There were some interesting statistics and comparisons in our local paper, the Midi Libre, yesterday morning, which I thought I would share with you. We are in the Hérault, the department that covers most of the Coteaux du Languedoc, except La Clape and Quatourze, and also includes a small part of the Minervois, not to mention the IGP Côtes de Thongue and vast swathes of Pays d’Oc.
The Hérault ranks as the second viticultural department of France, presumably after the Gironde, but the paper didn’t say so, so that is just a guess. 288 of the 343 communes or villages of the Hérault produce wine, with 86,166 hectares of vines in production, which I was fascinated to learn, as somebody who has never watched a football match in her life, equates to 170,000 football pitches. There are 73 wine cooperatives in the Hérault, which account for 70% of the production, balanced by 1300 independent cellars. Viticulture is responsible for 63% of the agricultural turnover of the department, and 48% of the agricultural land, and 15% of the total area of the Hérault.
There are 8500 exploitants viticoles – I guess this means wine growers, both independent and coop members, as opposed to 500 bakers; 900 chemists and 400 cafés, along with 1400 hairdressers.