The more than 800 kilometers long Rhône is one of the most important wine rivers in the world. Like everyone else waters Does it exert a positive effect on viticulture or creates the conditions for this by forming sometimes very steep valley slopes. The river rises at the Furka Pass as a glacier stream in the Swiss Uri Alps, flows through the canton under the name Rotten Wallis and Lake Geneva, crosses the French border, turns south from Lyon and flows south of Arles-sur-Rhône into the Mediterranean Sea. The Greeks founded in the 6th century BC. The city of Marseille (Massilia), situated at the mouth of the Rhône, brought the grapevine in the valley. Also the Celts (Gauls) already operated viticulture in today's two appellations Côte Rôtie and Hermitage (Crozes-Hermitage). Allegedly, they taught the Romans the art of finishing of the vines.
The Roman scholar Pliny the Elder (23-79) reports of a grape variety Allobrogica, which was supposedly cultivated here by the Celts tribe of the Allobroger. At the beginning of the second century, the area became part of the Roman province of Gallia Narbonensis. Roman viticulture testify to many finds of amphorae, Statues of the wine god Bacchus and mosaics with wine motifs. Many exhibits are exhibited in the "Musée de la Civilization Gallo-Romaine" in Lyon. At the beginning of the 14th century, the Papsthof was moved to Avignon, and from 1309 to 1377 seven recognized popes ruled here. This gave a strong impetus to viticulture, because most of the wine on the papal table came from the Rhone valley. The name Châteauneuf-du-Pape derived from the castle Pope John XXII. (1245-1334), which he had built as a summer residence north of Avignon.
The Rhône wine-growing region or "La Vallée du Rhône" is understood to mean the approximately 200-kilometer route from Lyon to the south to Avignon in south-eastern France. On both sides of the Rhône and its tributaries are about 80,000 hectares of vineyards, over the six départements Ardèche. Drôme. Gard, Loire, Rhône and Vaucluse are distributed. But only a small area in the north is in the Rhône department and, surprisingly, it accounts for 70% of the northern neighbor's production Burgundy, Over 150 kilometers, the Rhône runs parallel with the Loire which gave the eastern region its name. The two rivers are only about 50 kilometers apart on this route, but flow in opposite directions.