In May, during the Ascension weekend, 100 wine growers display their wines in the largest open air wine fair in the whole of southern France.
Under their tents, they settle for 3 days, Thursday until Saturday, they prepare theirs smiles and good humour to welcome the passers by or repeat customers. They look up to the sky to check the weather and fill up the ice cube boxes to serve their white wines at the proper temperature. Coming from small or large estates, they pride themselves of their products and invest their energy in explaining the way they select the vines and choose the grapes to make their wines.
This fair is a festival of colours, in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, a very pleasant moment that has become a must do event throughout the years. The festival starts with a parade of the wine guilds or brotherhoods and a presentation of the exhibitors. During the fair, a music band performs to entertain the visitors; an historical reenactment on wine making in the 19th century is also proposed. You can taste wine of course and also buy screw drivers, aprons, ice bags designed for the event and have a meal on the quays.
This fair is a good occasion to meet the producers in one place and taste several wines: you buy one tasting glass and have the possibility to taste 3 wines. Sometimes the exhibitors will allow you to taste more wines and invite you to use the spittoons of course.
As the fair takes place until Saturday, it is possible to go to your favourite wine estate on Sunday or during your holidays. There are about 90 wine cellars, domains, wineries open to the public in this part of Languedoc. Drive on the smaller roads through the vineyards and find the way to the wine cellar. The landscapes are a contrast to the seaside!
The winemakers all have a different history. Some were born here and inherited the vineyards of their parents, some had a career in Paris or London and decided to start a new life in the south. Another came from Australia to do the grape harvest and then decided to study to be a oenologist and works in a famous wine domain around Pézenas… Many stories, one passion: wine.
Wine is an old story in this part of France. The first vines were planted 2600 years ago by the Romans and thrived up today. Mass production in the 19th and first half of the 20th century gave Languedoc a bad reputation of cheap and poor wines, but this trend changed. In the 1970s, steps were taken to improve the quality of wines. Gradually Languedoc’s reputation improved. Nowadays you find our wines in noted wine guides. To name but a few: Allegria, Domaine de Daurion, Chartreuse de Mougères, Domaine St Hilaire, Villa Delmas, Domaine le Fesc.