The Roussillon produces dry, still wines and vins doux naturels
The Roussillon region is part of the Pyrénées-Orientales department. It is shaped like an amphitheatre, is open to the Mediterranean to the East and is bordered by three mountain ranges: the Corbières to the North, the Pyrenees with Mont Canigou to the West, and the Albères to the South. The plain is drained by three rivers: the Agly, the Têt and the Tech.
The Pyrénées-Orientales region is the ninth largest producer of wine in France, with 2% of national production by volume. At least 80% of France’s production of Vins Doux Naturels originates here.
The Roussillon produces dry, still wines and vins doux naturels. With 14 AOPs and 3 IGP, mainly from 23 different varieties, there is a wealth of different Roussillon wines, each having its own character.
In Roussillon, vines once covered an area of approximately 70,000 hectares in the 1960s; today, that figure stands at 22,000 hectares, 70% of which are classified into AOPs.
Roussillon vines have a maximum average yield of 32 hectolitres/hectare. By way of comparison, the average yield of all French AOPs vines is 60 hl/ha.
The total average production is 7 - 800,000 hl per year. Of that number, 156,000 hl are vins doux naturels, with 267,000 hl being AOP dry wine appellations and 274,000 hl being IGP wines.
Vine growing is essentially a family businesses. Roussillon has around 4,500 wine growers, 1,800 of which are full-time owners and growers. The vineyards are generally small, averaging 10 ha in size, and 90% of them are managed by their owners. 58% of the agricultural areas of Roussillon are planted with vines.
The Pyrénées-Orientales currently has around 25 winemaking cooperatives and groups of cooperatives, which together account for 75% of wine production. The other 25% is produced by 345 private producers and approximately 100 traders who sell Roussillon wines (two of which account for more than 80% of total production volume).
Source: Wines of Roussillon