The Bergerac Region

A Bergerac Region video ==>

"Bergerac" - part of Aquitaine; Duchess Eleanor of Aquitaine married King Henry II of England in 1154, and the area became an English possession, and the cornerstone of the so-called Angevin Empire. Aquitaine remained English until the end of the Hundred Years’ War in 1453. During the three hundred years that the region was ruled by the Kings of England, links between Aquitaine and England strengthened, with large quantities of wine produced in south-western France being exported to London, Southampton, and other English ports. In fact, so much wine and other produce was being exported to London and sold that by the start of the Hundred Years' War the profits from Aquitaine was the principal source of the English King's income per annum...

As a further link with the past, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is also the "Dame of Bergerac", a title inherited since 1345 through being the Duchess of Lancaster.

Today the Bergerac wine-growing region is a sub-region of South-West France, located around the town of Bergerac in the Dordogne department, and comprises 93 communes. It is located immediately east of the Bordeaux wine region, effectively an extension of St. Emilion along the Dordogne river. 1,200 wine-growers cultivate an area of 12,000 hectares (30,000 acres). The Bergerac area contains 13 Appellations d'origine contrôlées ("AOC's") for red, white (dry, medium-sweet and sweet), and rosé wines.

The Bergerac vineyards extend across the southern part of the Dordogne department. Bergerac soil also features excellent drainage as a result of its proximity to the Dordogne River.

The cultivation of vines began in the country district of Bergeracois with the arrival of the Romans. The fall of the Roman Empire had few adverse effects on wine-growing, since the Visigoths, who became the country's new masters, were great wine drinkers. The arrival of the Saracens and the subsequent Viking raids dealt a severe blow to wine-growing, however. The Muslims ordered the uprooting of all vines and this, combined with the threat of danger from the northern invaders, caused communities to withdraw into themselves and killed off all trade.

The Bergerac area re-developed its wine industry in the thirteenth century, and has exported wines since 1254, when it began shipping its vintages to England based on special privileges granted by Henry III of England. These dispensations gave the Bergerac community the right to assembly, special tax exemptions and the right to ship their wines to Bordeaux unhindered.

A 1733 bottle of Bergerac wine displayed in the Rijks Museum, Holland - many people migrated from the Bergerac region to Holland during the French Religious Wars at the end of the 16th Century, and trade flourished between the two nations thereafter. This bottle (and many others) was recovered from the shipwreck of t'Fleigent Herte.

In 1936, when the boundaries of the Bordeaux wine-growing area were being drawn up, it was decided they should match those of the Gironde department. Bergerac and St. Emilion wines, which had long been sold under the generic name, Bordeaux, had to forge a new and separate identity overnight. The Libourne merchants who had traditionally sold these wines, now gave priority to wines with a Bordeaux label before even attempting to find a market for their other wines.

Bordeaux used its position, downriver and near the mouth of the Garonne river, to give its own wines priority over barrels of Bergerac wines being transported on freight-carrying "gabarres" (river barges) - hence remains better known.. Bergerac wine quality is deemed as good as Bordeaux, but 20-30% of the price per hectare.

Bergerac Wine - Quality Wine with a long tradition

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