Ultimate Guide to the Languedoc Roussillon Wine Region

The Languedoc Roussillon Wine Region Agriculture

Thermal waters, pastoral settings that Matisse would have admire­d and a bustling cultural center nearby [source: Woods]. If the Languedoc Roussillon hasn't sold you on its charms already, there's also the stuff you don't see, like the testy earth and vibrant climate of the Mediterranean lowlands -- perfect for thick vines of the Syrah and Grenache grapes, among others [source: Brown].

Agriculture is big business in France, and this area produces about half of the country's wine grapes [source: French-At-A Touch] With an average of 12 hours of sun a day, there's no shortage of light for new buds or the cultivation of peaches and tomatoes [source: Holiday Weather]. The downside of bountiful sun, however, is that overproduction can become a problem. With quality wines coming from other labels, some industry analysts have become critical of the wines of Languedoc [source: Prial].

Grapes need the perfect balance of the right amount of heat and just the right climate to grow. After a summer of growth, farmers begin sampling grapes for flavor in September [source: The Wine Rack Shop]. Harvest begins then, and if you'd like to dive right in a la Lucille Ball, fear not! With a variety of harvest tours and wine tastings in the area, it's possible for visitors to jump right in to help [source: Vinetude].

Traditionally, harvest once brought out all of the neighbors in the area to help with the collection of the grapes, but as competition and technology has increased, this tradition has changed [source: Lem].