Bergerac wine

Last updated
Wine region
Appellations bergerac AOC version3.png
Typewine region, subregion of South West France
Year establishedfirst appellations created in 1936
Size of planted vineyards12,000 hectares (30,000 acres) [1]
Grapes producedRed: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Côt, Fer, Mérille and Merlot. White: Chenin blanc, Ondenc, Muscadelle, Sauvignon, Sémillon and Ugni blanc.

The Bergerac wine-growing region, a subregion of South West France around the town of Bergerac in the Dordogne department, comprises 93 communes. Its boundaries correspond more or less with those of the Arrondissement of Bergerac, immediately east of the Bordeaux wine region. 1,200 wine-growers cultivate an area of 12,000 hectares (30,000 acres). The Bergerac area contains 13 Appellations d'origine contrôlées (AOCs) for red, white (dry, medium-sweet and sweet) and rosé wines.

Wine alcoholic drink made from grapes

Wine is an alcoholic drink made from fermented grapes. Yeast consumes the sugar in the grapes and converts it to ethanol, carbon dioxide, and heat. Different varieties of grapes and strains of yeasts produce different styles of wine. These variations result from the complex interactions between the biochemical development of the grape, the reactions involved in fermentation, the terroir, and the production process. Many countries enact legal appellations intended to define styles and qualities of wine. These typically restrict the geographical origin and permitted varieties of grapes, as well as other aspects of wine production. Wines not made from grapes include rice wine and fruit wines such as plum, cherry, pomegranate, currant and elderberry.

South West France (wine region) French wine region

South West France, or in French Sud-Ouest, is a wine region in France covering several wine-producing areas situated respectively inland from, and south of, the wine region of Bordeaux. These areas, which have a total of 16,000 hectares of vineyards, consist of several discontinuous wine "islands" throughout the Aquitaine region, and more or less to the west of the Midi-Pyrénées region.

Bergerac, Dordogne Subprefecture and commune in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France

Bergerac is a commune and a sub-prefecture of the Dordogne department in southwestern France. Bergerac is designated as a 'City of Art and History' by the Ministry of Culture (France). It is the secondmost populated prefecture in the Dordogne, after Périgueux.


The vineyards extend across the southern part of the Dordogne department, the Arrondissement (urban district) of Bergerac. Bergerac soil also features excellent drainage as a result of its proximity to the Dordogne River.

Approximately fifteen per cent of Bergerac AOC wine is sold outside France mainly to Great Britain, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands. [2]


As in the neighbouring wine-growing area of Bordeaux, the cultivation of vines began in this recently created country district of Bergeracois with the arrival of the Romans. Vines occupied a rapidly expanding place in the local economy, the River Dordogne helped to promote the wine trade along its navigable sections. The fall of the Roman Empire had few adverse effects on wine-growing, since the Visigoths, who became the country's new masters, were great wine drinkers.

Ancient Rome History of Rome from the 8th-century BC to the 5th-century

In Historiography, ancient Rome is Roman civilization from the founding of the Italian city of Rome in the 8th century BC to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, encompassing the Roman Kingdom, Roman Republic and Roman Empire until the fall of the western empire. The civilization began as an Italic settlement in the Italian Peninsula, conventionally founded in 753 BC, that grew into the city of Rome and which subsequently gave its name to the empire over which it ruled and to the widespread civilisation the empire developed. The Roman Empire expanded to become one of the largest empires in the ancient world, though still ruled from the city, with an estimated 50 to 90 million inhabitants ) and covering 5.0 million square kilometres at its height in AD 117.

