Wine Stories

AOC Ventoux

Written by Veronica Lavenia

AOC Ventoux is the first AOC to bet on the future of sustainable territories in balance with the environment. Villages, monasteries, castles, vineyards, which characterize the area, blend perfectly with virgin nature on one side and cultivated on the other.

With an altitude of about 1,910 meters, Mont Ventoux is known to be called the “Giant of Provence”, in the Southern Rhone Valley. Here, the winemakers produce fresh wines, with a unique and special character.

AOC Ventoux has breathtaking landscapes, high quality wines and the ambition to work for a near sustainable future in harmony with Nature.

©AOC Ventoux

Zoé Lemonnier, communications and marketing manager of AOC Ventoux, talks about this little corner of winemaking paradise.

©AOC Ventoux

Since the birth of AOC Ventoux, which objectives have been achieved and which remain to be achieved?

In 1939, the winemakers created the Ventoux wine consortium, intended to promote the quality and character of the region’s wines. Ventoux wines became VDQS in 1953, then obtained AOC status in July 1973. Formerly called Côtes-du-Ventoux, the appellation was renamed with decree n° 2009-1243 of October 14, 2009. In addition to working for continuous improvement of the quality of the wines, the development of the AOC Ventoux depends as much on its commercial dynamism as on the enhancement of its image.

©AOC Ventoux

In 2012, the AOC Ventoux began a positioning work with the aim of bringing out a new image for wines with consumers and professionals, to create a strong affinity and differentiate them from our neighbors, especially AOC Côtes du Rhône .
Fifty years after its creation, the AOC Ventoux is the first controlled designation of origin to adopt a purpose, the result of collective work. This pioneering approach aims to define the uniqueness of the Ventoux terroir and to activate the commitment of its community to the service of the environment and its territory.

For 2030, AOC Ventoux is committed to:

  1. Protect and develop forests by planting three thousand trees;
  2. Safeguard the land, multiplying natural grass surfaces by three;
  3. Witness the natural wealth of AOC Ventoux by participating every year in the inventory of the biodiversity of our territory.

©AOC Ventoux

For the Ventoux AOC, this approach allows you to:

  1. Uniting its members around a common project: the raison d’être makes it possible to create a bond between the members by explaining the meaning of the collective project, at a time when market dynamics tend to separate the wine collectives;
  2. Define its uniqueness: the raison d’être of the AOC Ventoux aims to explain what makes the denomination unique, why it exists, what it is used for and what it is committed to in society;
  3. Committing to its environment and its territory: the raison d’être is also a mission. In support of this formula, the AOC unveils its responsible goals for 2030.

©AOC Ventoux

To achieve our goals, we have already launched impact actions:

  1. Completion of two climate studies and a carbon balance, etc;
  2. Creation of a project manager position for climate and environmental transition;
  3. Approaching the NRPs and the actors of the protection of the biodiversity of our territory;
  4. Creation of an event for the transmission of skills on the subject of vegetation cover;
  5. Being a partner of five events of local life: Ventoux Saveurs Festival, Les Rencontres de Puyméras,International Phenology Congress, Symposium on Biodiversity and Wine, Les Papillons.

Furthermore, our strategy also includes the transformation of our governance. The mission of the Raison d’être committee is to make recommendations on the implementation of our commitments, monitor the implementation of our actions, advise on the implementation of new initiatives, inform our stakeholders of our approach. It is made up of partners who share the values and commitment of AOC Ventoux, who know our name and are actors in our territory. They are committed to social and environmental goals and have a long-term view of our denomination challenges.

What are the peculiarities of the territory and its wines that make AOC Ventoux wines so special?

In the south of the Rhône Valley and in the heart of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region, the AOC Ventoux extends over a 5,700-hectare vineyard and two Regional Natural Parks. The Syndicat vigneron created in 1949 became AOC Ventoux in 1973.

Today, it has just under 150 wineries: 13 cooperative wineries and 128 private wineries. The AOC Ventoux brings together a community of passionate and dynamic winemakers who produce red, white and rosé wines recognized for their freshness and aromatic diversity.

Thanks to the influence of the mountain, which culminates at 1912m, the AOC benefits from one of the coolest climates in the south of the Rhone Valley. In this exceptionally preserved natural environment, twice a biosphere reserve classified by UNESCO, the Ventoux winemakers watch over the environment and the land that makes it so rich and strive to preserve an extraordinary animal and plant biodiversity. Essential link and attractiveness of the region, allied with all local actors, the AOC Ventoux promotes a unique terroir and engages with all the actors of the territory to protect the living, revitalize the local culture and produce quality wines.

©AOC Ventoux

Our special features:

  1. Wealth and diversity as a heritage;
  2. The dynamism, openness and commitment of AOC winemakers;

Mont Ventoux is a land full of reliefs and contrasts. A land as rich and diverse as its wines. Mountains, needles, hills, valleys, perched villages, dot the landscape of the AOC territory, dominated by the “Giant of Provence” and contribute to the diversity of its wines.

