Since ancient times, the Rhone Valley has always been the preferred route between the Mediterranean world, Nothern Europe and the Atlantic. Already planted by the Gallics, the Rhone vineyards have benefited from the knowledge of the Greeks. However, the Romans were the one who developed the vineyard and the wine business at their arrival in 125 b-C. The work they accomplished helped promoting the Vienne vineyard, the very rugged slopes of the Right Bank and later the one on the Left Bank of the Rhone river. The work of the Church allowed to keep the patrimony of the Romans despite the dormant phase succeeding the fall of the Empire. The popes, settled in Avignon from 1309-1418, gave back the nobleness to the Rhone wines thanks to their quality requirements. The 17th and 18th centuries were highlighted by innovation in the Rhone viticulture. In 1650, the local winemakers created a proper rule to guarantee the authenticity of origin and preserve the character of the wines. In the mid-19th century, the slope of the Rhone Valley become the Côtes-du-Rhône, officialised in 1937 with the obtention of the AOC.
The vineyard of the Rhône Valley covers 77,175 ha and counts more than 6,000 facilities spreading from Vienne (North) to Avignon (South). We distinguish the Northern Rhône Valley, where the climate is continental, from the Southern Rhône Valley, where the climate is mediterranean and the Mistral blows. The Nothern area gathers the famous terroirs of Condrieu, Côte-Rôtie, Hermitage, Saint-Joseph, Crozes-Hermitage, Chateau Grillet, Cornas and Saint-Péray. The terroirs of Châteauneuf-du-Pape and other Gigondas or Côtes-du-Rhône AOCs are located in the Southern side of the Rhône Valley.
In the Northern Rhône Valley, the only red variety allowed is the Syrah and for the white, Roussane, Marsanne and Viognier. In the South, the varieties are more diverse and one can find Grenache noir, Carignan, Cinsault and Mourvèdre in red wines, Grenache blanc, Clairette and Picpoul in white wines.