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Wine Wednesday: In the beginning...

By: Cecily G

It’s our favorite day of the week, Wine Wednesday! Grab a glass and enjoy our continued journey to learn all things Rhône. This week’s topic: The conception of the Rhône as a wine growing region.

The history of the Rhône dates back incredibly far, as it is one of the most ancient wine growing regions in the world.

The region’s wine growing history dates back to 400 BC, when grapes were first planted by the Greeks in the area known today as Marseilles. By the 1st century AD, grapes were being cultivated by the Romans in the northern Rhône, in the region now known as Côte Rôtie. Being grown and produced on the best vineyard sites in the area, along with copious amounts of heavy labor, led to wines that soon rivaled the wines of Italy.

Many artifacts, including amphorae used to transport wine, found in the area from this time tell us a lot about the presence of sands and clay in the soil, as well as provide evidence of wine making at the time. Ancient ruins are also easily found throughout the appellation.

Ancient Roman ruins abound in the Rhône region. Image via expiri.com.

The collapse of the Roman Empire brought a severe decline to the industry; as the Roman disappeared, so did interest in wines of the Rhône. Many regions no longer had anyone to export their wines. Some regions, who traded to nearby towns, were able to stay afloat during the time. It wouldn’t be for another thousand years until the Rhône saw a resurgence, when the Church brought in a new demand for wines of this area.

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