Roman Empire Period of Imperial Rome following the Roman Republic (27 BC–476 AD)

The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of ancient Rome, consisting of large territorial holdings around the Mediterranean sea in Europe, North Africa and West Asia ruled by emperors. From the accession of Caesar Augustus to the military anarchy of the third century, it was a principate with Italy as metropole of the provinces and its city of Rome as sole capital. The Roman Empire was then ruled by multiple emperors and divided into a Western Roman Empire, based in Milan and later Ravenna, and an Eastern Roman Empire, based in Nicomedia and later Constantinople. Rome remained the nominal capital of both parts until 476 AD, when it sent the imperial insignia to Constantinople following the capture of Ravenna by the barbarians of Odoacer and the subsequent deposition of Romulus Augustus. The fall of the Western Roman Empire to Germanic kings, along with the hellenization of the Eastern Roman Empire into the Byzantine Empire, is conventionally used to mark the end of Ancient Rome and the beginning of the Middle Ages.

Visigoths Gothic tribe

The Visigoths were the western branches of the nomadic tribes of Germanic peoples referred to collectively as the Goths. These tribes flourished and spread throughout the late Roman Empire in Late Antiquity, or what is known as the Migration Period. The Visigoths emerged from earlier Gothic groups who had invaded the Roman Empire beginning in 376 and had defeated the Romans at the Battle of Adrianople in 378. Relations between the Romans and the Visigoths were variable, alternately warring with one another and making treaties when convenient. The Visigoths invaded Italy under Alaric I and sacked Rome in 410. After the Visigoths sacked Rome, they began settling down, first in southern Gaul and eventually in Hispania, where they founded the Visigothic Kingdom and maintained a presence from the 5th to the 8th centuries AD.

The arrival of the Saracens and the subsequent Viking raids dealt a severe blow to wine-growing. The Muslims ordered the uprooting of all vines and this, combined with the threat of danger from the northern invaders, caused communities to withdraw into themselves and killed off all trade.

The Bergerac area has produced wines since the thirteenth century and has exported wines since 1254, when it began shipping its vintages to England based on special privileges granted by Henry III of England. These dispensations gave the Bergerac community the right to assembly, special tax exemptions and the right to ship their wines to Bordeaux unhindered. By the fourteenth century, Bergerac had strictly defined quality standards for its wine growing areas. Despite Bergerac's special privileges, during this period, Bordeaux was known to use its position, downriver and near the mouth of the Garonne river, to give its own wines priority over barrels of Bergerac wines being transported on freight carrying "gabarres" (river barges). However, the Parlement of Guyenne granted Bergerac a charter to transport freely its wines to the Atlantic in 1511. By that time, the Protestant-dominated Bergerac was also trading with Holland and Scandinavia via an overland route. [3]

Renaissance to modern day

The south-western province of La Guyenne was an area in which Calvinism prospered. When the Wars of Religion broke out, many Protestants emigrated, in particular to Holland. Their attachment to their own regional produce meant that the popularity of Bergerac wines soared. The wine-growers decided to change their strategy and concentrate on producing dry white and sweet dessert wines, which were sought by this market.

In the 20th century, when the boundaries of the Bordeaux wine-growing area were being drawn up, it was decided they should match those of the Gironde department. Bergerac wines, which had long been sold under the generic name, Bordeaux, had to forge a new and separate identity overnight. The Libourne merchants who had traditionally sold these wines, now gave priority to wines with a Bordeaux label before even attempting to find a market for their other wines.


The name Bergerac apparently comes from the word "Bragayrac", which is derived from the Gallic word "braca", meaning "manufacturer of breeches" (the baggy trousers worn by the Gauls).

Soil composition and geology

View of the vineyards from the Chateau of Monbazillac, with Bergerac in the background. P1060951 Vue sur Bergerac depuis le chateau de Monbazillac.JPG
View of the vineyards from the Château of Monbazillac, with Bergerac in the background.

The nature of the soils mirrors the extent of the wine-growing area. [4]

The lacustrian calcareous source rock of the south-eastern area produces brown soil containing calcareous pebbles. The soil varies in thickness.

