The Vacqueyras vineyard trail is an invitation to discover our exceptional heritage.
Along this three-hour route (about eight kilometres without difficulty) you’ll learn about the importance of the climate, the terroir, the grape varieties, the know-how and the work of men in the making of a great wine. Fifteen bilingual (French and English) signs and a landscape interpretation table, richly illustrated with photos and colour pictures, will reveal all the secrets of this unique terroir, patiently shaped by generations of enthusiastic and passionate winegrowers. Enjoy a nice walk!
Your visit begins at Place de la Pousterle in the centre of the village.
During your walk, please respect the environment and culture so that the next visitors can fully enjoy this tour.
1. The history of Vacqueyras
It’s the shared starting point of the three themed trails: the botanical trail, the discovery of the old village and the vineyard trail, where you will get to know the past of this village situated on the borders of the Comtat Venaissin.
You’ll learn about the origin of the name Vacqueyras and the main stages of its history. Then, you’ll go up the Cours Stassart northwards. Every 14th July, under these majestic plane trees the traditional wine festival of Vacqueyras (the oldest in the Rhone Valley) takes place, which brings together more than a thousand guests for lunch.
2. Presentation of the vineyard
The Vacqueyras vineyard extends over the two communes of Vacqueyras and Sarrians on a surface area of 1,400 hectares cultivated by 200 winegrowing families. The first trace of vine cultivation dates back to 1414.
The wine-growing tradition has always been associated with the village of Vacqueyras and the local appellation Vacqueyras (cru) was obtained on 22 February 1990. In 1992, under the impetus of the Winegrowers’ Union, the bottle engraved with the coat of arms of Vacqueyras was created.
3. The climate
Each season is marked by the peculiarities of the Mediterranean climate and its influence on the vineyard. Here the sun and the Mistral wind reign supreme.
4. The cultivation methods
Ancestral techniques optimise the quality of the grapes according to a very precise work schedule. In the spring, the winegrowers carry out the de-stemming and the tying up of the grapes. In the summer it is the thinning out of the skins and the thinning out of the leaves. The end of the summer is marked by the harvest.
5. Supervision methods
The size of the vine determines the qualitative and quantitative production of the harvest. Each type of pruning, “gobelet” or “double cordon de Royat” is adapted to the grape variety.
6. White grape varieties
The white Vacqueyras are confidential and represent 4% of the total production of the appellation. The six authorised grape varieties are: Marsanne, Viognier, Clairette, Grenache Blanc, Rousanne and Bourboulenc. Floral and fruity, well-balanced, these white wines can be drunk young, but they open out on citrus notes after a few years of cellaring.
7. Cottages and wells
Rural heritage is closely linked to agricultural activity. Cottages and wells are essential elements in the wine-growing landscape. Located outside the village, the buildings were used as shelters for workers and their animals who spent the day on the land.
8. La Ponche
This district full of history will plunge you into the architecture of the XVII century. After your visit, you’ll retrace your steps for about 300 metres to resume your walk./p>
9. 10. Red grape varieties
Vacqueyras produces mainly red wines but also whites and rosés. The main red grape varieties are: Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre. The other Côtes du Rhône grape varieties can be used as secondary varieties (Cinsault, etc.).
The blends allow the tastes of the different grape varieties to be combined, thus creating all the richness and diversity of the appellation’s wines.
The cool stage of the route. This charming hamlet is the perfect place to take a break near a natural spring under the benevolent shade of a huge poplar tree.
A superb 15th-century papal milestone, carved out of a single block of stone, makes this place magical and picturesque.
12. An exceptional terroir
The terroir is the soul of Vacqueyras wines.
The three types of soil present in the appellation allow the vine to express very particular aromatic characteristics in its fruit.
Pebbles and limestone gravel: the wines are colourful, tannic, powerful and spicy. Slopes of fine sand and clay: the wines are fine, aromatic and express the fruity flavour of the grape variety. Sandstone and marl: the wines are round, harmonious and balanced.
13. Landscape interpretation table
Located halfway along the route and ideally placed on the Garrigues plateau, this half-moon table highlights the special features of the panoramic view (wine-growing topography, demarcation of the Vacqueyras appellation area) and relates the places steeped in history (the Montmirail water spa, the hill fort of Durban and archaeological finds) with themed inserts.
14. 15. Vine’s vegetative cycle
In this journey through the seasons, you will follow pictures explaining the growth of the vine and the ripening of the grapes.
16. The working of the soil
Soil maintenance is essential for the good health of the vineyard. Plantations have always been perfectly integrated into the natural environment. The winegrower’s work aims to maintain the balance of the ecosystem and thus guarantee the continuity of his activity. Nature and culture are the foundations of responsible and environmentally friendly agriculture.
17. Dry stone walls
Other elements of the agricultural landscape, the dry-stone walls bear witness to man’s adaptation to the relief and the ingenious reuse of natural materials.
The route ends with the ascent from Les Lecques to the village. You have the possibility of continuing your walk by visiting the botanical path whose starting point is located nearby.