The microclimate of the Ventoux is contrasted, it is a Mediterranean climate influenced by the altitude: alternating very hot days and cool nights, sometimes strong sun and refreshing winds. The difference in temperature between day and night can be up to 20° C. These winds cool the vines and allow AOC winemakers to offer wines that are generally fresher than wines from neighboring appellations.

©AOC Ventoux

A wide variety of soils (clayey, limestone, sandy, red earth) gives Ventoux wines a great aromatic diversity. This particular terroir is expressed in rich and diversified wines, with perfect balance.

©AOC Ventoux

Ventoux wines are wines of pleasure and surprise, wines that are fresh and fruity at the same time. This is their particularity within the appellations of the Rhone Valley. A wine that allows amateurs and connoisseurs to live a unique experience, a perfect balance between freshness and delicacy.

The natural wealth of the territory: Ventoux wines are produced in an area of extraordinary natural wealth.

The AOC Ventoux is the only AOC whose territory is located in the heart of two regional natural parks (Ventoux and Luberon). It also includes a UNESCO biosphere reserve.

©AOC Ventoux

The massif has, in fact, a surprising diversity of environments, with more than 1500 listed plant species, a fauna of exceptional richness. More than 20 species of bats; 14 reptiles, including the Orsini viper, threatened with extinction; 8 of amphibians; 2500 insects, of which 1425 are butterflies; not to mention the deer, roe deer, chamois, mouflons, wild boars that populate the area.

Living on the slopes of Ventoux also means living a sensory experience of an extraordinary world, a unique olfactory and gustatory experience: song of cicadas, smells of lavender, warm days, cool nights, wonderful landscapes, culinary journeys …

The aromas of lavender and thyme mix with the essences of the coniferous woods vaporized by the heat, carried by the wind. It also means living a unique lifestyle, steeped in Italianness: a subtle dolce vita.

The Ventoux is a balanced landscape, between human presence and nature conservation. The human wealth of the territory: Ventoux wines are produced in a rich and diversified territory by a friendly community committed to transmitting its way of life.

Of course, the winemakers, who have been practicing their art for more than 2000 years and pass it on from generation to generation, are those who revive Mont Ventoux and its millenary culture. They are also the growers with their flagship products: PGI cherries, Carpentras strawberries, asparagus, truffles, Cavaillon melon, Ventoux pork … products sublimated by talented chefs. Finally, it is all the inhabitants around Mont Ventoux and the perched villages, as if suspended over an exceptional natural environment.

©AOC Ventoux

A united and friendly community, which revives Mont Ventoux and its millenary culture and shares its precious treasure with as many people as possible. Ventoux winemakers are committed to:

  1. Change the image of their wines and energize the region and the AOC;
  2. Renew methods and approaches, face the future with optimism;

The AOC winegrowers are approaching the future with the desire to make the most of the richness of their territory and the particularity of their terroir, thanks to new methods and a new approach to their profession. AOC Ventoux winemakers are always looking for improvement and progress. New spirit, new methods, new techniques, new approach: they are ready to face the challenges of the future with dynamism, in particular that of global warming, to make the most of the richness and diversity of their territory.

The two watchwords of this commitment: respect for the environment and conviviality, in the sense of cooperation with and for its ecosystem.

©AOC Ventoux

Ventoux winemakers open their domains, their culture, their know-how to all those who wish to discover them. They are open to their ecosystem and new experiences and are committed to revitalizing the cultural and economic life of their territory.

The first password of the AOC: to act for the conservation of one’s natural environment:

  1. Protect biodiversity;
  2. Reduce the carbon footprint of your business and its consequences;
  3. Restrict the use of inputs;
  4. Saving the natural resources of one’s territory.

©AOC Ventoux

Through which services / activities do you promote the wine region?

The promotion of the Ventoux AOC is carried out through different types of actions and partnerships, for different targets, both in France and abroad.

For the general public:

  • Organization of events: The Grand Rendez-Vous of AOC Ventoux wines, AOC Ventoux Drone Tour, Les Banquets du Géant, Le Fascinant week end;
  • With the Vignobles & Découvertes label: animation of the Around Ventoux destination;
  • Annual edition of a flyer that collects summer events from May to October;
  • New website aoc-ventoux.com.

For professionals (buyers, sommeliers, winemakers, restaurateurs, etc.):

  • Participation in fairs: Découvertes en Vallée du Rhône, Wine Paris, Le Grand Tasting, Lyon Tasting, etc.;
  • Organization of more specific operations: workshops, masterclasses, etc.

For the print:

  • Reception of journalists in the vineyard;
  • Organization of tastings;
  • Sending samples for the specialized press;
  • Partnerships with the media for advertising.

©AOC Ventoux

Could you briefly describe the areas of cultural and wine tourism interest of AOC Ventoux?

