has always been the land of vines and winegrowers: the remains of
a Roman-time cellar were found in Tavel, still containing great amounts
of grape pips, proving the importance of the wine industry at that
The reputation of Tavel is centuries-old: Ronsard, Philippe le Bel,
the Popes of Avignon, François 1er and Louis XIV loved and
praised this wine for its qualities. A quality that winegrowers have
always sustained forcefully through the ages; thus, on the 8 April
1716 the consuls of Tavel asked that authorities forbid any wild import
of grapes that would harm the reputation of Tavel wine . Then,
on 10 September 1737, a royal decree authorized Tavel to be part of
those villages to bear the CDR (Côte du Rhône) seal on
its barrels, a seal which was the first to define an appellation covering
several districts .
In those days vineyards covered 375 hectares in Tavel and were the
main source of income for the village of about 200 families. A great
period of expansion followed, and in 1819 the Vineyard reached 721
hectares. But then, the phylloxera disease almost destroyed the whole
vineyard: from 800 hectares in 1868, the vineyard dropped to 50 sickly,
and barely exploitable hectares, in 1870. The village population itself
dropped from 1314 inhabitants before the phylloxera 611 inhabitants
Villagers tried to diversify their activities: raising silkworms,
making olive oil, small-scale agriculture or, in some cases, trying
to get hired in the surrounding phosphate mines. Hopefully, this only
lasted a few years, and by 1887 Tavel winegrowers once again believed
in their vineyards.
1887 was the year when the first American stumps were bought and transplanted
in Tavel: they represented the only efficient response to the phylloxera
plague . By 1914, the Vineyard reached 195 hectares, then 260 in
1926 and 960 today. The energy developed by winegrowers can still
be found today in the defense of Tavel wines, its reputation and lands
of production. In 1902, an association was created grouping owner
winegrowers in Tavel to protect the wines of Tavel, to preserve its
genuineness and typical character. In 1928, this association started
a long struggle to obtain an appellation that would define the vineyard
lands of Tavel; in 1936 Tavel was one of the first wines to obtain
the AOC acknowledgment.
most inhabitants of Tavel perpetrate their efforts for better quality,
trying to use as few pesticides as possible to preserve the health
of man and environment: Tavel is among the first pioneer villages
to have developed reasoned agriculture .
Today, Tavel wines are found in all the wine menus of restaurants
that have obtained three stars in the famous Michelin guide. Tavel
wines export well and are found on all the tables of wine connoisseurs
throughout the world.
La trame du vignoble, page 104, Jacques Maby, éditions A.Barthélemy,
Part of this historic corps of Côtes du Rhône we find:
Tavel, Lirac, Saint Laurent des Arbres, Saint Géniès
de Comolas, then later: Orsan, Chusclan et Codolet.
The phylloxera is a louse that lives on the roots of a plant and quickly
Reasoned agriculture is a recent method to fight against disease and
parasites in vineyards: it consists in observing the lifecycle of
parasites closely, to determine just the right amount of pesticides
to be used at the right moment. Pheromone capsules are part of this
Les vins du Rhône et de la Méditerranée, aux Editions
Montalba, by a group of famous writers amongst whom : Jean Giono,
Marie Mauron, Henri Bosco et Pierre Charnay, 1978.
La trame du vignoble, Jacques Maby, Editions Barthélémy,
Tavel sur la Côte du Rhône, Jean Reboul, Editions Lacour,
Tavel Cité du Premier Rosé de France.