To the north of the River Dordogne, the source rock contains sands and clays mixed with gravel; the latter produce acid soils with a faded brown colour, while an accumulation of minerals deep below the surface create an impermeable sub-stratum known as "tran".

In the south-east, boulbènes formed from sands and washed out silts result in a crusting soil that is poor in nutrients.

To the west, calcareous source rock that was once marine, produces brown soil containing calcareous pebbles. These are the same soils as those found in the wine-growing areas of the east Gironde, such as Saint-Émilion, Côtes de Castillon, Côtes de Franc.

During the Quaternary period, the River Dordogne deposited terraces of gravel alluvia on both banks. These soils are acidic and not particularly fertile, but they offer good drainage.


Climate data for Côtes de Bergerac
Average high °F48.752.357.762.169.475.480.880.874.865.855.050.264.6
Average low °F34.335.23741.248.453.857.456.551.446.63936.044.8
Average precipitation inches2.
Average high °C9.311.314.316.720.824.
Average low °C1.31.835.
Average precipitation mm526342806873536679718082808.2
Mean monthly sunshine hours 9511218117621821824324918312788761,964
Source: [5]

The number of days with rainfall is 116, while fine weather days number 196, of which 123 enjoy small amounts of sunshine and 73 strong sunshine. [6]

The Bergerac climate is temperate oceanic. [7] Precipitation is evenly spread throughout the period when the vines are producing new growth. April is humid, which boosts vine growth and helps to prevent disastrous spring frosts. The summers are warm and relatively dry, ideal conditions for the ripening of grape clusters. Over four consecutive months, from May to August, the area enjoys more than 200 hours of sunshine a month. It is this sunshine which supplies the necessary energy for photosynthesis. September and October are critical months in determining the production of great vintage wines. Dry weather in September concentrates the grape aromas, while moderate humidity in October promotes the development of noble rot, vital for the creation of great dessert wines. The November and December rains replenish the soil's water reserves.

Grape varieties

The red wines are a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot, sometimes supplemented by Côt or, less commonly, by Fer Servadou or Mérille. They are often dark in color, with full-bodied flavours.

The white wines are mainly a blend of Sémillon with Sauvignon blanc, Sauvignon gris and Muscadelle, to which Ugni blanc, Ondenc and Chenin blanc are sometimes added. These combinations lead to the creation of fruity, dry white wines that can be powerful, and of medium-sweet or sweet wines that are aromatic and powerful.



See also

Related Research Articles

Chenin blanc varietal

Chenin blanc is a White wine grape variety from the Loire Valley of France. Its high acidity means it can be used to make everything from sparkling wines to well-balanced dessert wines, although it can produce very bland, neutral wines if the vine's natural vigor is not controlled. Outside the Loire it is found in most of the New World wine regions; it is the most widely planted variety in South Africa, where it is also known as Steen. The grape may have been one of the first to be grown in South Africa by Jan van Riebeeck in 1655, or it may have come to that country with Huguenots fleeing France after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685. Chenin blanc was often misidentified in Australia as well, so tracing its early history in the country is not easy. It may have been introduced in James Busby's collection of 1832, but C. Waterhouse was growing Steen at Highercombe in Houghton, South Australia, by 1862.

Graves (wine region) Bordeaux wine region

Graves is an important subregion of the Bordeaux wine region. Graves is situated on the left bank of the Garonne River, in the upstream part of the region, southeast of the city Bordeaux and stretches over 50 kilometres (31 mi). Graves is the only Bordeaux subregion which is famed for all three of Bordeaux' three main wine types—reds, dry whites and sweet wines—although red wines dominate the total production. Graves AOC is also the name of one Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) which covers most, but not all of the Graves subregion.

