte

Wine, olives and goats‘ cheese are in the heart of everyone here, and – concentrating on the wine – we watched the quality of the local wine improving over the last 15 years. We talked to vintners and we enjoyed filming the harvesting and producing. We went to local restaurants and tasted most of  the local wine labels over the years. And we like to see that more and more vintners started to produce organic wine. The first organic vintner in our corner was Jean-Marc Etienne of La Domaine des Alysses, who started to grow organic in the late 70s of the last century. That was courageous at his time as growing organic was more complicated but did not have a better reputation than conventional wine in the general public. Even 20 years ago most restaurants did not point out organic wines on their menu, today they are proud of selling them.

Why wine is important in southern France: cycling through rosé-country

In France 49,1 Mio. Hektorlitres wine (2018) are produced every year and France is the 2nd biggest producer of wine in the world. Many people in the Var have an uncle or aunt or cousin who produces wine or is a member of a cooperative, and some have helped harvesting the grapes at some point. Significant is that most of the wines in La Provence, la Provence verte and le Var are rosé wines: Up to 80% of all wine production – in sum: 900,000 Hektolitres – are of this sort. Le Var (la Provence verte) plays a central part in this, so if you cycle on the EV8 through la Provence verte you are riding through rosé country.

What is special about la Provence

„Provence (Provençal) wine comes from the French wine-producing region of Provence in southeast France. The Romans called the area provincia nostra (“our province”), giving the region its name. Just south of the Alps, it was the first Roman province outside Italy. Wine has been made in this region for at least 2,600 years, ever since the ancient Greeks founded the city of Marseille in 600 BC”.

Wikipedia    

The Coteaux Varois en Provence AOC covers the central region of Provence, in the Var département from where the region’s name is derived, between the Côtes de Provence AOC and the Coteauxd’Aix-en-Provence AOC. The region started out as a vin de pays and was upgraded to Vin Délimité de Qualité Supérieure (VDQS) status in 1985, followed by AOC status in 1993.[2] (…) The main grape varieties of the region are Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault, Mourvèdre, Syrah and Carignan.[4]“ And the best are produced in Pontevès (sic!), Néoules and Villecroze.

Independent producers and cooperatives

Most vineyards here are not very big, typically between 10 and 40 hectares, and most of them are family businesses. Some offer chambres d’hôtes (B&B) or gîtes (self catering holiday flats), but we have not found many that are acredited with „Acceuil Vélo“ . We reckon that more restaurants, hotels, appartments and Bed and Breakfast owners will acquire the „Acceuil Vélo“ label once the EV8 is fully built. 

In the Var there is also a long-standing history of coops, all founded at the beginning of the 20th century. Most of them have closed since then, but following the Var stretch of the EV8 you will still find a few Cooperatives (from West to East):

Le Cellier de Mont Major in Rians, 105 ha, 6604 hectolitres of wine in 2014

Les Treillesd’Antonin in Saint Antonin, 40 ha, 2703 hectolitres of wine in 2014

Cave Coopérative La Lorguaise in Lorgues, 157 ha, 10461 hectolitres of wine in 2014

Le Cellier des TroisCollines in Flayosc, 185 ha, 12340 hectolitres of wine in 2014

Where to find wine on your way

In order from West to East, beginning with Rians right after the border between Bouches du Rhône and Var, we find the following vineyards and coops close to the EuroVélo 8:

Rians:

Château Vignelaure (Bio)

Domaine de la Réaltière (Bio)

Domaine les Toulons

Le Cellier de Mont Major

Artigues:

Domaine La Mongestine (Bio)

The estate has been awarded the Accueil Vélo  label and offers services for cyclists: “bicycle parking for 6 bikes, 3 picnic tables, electric sockets to recharge your batteries and a repair kit forminor damage”.

Barjols:

Domaine des Roseaux (Bio)

Pontevès:

Domaine de la Mercadine (Bio)

Domaine St. Ferréol

Domaine des Roches Blanches

Château La Calisse(Bio)

Château Duvivier (Bio)

Château La Prégentière

Salernes:

Domaine les caves du commandeur

Saint Antonin du Var:

Château Mentone(Bio)

Mentone is also offering services for cyclists under the label of „Acceuil Vélo

LesTreilles d’Antonin

Domaine de la Bastide des Près

Lorgues:

Le Cellier des Lorguians

Wineshop and coop

Flayosc:

Le cellier des 3 collines

Wineshop and coop

Les Arcs:

Château Sainte Roseline

Wine Cellar and tasting, awarded the Accueil Vélo label

Domaine Château Clarettes

Wine Cellar and tasting, awarded the Accueil Vélo lab

Château St. Pierre

Wine Cellar and tasting, awarded the Accueil Vélo lab

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