For the southern part of the AOC Ventoux:

  1. Senanque Abbey
  2. Perched villages (Bonnieux, Lacoste, Gordes)
  3. Buoux mines
  4. Ocher mines
  5. Lavender Museum
  6. Isle Terroir flea markets
  7. Essential oils
    Apt candied fruit (candied fruit capital)
  8. Melon
  9. Truffle
  10. PVC (Naturally Farmers, Le Luberon Paysan)
  11. Isle Nature Provençal Market
  12. Cedar forest
  13. Ocher path
  14. Provencal Colorado
  15. Risorgimento of Fontaine de Vaucluse
  16. Cliffs of Buoux (climbing)
  17. Via ferrata – Coline St Jean
  18. Calavon cycle path
  19. Wines
  20. Auretum
  21. Cellar of Lights
  22. Domaine les Davids
  23. Domaine des Peyres
  24. Establishments of the Château of Saint-Pons
  25. Shellfish
  26. Bastide of Gordes
  27. Capelongue events
  28. Winemakers of sunsets
  29. Festival crowds
  30. Musical of the Luberon
  31. Lacoste Festival
  32. Floating Market (Island)

A must: The fabulous perched villages of the Luberon!

For the northern part of the AOC Ventoux:

  1. Carpentras Synagogue
  2. Barroux Castle
  3. Venasque Baptistery
  4. Ancient site of Vaison
  5. Perched villages (Crillon-le-Brave, Venasque) Terroir
  6. Ventoux truffle
  7. Venasque cherries
  8. Carpentras strawberries
  9. Muscat of the Ventoux
  10. Almond
  11. Carombe figs
  12. Apricot
  13. Asparagus
  14. Einkorn
  15. Lavender
  16. Simple Berlingots
  17. Mont Ventoux (hiking, skiing, cycling, etc.)
  18. The Toulourenc
  19. The Nesca
  20. Via Venaissia
  21. Mormoiron and Bedouin ocher
  22. Paty lake
  23. Salette Lake
  24. Wines
  25. Blue oak
  26. Pesquie Castle
  27. Domaine de Fondrèche
  28. Giovenale Castle
  29. Domain of the Camarette
  30. La Croix des Pins Castle
  31. Unang Castle
  32. Domaine Champ-Long
  33. Grand Jacques domain
  34. Terraventoux
  35. Vintur
  36. Vindemio factories
  37. Mazan Castle
  38. Crillon-le-Brave Castle
  39. Ventoux Spa
  40. Belezi event domain
  41. The big meeting
  42. The choirs
  43. Vaison dance
  44. Banquets of the Giant
  45. Flavors of the Ventoux Festival
  46. Truffle market
  47. Kolkoz
  48. Rinoferock

A must: The Giant of Provence!

The AOC Ventoux first received the “Vignobles & Découvertes” label for the “Around Ventoux” destination in May 2018. Awarded by Atout France for a period of three years, this official recognition has allowed our appellation to surpass the milestones of a new dynamic in our wine tourism strategy.

©AOC Ventoux

The “Around Ventoux” destination called “Vignobles & Découvertes” aims in particular at:

Wine tourists: tourists who wish to discover the region through activities related to the world of wine;
Ecotourists: this type is more interested in the development of products and wants to consume in an ethical way, seeking more information, in particular the presence of quality brands and the commitment to sustainable development;
Cyclists: a clientele who want to discover the region through bicycle tours around different themes.

The “Around Ventoux” destination covers the entire Ventoux appellation:

  1. On a perimeter of 5700 hectares where there are three sectors: the Malaucène basin to the north, the slopes of Mont Ventoux to the east of Carpentras and the Calavon valley up to Apt;
  2. The destination extends from north to south for over 50 km and from east to west for over 45 km. It thus passes from the Dentelles de Montmirail to the northern slopes of the Luberon, crossing the Monts du Vaucluse and winding at the foot of the “Giant of Provence”. It covers the territory of 51 communes in the Vaucluse department.

The Vignobles & Découvertes brand aims to promote tourism on the theme of grapevine and wine. It is assigned to a tourist and wine destination that offers a range of multiple and complementary tourism products (accommodation, restaurants, visits to wineries and tastings, museums, festivals and events, activities, etc.) and allows the customer to facilitate the organization of the stay and refer him to qualified services. This label brings together professionals from the area who meet a number of qualification criteria. The “Around Ventoux” destination extends over the entire area of the Ventoux appellation. To date, it has more than 70 certified partners (wineries and estates, restaurants, accommodation providers, activity providers, heritage sites).

About the author

Veronica Lavenia

PhD.
(Speech) Writer and magazine contributor, some of her works have appeared in the most popular International magazines.
Her scientific papers have been published in some of the most renowned international literary academic journals.
Writer| Translator| Communications manager at "The Wolf Post", since the birth of the platform.

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