Viticultural area: Languedoc Roussillon

Associated viticultural areas France France Languedoc Roussillon Languedoc Roussillon
Languedoc Roussillon

Banyuls et Collioure

Wine-growing landscape in BanyulsPlanted by the Greeks and Romans, the vineyards in this region have over two thousand years of history. Their fame is connected with the production of fortified wines and natural sweet wines. It was in the 13th century that the Catalan doctor, Arnau de Villanova, invented the process of  muting with alcohol. Towards the mid 1700s the area cultivated in Banyuls and Collioure was about 700 ha, rapid growth followed up to the end of the 1800s, when it reached 2,500 ha. The grape phylloxera crisis considerably reduced the cultivated areas, but they were later replanted to reach the present extension. It was only during the 19th and 20th centuries that today’s vineyards came into being. In 1909 Banyuls became the first denomination of sweet muted wines, obtaining its decree in 1936. Much later, from 1971on, the Collioure denomination was changed to allow the production of red and rosé wines and, from 2003, of white wine.   

Facts and figures 
 

Total viticulture ares in the communes of Collioure, Port-Vendres, Banyuls and Cerbère (ha.)

1,740

Total wine-growing area on difficult terrain

(altitude, steep slopes, terracing) (ha.)

1,566

Area with slopes > 25% (ha.)

1,566

Area at an altitude > 500 m above sea level (ha.)

0

Area terraced (ha.)

1,400

Maximum altitude of the vineyards (m above sea level)

400 m

Vineyards on difficult terrain

Banyuls and Cerbère have half of their vineyards on slopes with over 50% incline. Port-Vendres has over 80% of its vineyards situated on slopes less than 50%. The percentage for Collioure is between those of the two communes above.

(Data updated to 2006)

Subdivision of the area

Wineries with an area over 3 hectares occupy 24% of the area and make up 42% of the total. Areas between 1 and 3 ha cover 35% of the area and belong to 50% of the wineries. There is 36% of the area and 6% of the wineries with a size between 1 and 0.2 ha. Plots below 0.2 ha cover 5% of the area with 2% of the wineries.

Wine-growing landscape

Vineyards are planted on the slopes forming huge natural amphitheatres facing the sea. The Mediterranean climate and 2,500 hours of sunlight per year guarantee well-ripened grapes and wines of excellent quality.
The vines are grown on terraces supported by 6,000 km of schist walls, with a special Y-shaped system for draining off water (“peu de gall”) that keeps erosion to a minimum and channels water downhill without causing hydrogeological instability.

Main vines

Most of the vines grown are white wine grapes:

  • Grenache gris
  • Grenache blanc
  • Muscat à petit grains
  • Malvoisie
  • Vermentino
  • Marsanne
  • Roussanne
  • Macabeu
Black grapes:


  • Grenache noir
  • Syrah
  • Carignan noir
  • Mourvedre
  • Cinsaut