The beautiful Rhône Valley in southern France is one of the world’s oldest wine-producing regions, with grapes cultivated here since the Ancient Greeks colonised the area in the 4th-century BC. The valley’s tradition for wine-production carried forward to the time of the Romans, and achieved continental fame in the 13th-century, when the papacy of Rome moved to the Palais des Papes in Avignon, and established numerous successful vineyards in the area, including the prestigious Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
Such is the historic quality of Rhône Valley wines that, in 1930, winegrower Baron Le Roy campaigned for the characteristics of Rhône wines to be officially recognised, giving rise to the AOC decrees which govern many different appellations across France today. Le Roy proposed limiting the growing area, grape varieties, methods of cultivation, alcohol content and harvesting period within the Rhône Valley AOC, so that the region’s beloved wines may be enjoyed for generations to come, whilst adhering to the same time-honoured techniques and traditions.
The Rhône Valley benefits from varied terroirs which make it possible to grow a large number of different grape varieties. Between Avignon and Vienne, some twenty-six grape varieties are cultivated, with the major fruits being Grenache, Syrah, Mourvédre and Cinsault for red wines, and Marsanne, Viognier, Roussanne and Maccabeo for whites.
Join us for a river cruise on the Saône and Rhône rivers and discover some of the region’s most endearing wine experiences.