On the Road with the Grape Guy

The Loire Valley: A Closer Look

14 Nov 2022

(April 2022) ... Over the next week or two I will be posting pictures and a series on my trip to the Loire in April 2022 ... It has taken me a while to figure out how to best present all the information – and maybe, the best way, is by date. The trip was full each day with a morning themed Masterclass, an afternoon excursion and an evening “out”. The time was jam-packed with wines to taste and things to do.

The Loire touts itself as a place with "The world's most diverse range of wines" and from the many tastings one could really see the diversity in grapes, wine styles and flavours. The focus for our purposes were on the Nantes, the Anjou-Saumur and Haut-Poitou, and The Touraine vineyards.

The Loire Valley ... Big picture by the numbers:

The Loire is 51 appellations and designations of origin taking up 56,900 hectares of vines, 63% of which have some form of environmental accreditation. They have five regions, 15 departments, and 800 km of wine trails. They are the third largest French wine region by AOP volume. If you exclude Champagne, they have the biggest vineyard area devoted sparkling wine production. They are number one in vineyard area for white wine and second for rosé. And they have over 2000 years of history in wine making. There are 24+ varieties of which the top five are Cabernet Franc, Chenin Blanc, Melon de Bourgogne and Sauvignon Blanc. And while Cabernet Franc is the top grape, red wine makes up only 19% of their production. 45% is white (both dry and sweet), 26% is Rosé and 10% sparkling. They have 3,600 wine growers, 430 negoientes, and 21 co-op wineries.
280 million bottles are sold across 160 countries.

Interesting to note that nine bottles of Loire Valley wine gets sold every second; and the top markets for these wines are the UK, the USA, Germany, Belgium and Canada.

Diving deeper by region...

The Nantes:Nantes
82% White / 12% Rosé / 6% Red
$490 growers / one co-op / 80 negotiates
40 million bottles sold - 80% in France / 20% exported



AnjouThe Anjou-Saumur / Haut-Poitou:
46% Rosé / 14% Red / 20% Sparkling / 18% White
1100 growers / 5 Co-ops / 90 negotiates
129 million bottles sold - 80% in France / 20% exported



The Touraine:Touraine
37% Red / 36% White /16% Sparkling /11% Rosé
1180 growers / 10 Co-ops / 25 negotiations
57 million bottles sold - 78% in France / 22% exported

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