Rhone Valley - French Wine School

Rhône Valley

Wine: Grenache, Syrah & Mourvedre

THE POPES PALACE, ROMANS, COOL NORTH & SUNNY SOUTH

climate: mediterranean

Get to know The Rhône

With the magnificent Rhone River at its heart, the Rhône Valley is the second largest wine-growing region in France and produces some of the most famous wines in the world.

Our map highlights the important wine areas from north to south.

The river runs the length of the entire region. Beyond the wines to discover, the Valley also reveals a rich architectural heritage including the Papal Palace, which moved from Rome to Avignon during the 14th Century. Here the Popes governed the Catholic church & embraced the wines of the Rhone Valley.

 

Pictured: © A. Stenger/Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Tourisme

Northern Rhône

Curving around the River Rhône from Vienne to Valence, the Northern Rhône has been growing grapes and making wine since the Romans arrived in 121 BC.

In the cooler Northern Rhone, the vineyards begin 32 kms south of Lyon and stretch for 72 kms between Vienne and Valence.

Pictured: Château de Chareil-Cintrat © J. Damase/Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Tourisme

Shortly after leaving Vienne, you see the vines from Côte Rôtie and Hermitage where steep hillsides with golden-hued stone terraces are tilled by hand with horse-drawn ploughs. This photogenic region is also home to aromatic white wines such as Condrieu.
The wines are primarily dry red made from Syrah and built to age. White grapes (Viognier, Marsanne and Roussanne) can be blended into the reds in small amounts for specific AOCs to add aromatic complexity and to soften the tannins. The white wines are also made up of these varieties.

Pictured: Lavaudieu © J. Damase/Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Tourisme

Southern Rhône

Arriving from the North, you will see orchards and farmland. The land then flattens in a display of olive groves, lavender, cypress and dry earth.

The Southern Rhone extends from Montélimar to Nîmes, with the Cote de Rhone vineyards finishing around the city of Avignon. Unlike the North, vineyards are planted on the plains and gentle slopes.

Pictured: les Gorges de l'Ardèche © www.TristanShu.com/Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Tourisme

In the 14th Century, the Papal Palace moved to Avignon from Rome and the Popes embraced the wines of this sunny region.
Within Southern Rhone, the wines are typically blended with grenache, syrah, mourvèdre with another 24 grape varieties allowed in specific blends.
Southern wines have ample fruit and medium acidity, and reds display significant, ripe tannins particularly from regions such as Chateauneuf de Papes, the first region in France given AOC status and made famous by the Popes of Avignon.

Pictured: © A. Stenger/Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Tourisme

Planning your trip

Vignoble du Beaujolais, autour d'Oingt (69)

AOCs to visit in The Rhône

There are 9 major AOCs across Provence, all of which boast spectacular surrounds from hilltop villages, deep valleys and coastlines. You can’t really go wrong spending time in any of these regions.

  • Les Baux de Provence
  • Cotes de Provence
  • Coteaux D’Aix-en-Provence
  • Cassis
  • Bandol
  • Coteaux Varois
  • Palette
  • Coteaux de Pierrevert

Pictured: © P. Muradian/Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Tourisme

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Rhône wine events

The wonderful thing about Provence is its Mediterranean climate, with relatively warm temperatures all year round. So, if you visit in the summer or winter you’ll still get a beautiful experience.

Want to learn more about The Rhône Valley?

Experience Rhône by taking an online course, attending a tasting or travelling to the region for yourself.

Online Courses

Learn more about Rhône through an interactive online course

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Tastings & Events

Join a Rhône wine tasting event and connect with the FWS Community

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Travel Experiences

Learn more about Rhône through the interactive online course

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