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Ultimate Guide to the Rhone Valley Wine Region

Rhone Valley Wine Region Agriculture

The Rhône Valley wine region is divided into two main sections, the north­ern Rhône Valley and the southern Rhône Valley.

Northern Rhône consistently has a climate of severe winters coupled with warm summers. It is colder than southern Rhône. The differing climates let the two sub-regions specialize in the growth of different grapes. Southern Rhône's warmer climate has mild winters and downright hot summers, making it a more Mediterranean-like climate. The topography in this southern area varies from the peaks of the mountains to the lows of the valleys [source: Enterprises Rhône-Alpes International]. The diverse landscape accommodates a wide variety of grapes.

The geographical division extends to the winemaking as well. The diversity between the north and the south exists not only in how the grapes are grown but also in how they are used in wines. Though the Rhône Valley wine region as a whole is most known for its Syrah-filled red wines, the reds are most popular in the north. The consistent landscape and season changes throughout the area seem to translate to a more consistent style of winemaking. Northern Rhône wines, which are generally reds, often use just one type of grape [source: Di Wine Taste].

The south, meanwhile, uses its variety of topography to influence its style of winemaking. Not only are many different wines made because so many different grapes can be cultivated, but the blending of landscapes has led to a blending of grapes as well. One wine, the Châteauneuf du Pape, uses 13 different types of grapes [source: Di Wine Taste]!