Camargue

The Camargue forms a triangle of 150 000 hectares, whose points are Arles, Le Graudu-Roi and Fos-sur-Mer. The region is subjected to the Mediterranean climate with a warm, dry summer and mild winters, lots of sunshine and irregular rainfalls. In thousands and thousands of years, the progressive accumulation of debris deposited along the Rhône river formed hills and mountains, which today raise close to the sea.

Due to the vicinity of the river, the terrain is quite sandy. In the 1890s, the nature of the soil helped the vineyards of the Camargue to avoid a great phylloxera infestation. Wine phylloxera is an aphid (an insect from the Hempitera order, Phylloxeridae family), a dangerous pest able to destroy all vines down to the roots. It wasn't known to France up to 1868, but later on it brought enormous damage to the French wine-making industry, becoming responsible for the loss of almost half of the whole harvest. Thanks to their sandy soil, the Camargue lands were exempted from this infestation and the local wine-making industry began strongly developing, but then started regressing after 1942, in the face of the development of rice cultivation.

Throughout the Middle Ages, the Camargue wines were produced with an exceptional grape variety called Mourvèdre, or "Plant de Saint-Gilles". The Vaccarèse or silver-brown grape variety, one of the thirteen varieties of Châteauneufdu- Pape, is also known as Camarèse, probably native to the Camargue and the shores of the pond of Vaccarès. A wine of Aigues-Mortes was presented in 1897 at the General Agricultural Competition in Paris under the brand "Vignoble de Sables".

Today, most vineyards extend over only a few hundred hectares, mainly between the road from Arles to Saint-Gilles and the Petit-Rhône. In the Petit Camargue area the vineyards extend over 3000 hectares, allowing the production of wines under the label PGI Sable-de-Camargue. Most vintners in the region focus on the marketing of wines from organic viticulture.

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