Camargue sand

‘In the Camargue, our vineyards extend along the sands of the Mediterranean coastline. This coastline was ‘built up’ over the centuries from sandy sediments transported by the Rhône that were taken back up again by sea and wind currents.

This soil’s special texture spared the Sable de Camargue Vineyard from the Phylloxera invasion in the 1860s. Phylloxera is an aphid that attacks the vine’s roots. It was unknown in France until 1868, but it caused terrible damage to vineyards and cut French wine production by half or even two thirds of its usual annual value in just a few years.

Thanks to the absence of Phylloxera, we cultivate an exceptional vineyard, which is unique in the world, made up of ‘own-rooted’, non-grafted, vines. The vineyard produces authentic, uncompromising pre-Phylloxera wine, rich in the minerality that the ‘French roots’ of non-grafted Grenache are perfect for. ’
 

Paul-François Vranken

 
 

The vines’ history

Although growing vines in sand is an ancient practice, the vineyard was expanded between 1874 and 1888, when the Domaine Royal de Jarras was founded. Each year’s harvest was stored in 400 barrels of a unit capacity of 300 hectolitres, and it was reputed to be of the highest quality.

Starting in 1929, southern winemaking entered a difficult period, as the economic crisis took its unfortunate toll. In 1940, the vineyard suffered under the effects of the war and only produced 40,000 hectolitres. The occupying army laid a vast quantity of mines to deter Allied troop landings along the sand banks. The Domaine Royal de Jarras vineyard alone had at least 35,000 mines, which made it impossible to access and maintain the vines. Upon the liberation, they were in a deplorable state.

 
   
 

The harvest

New plots were planted in long rectilinear rows widely spaced apart—and sheltered from the sea winds and spray if necessary—making it easier to use new machinery. The hardest operation of them all was clearly to mechanise grape-picking. In 1965, their research led to the development of a high clearance conveyor 21 metres wide that stretched over nine rows at a time and was manned by 30 people collecting 70 tonnes of grapes per day, making significant progress.
In 1971, the first mechanical harvesters were used. They were developed in partnership with French industry players for full integration.

The grapes are then taken to facilities with a capacity of over 150,000 hectolitres. Starting in 1958, the methods used resulted in a deeper examination of the action of yeast and bacteria, making unnecessary the use of chemicals that could alter the products’ natural characteristics.

Low-temperature fermentation entered into general use starting in 1960.
In 1977, a fermentation process was developed without adding antioxidants before the end of fermentation. Domaine Royal de Jarras was behind a number of technical innovations that resulted in excellent wines.

 
 

Map of domaine de Jarras

Domaine Royal de Jarras covers an area of 806 hectares, with a natural surface area of 429 hectares. It is located on an ancient stretch of coastline that is rich in fossils and made up of ‘grey dunes’. In some parts of the estate, there are many seashells, signs that the area was once a sea or a beach. This biological diversity shows the Domaine Royal de Jarras’ high ecological and environmental quality.

Domaine Royal de Jarras is a haven of peace to animals. In the channels and low areas, 37 fish species have been counted, and 178 bird species have been spotted, 61 of which reproduce on the estate. This amounts to 54% of the bird species that reproduce in the Camargue, one-fifth of French bird species.

The Pink Flamingo, our emblem, also makes its home at Domaine Royal de Jarras. Enjoy a walk through Domaine Royal de Jarras to observe remarkable plant species.

 
   
 

The Jarras herd

The Camargue horses are assumed to be the near-direct descendants of Quaternary period Equus caballus, which were depicted in prehistoric caves in Niaux (Ariège) and Lascaux (Dordogne), and at the foot of the Roche de Solutré (Saône-et-Loire). The species populated primitive Gaul. As human influence spread, these horses retreated to the least accessible parts of the country. Now, the Camargue horses are born and bred in this region, which is an ideal environment for their development.

This region is formed by the Tarascon-Montpellier-Fos triangle, and only horses born and bred in the manade herds—the cradle of the breed—can be called Camargue horses. This breed is highly unique, in terms of its lifestyle, its physical characteristics, and its qualities, and has no other equivalent anywhere in France. It is courageous and highly resistant. It was a loyal companion to the crusaders and still today it runs wild at Domaine Royal de Jarras.

 

Champagne

Provence

Camargue

Portugal

Sparkling Wine

 

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