The Centre of France

The Auvergne’s vineyards have a long history. Saint-Pourçain-sur-Sioule is one of the oldest vineyards in France.

In the 17th and 18th Centuries, wines from ‘Arnaison’ (Renaison in the côte-roannaise) were shipped to Paris on the Loire River and Briare Canal.

In 1895, when phylloxera arrived, Puy-de-Dôme was the third largest French wine region with 44,000 hectares.

The red wines are a blend of Gamay and Pinot.

Around Moulins (Allier ‘department’/region), the Saint-Pourçain wine area (600 ha) two-thirds of which is produced by the cooperative cellars: ‘Union des Vignerons’ or Growers’ Union (130 members). Worth noting for Saint-Pourçain: the use of the Tressaillier variety, only found in this area.

Around Roanne (Loire ‘department’/region), 180 hectares in the AOC area Côte-Roannaise.

On the basalt soils of the Forez hills around Montbrison (Loire), 200 ha in the Côtes-du-Forez region, 80% of which is made by the Forez winegrowers’ coop.

Around Clermont-Ferrand (Puy-de-Dôme) the Côtes-d'Auvergne region.

There are 5 distinct ‘cru’ sites:

  • Boudes (reds)
  • Chanturgue (the wine for coq-au-vin)
  • Châteaugay
  • Corent (rosé)
  • Madargue

There are also Vins de pays (VDP) from Urfé, Bourbonnais and Puy-de-Dôme.

What’s on


Wine show and competition: last weekend in February

Wine fair: last weekend of August

‘Ban des Vendanges’ (when growers are given the official go-ahead to pick): one Sunday in September (varies according to the vintage)

Launch of the ‘Ficelle’: first Saturday in December. The ‘Ficelle’ (literally piece of string or officer’s stripes) is the annual cuvee (particular blend) decorated by an artist.

Côte Roannaise

Wine fair showing unfinished wines from vat: first Saturday in November in Saint-Haon-le-Châtel

Côte Roannaise springtime: April

Crowning of the ‘Chevaliers de l’ordre du Vieux Pressoir’ (Knights of the Old Press): Monday of ‘Pentecost’ (day after Whit Sunday)

Winegrowers’ blogs

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