Meet Wendy Gedney, our wine guru
Wine teacher Wendy Gedney is Creme de Languedoc’s resident wine expert, having passionately penned much of the content in this ‘About Languedoc Wine’ section of the site. Wendy has an enormous love of wines of the Languedoc-Roussillon, and we’re absolutely thrilled that she has agreed to work with Creme-de-Languedoc.com to share so much of her knowledge and enthusiasm for Languedoc wines with our site’s visitors.
Wendy is a qualified wine teacher and holds some of the highest qualifications attainable in the world of wine, including the WSET Diploma and the highly regarded Languedoc-Roussillon Masters Certificate. Few know more about the wines of this exciting region than she does, and via her wine tours and bespoke tastings conducted by her company ‘Vin En Vacances’ she takes hundreds of visitors each year to hidden vineyards off the beaten track, to discover the passion and individuality that the region’s extraordinary wine makers put into their wines. You can find out more about Vin En Vacances’ wine tours in our Languedoc Wine Tours & Walks page, and their bespoke tastings in our Languedoc Wine Tasting page.
Languedoc-Roussillon is currently one of the world’s most interesting wine making regions (Master of Wine Matthew Stubbs describes it as “the most exciting and spectacular place to make wine on Earth”), and its huge range of wines are widely acknowledged by critics and experts as worthy of attention, awards and accolades.
The only problem – if having a huge range of wines to sample can be called a problem – is getting to grips with it all. With red, white, rosé, sweet or sparkling, plus varietals, AOCs, Vin de Pays, single cépage wines and blends to choose from, where do you start?
Crème de Languedoc can help you find your way through the wine maze. We’ve identified some of the best places you can go, while visiting the region, to get yourself acquainted with Languedoc-Roussillon’s best wines and producers.
We’ve found something for everyone, from casual tourist to wanabee wine connoisseur or well-informed wine buff.
These are places you can visit to pick up wine tips, have a fun day out (with or without the kids – we’ve flagged up some child-friendly options too), do a tasting, take a tour of the cellars, book yourself in for a professional wine education course… or just stay the night in B&B or gîte accommodation within a winery - with bottles of the owner’s wines thrown in for good measure, bien sûr!
For those not in Languedoc-Roussillon or planning a trip to the region any time soon, there is plenty of background reading within our Wine section. You'll find links to all the pages to the right, including the history of Languedoc-Roussillon wine, a run down of the grape varieties grown here, as well as a link to our Wine Tasting page in the Activities Section.
Welcome to the ‘wild south’
How times have changed. Quantity has been sacrificed for quality in the last 10 years, with scores of adventurous wine makers buying up vineyards that once only produced wine for mass ‘co-ops’, and re-planting them with more interesting grape varieties, grown and blended in ever-more novel ways. Languedoc is no longer the world’s wine factory (Chile and other regions now produce more), and the quality of the wines produced here has soared through the roof. In fact, Languedoc is now thought to be one of the most interesting and dynamic wine regions in the world - with passionate wine makers from South Africa, Australia, the UK, the Americas and other parts of France, all converging on what is now the ‘wild south’ to make wines of great subtlety and complexity.
Languedoc-Roussillon wine facts and figures
Ten things you never knew about Languedoc-Roussillon and its wines
- Languedoc-Roussillon is the world’s largest wine-producing region.
- Languedoc’s wine production exceeds that of Bordeaux, of Australia, and that of South Africa and Chile combined
- Languedoc-Roussillon’s wine represents a third of the volume of all French output (in 2006, the region produced 15,750,000 hectolitres of wine, which accounted for 34 per cent of total French output).
- The region comprises some 290,000 hectares of vines, and its annual average production equates to 2,133 million bottles of wine.
- Today, Languedoc-Roussillon’s wine production is all about quality rather than quantity: in just under 20 years, Languedoc has actively reduced its production from an annual average of 29 million hectolitres to 16 million.
Brits love Languedoc’s wines: around 30 per cent of wine produced in Languedoc-Roussillon region is exported, of which some 17 per cent is sold to the UK (the second largest market after Germany).
There are some thirty appellations and crus included within the Languedoc-Roussillon region, including white, red, rosé, sparkling and sweet wines.
- There are roughly 2,800 producers in Languedoc-Roussillon; between them, they make around two billion bottles of wine a year.
- It takes about two and a half pounds (1.13 kilos) of grapes to make a bottle of Languedoc-Roussillon wine.
- Generally, a bottle of wine from Languedoc-Roussillon contains 750 millilitres (25 fluid ounces); it takes 12 bottles of Languedoc wine to make up a case, and there are approximately 85 calories in a four ounce glass of red Languedoc-Roussillon wine.
Is Languedoc wine worth delving in to? It wasn’t that long ago that the answer to that question would probably have been a ‘no’. Languedoc was, until recently, the world’s largest wine-producing region, but most of its wine was of pretty middling quality, cheerful ‘plonk’ produced for the mass market (or for vinegar), and certainly nothing that the French or anyone else took seriously.
Before you head off...
In this section of the website, we introduce you to the basics of Languedoc wine. We take you through the history of wine here (from the first Roman vines to the phyloxeria epdemic and ensuing ‘wine-rush’), explain the differences between Languedoc’s very varied wine regions, we get to grips with Languedoc’s fascinating ‘terroir’ (the mysterious combination of soil, sun and aspect), guide you through the region’s growing list of grape varieties, we attempt to explain France’s head-dizzying certification system, and lastly give you our hot tips on tracking down and buying the best wines the region has to offer.
We hope that armed with some of the knowledge contained in these pages, your trips out wine tasting or exploring some off-the-beaten-track wine domain will be all the more interesting and rewarding.
READ ON about the history of Languedoc wine >
BOOK a Languedoc wine holiday, tour or course >