The more than 800 km long Rhone is one of the most important wine rivers in the world. Like everyone waters it has a positive effect on viticulture or creates the conditions for this by forming sometimes very steep valley slopes. The river rises on 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. The Greeks founded in the 6th century BC Chr. The city of Marseille (Massilia) located at the mouth of the Rhone and brought the grapevine in the valley. Also the Celts (Gauls) already practiced viticulture in today's two appellations Côte Rôtie and Hermitage (Crozes-Hermitage). They supposedly taught the Romans the art of finishing the vines.
The Roman scholar Pliny the Elder (23-79) reports of a grape variety Allobrogica, which was allegedly cultivated here by the Allobroger Celtic tribe. At the beginning of the second century, the area became part of the Roman province of Gallia Narbonensis. Roman viticulture attests to many finds from 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 papal court was moved to Avignon, from 1309 to 1377 seven recognized popes ruled here. This gave a strong impetus to viticulture, because the majority of the wine on the papal table came from the Rhône Valley. The name Châteauneuf-du-Pape was derived from the castle Pope John XXII. (1245-1334), which he had built as a summer residence north of Avignon.
The Rhône or “La Vallée du Rhône” wine-growing region 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 around 80,000 hectares of vineyards that span the six departments Ardèche. Drôme. Gard, Loire, Rhone and Vaucluse are distributed. But only a small area in the far north is in the Rhône department, and surprisingly, this comes from 70% of the production of the northern neighbor Burgundy, The Rhône runs parallel to the for over 150 kilometers Loire, which gave the region to the east its name. The two rivers are only about 50 kilometers apart on this route, but flow in the opposite direction.