Bordeaux wine Wine produced in the Bordeaux region of France

A Bordeaux wine is any wine produced in the Bordeaux region of southwest France. Bordeaux is centered on the city of Bordeaux, on the Garonne River. To the north of the city the Dordogne River joins the Garonne forming the broad estuary called the Gironde and covering the whole area of the Gironde department,with a total vineyard area of over 120,000 hectares, making it the largest wine growing area in France. Average vintages produce over 700 million bottles of Bordeaux wine, ranging from large quantities of everyday table wine, to some of the most expensive and prestigious wines in the world. The vast majority of wine produced in Bordeaux is red, with sweet white wines, dry whites, and rosé and sparkling wines collectively making up the remainder. Bordeaux wine is made by more than 8,500 producers or châteaux. There are 54 appellations of Bordeaux wine.

French wine

French wine is produced all throughout France, in quantities between 50 and 60 million hectolitres per year, or 7–8 billion bottles. France is one of the largest wine producers in the world. French wine traces its history to the 6th century BC, with many of France's regions dating their wine-making history to Roman times. The wines produced range from expensive wines sold internationally to modest wines usually only seen within France such as the Margnat wines were during the post war period.

Languedoc-Roussillon wine

Languedoc-Roussillon wine, including the vin de pays labeled Vin de Pays d'Oc, is produced in southern France. While "Languedoc" can refer to a specific historic region of France and Northern Catalonia, usage since the 20th century has primarily referred to the northern part of the Languedoc-Roussillon région of France, an area which spans the Mediterranean coastline from the French border with Spain to the region of Provence. The area has around 700,000 acres (2,800 km2) under vines and is the single biggest wine-producing region in the world, being responsible for more than a third of France's total wine production. In 2001, the region produced more wine than the United States.

Bordeaux wine regions wine growing areas in France

The wine regions of Bordeaux are a large number of wine growing areas, differing widely in size and sometimes overlapping, which lie within the overarching wine region of Bordeaux, centred on the city of Bordeaux and covering the whole area of the Gironde department of Aquitaine.

Entre-Deux-Mers is a wine region in Bordeaux, in France. It is situated between the rivers Garonne and Dordogne, and is bounded in the east by the border of the Gironde department and in the west by the Bec d'Ambès, the confluence of the Garonne and the Dordogne. At 3,000 hectares, it is the largest sub-region of Bordeaux, although, as there are large areas of forest, relatively little of it is used for growing grapes. The total area under vine is about 1,500 hectares, with about 250 growers making wine there.

Loire Valley (wine) French wine region

The Loire Valley wine region includes the French wine regions situated along the Loire River from the Muscadet region near the city of Nantes on the Atlantic coast to the region of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé just southeast of the city of Orléans in north central France. In between are the regions of Anjou, Saumur, Bourgueil, Chinon, and Vouvray. The Loire Valley itself follows the river through the Loire province to the river's origins in the Cévennes but the majority of the wine production takes place in the regions noted above. The area includes 87 appellations under the Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC), Vin Délimité de Qualité Superieure (VDQS) and Vin de pays systems. While the majority of production is white wine from the Chenin blanc, Sauvignon blanc and Melon de Bourgogne grapes, there are red wines made from Cabernet franc. In addition to still wines, rosé, sparkling and dessert wines are also produced. With Crémant production throughout the Loire, it is the second largest sparkling wine producer in France after Champagne. Among these different wine styles, Loire wines tend to exhibit characteristic fruitiness with fresh, crisp flavors-especially in their youth. The Loire Valley has a long history of winemaking dating back to the 1st century. In the High Middle Ages, the wines of the Loire Valley were the most esteemed wines in England and France, even more prized than those from Bordeaux.

Regional Bordeaux AOCs

In the Bordeaux wine region there are seven regional Appellations d'origine contrôlée (AOCs) that may be used throughout the Gironde department. These are Bordeaux Rouge AOC, Bordeaux Supérieur Rouge, Bordeaux Clairet, Bordeaux Rosé, Bordeaux Blanc, a dry white, Bordeaux Supérieur Blanc, a sweet white, and Crémant de Bordeaux, a sparkling méthode traditionnelle wine. The regional appellations together form the largest world-class wine vineyard, making up more than half of the production of the prestigious Bordeaux wine region, and representing more than 55% of all Bordeaux wines consumed in the world.

