The wines from Sable de Camargue have officially been recognised as a protected designation of origin (AOC). The regulation was published in the Official Journal of the European Union on October 18, 2023.
As confirmed by the National Institute of Origin and Quality (INAO) in its press release, this is an acknowledgment of the know-how developed by winemakers in the Camargue for their Gris and Gris de Gris wines, which now enjoy Europe-wide protection. The wines are all produced from the Grenache Gris grape variety. Previously, since 2011, they had been classified as IGP (protected geographical indication) Sable de Camargue.
A small, but ambitious appellation
The AOC covers 3,000 hectares (about 7,400 acres) of vineyards that are on average only one metre above sea level in the distinctive coastal lagoons and salt gardens and are farmed by 89 winemakers, with an annual production of about 200,000 hectolitres of wine. 95% of the vineyards are now organically farmed, are in the process of conversion, or are certified High Environmental Value (HVE). In the AOC, the use of herbicides is prohibited across the entire area.
The production area of the new AOC extends over 14 coastal municipalities in the departments of Hérault, Gard, and Bouches-du-Rhône. The vines are exclusively planted on the sandy and calcareous soils of the Rhône Delta and the associated coastal strip, with the sand content being more than 80%.
As early as the 7th century, wine was cultivated in this region by Benedictine monks, and the area was referred to as the "vineyards of the sands." ITP