Provence wine

Provence (Provençal) wine comes from the French wine-producing region of Provence in southeast France. The Romans called the area provincia nostra, giving the region its name. Just south of the Alps, it was the first Roman province outside Italy.

Côtes de Bourg

Côtes de Bourg is an Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) for Bordeaux wine situated around the small town of Bourg-sur-Gironde near Bordeaux, France. The first vineyards in the area were founded by the Romans. In the Middle Ages, Bourg was a major port for wine and the vineyards developed at the same tempo as the estuary traffic. The Côtes de Bourg appellation, in the north of the patchwork of Bordeaux wines, took its first steps on the east bank of the Gironde. At the time, the inhabitants of Bourg were fishermen, sailors or winemakers and the latter benefited from the perfect combination of a commercially minded town and a soil made for the vine.


Pécharmant is a wine appellation for certain wines produced in the hills to the North-East of the market town of Bergerac, France. With a surface area of 400 hectares the communes of Bergerac, Creysse and Lembras produce nearly 15 000 hectolitres of the red wine. Pécharmant is the best known of the Dordogne region wines and has been classified AOC since 1936. The identification "Pécharmant" dates from 1946 and new AOC since March 13, 1992.

Touraine is an Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) in the Loire Valley wine region in France that produce dry, white wines and red wines rich in tannins. The AOC status was awarded by a decree of December 24, 1939. The wine-growing area extends over 5,300 hectares departments of Indre-et-Loire, Indre and Loir-et-Cher and comprises a total of 70 communes and it is thus a "subregional" appellation covering the same area as a number of local AOCs.

Côtes de Duras

Côtes de Duras is an Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) for red and white wines in South West France. Côtes de Duras is located in the department of Lot-et-Garonne, and is located immediately adjacent to the Bordeaux wine region, which is restricted to the Gironde department, as an extension of Bordeaux immediately to the east of the departmental border.

Blaye (wine)

Blaye is a wine region in Bordeaux, centred on the town of Blaye, producing both red and white wine, plus a small amount of rosé and sparkling wine. It is located on the right bank of the River Gironde, and surrounds Côtes de Bourg.

Graves de Vayres is an Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) for red and white wines in the Bordeaux wine region of France. It covers 700 hectares across the Vayres and Arveyres communes and is located within the Entre-Deux-Mers subregion of Bordeaux.

Béarn AOC

Béarn is an Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) for wine in South West France. It is located in the area of intersection of three French departments: Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Hautes-Pyrénées and Gers; and two regions: Aquitaine and Midi-Pyrénées. Some vineyards in the area of the Jurançon AOC can also produce red Béarn wine, and some in the area of the Madiran AOC may produce a rosé Béarn. Wines made in the village of Bellocq also carry the appellation Béarn-Bellocq.

Château Suau (Capian) Winery in the Bordeaux area in France

Château Suau is a French vineyard located south of the village of Capian in the Bordeaux area. It sits at the highest point of the Cadillac-côtes-de-Bordeaux appellation. Château Suau produces organic wines.


  1. Source: le Guide Hachette des Vins 2010, page 870.
  2. "Site Officiel des Vins de Bergerac". Archived from the original on 2010-03-27. Retrieved 2018-11-05.
  3. Dordogne & the Lot, 5th Edition, by Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls, 2005
  4. Fiche de l'AOC Bergerac sur le site
  5. France, Meteo. "PREVISIONS METEO FRANCE - Site Officiel de Météo-France - Prévisions gratuites à 15 jours sur la France et à 10 jours sur le monde".
  6. Relevés des normales à la station météo-france de Bergerac.
  7. Le climat en Périgord pourpre au pays de Bergerac sur le site