Leading the way
Saint-Drézéry is a village whose history and development are intimately linked to viticulture. Covering 1047 hectares, over 800 were already under vines before the phyloxera crisis. Achieving VDQS status in 1951 and one of the early terroirs recognized in the Coteaux du Languedoc, in 2014 Saint Drézéry is on the way to becoming a cru in its own right.
In the Middle Ages
In the Middle Ages Sint-Drézéry was a priory owned by the bishopric of Maguelone. In 1520 the land registers indicated that cultivated land consisted of 13.9 hectares and 28 producers. By 1688 this had increased to 35.2 hectares and 92 producers, then to 171 hectares in 1789. By the mid 18th century, Saint Drézéry wines were recognized and well regarded. In 1748, a report by Jean Benoit Grangent, the inspector of spirits at Sète, emphasized ‘that the wines of Saint-Christol, Saint-Drézéry and Assas are much sought after’.
The Saint-Drézéry brand
Determined to defend its reputation, the Saint-Drézéry consuls placed a request for brand recognition with the States of Languedoc so as to ‘distinguish the wines of this cru from all other foreign wine’. The result was the creation of the Saint-Drézéry brand name which would become the appellation’s distinctive emblem.
In 1770, the report of an enquiry from the Montpellier diocese added ‘one must not confuse everyday wines with those few that are privileged by the nature of their terroir. Wines from Saint-Drézéry sell for as much as 250 pounds per muid, whilst those from Saint-George only up to 200 pounds…’
The VDQS label
Out of the total land area of 1047 hectares, over 800 were given over to cultivating vines before the phyloxera crisis. The reputation of Saint-Drézéry wines continued to grow and even, after the 19th century, they were exported. The 27 June 1945 marked the formation of the Syndicat de Défense des Vins de Saint-Drézéry and on 17 May 1951 the wines were elevated to VDQS (Vin Délimité́ de Qualité́ Supérieure) status. Thanks to its status and reputation, in 1960 the area played an important role in the creation of the VDQS Coteaux du Languedoc.
The Coteaux du Languedoc family
At its height in the 1970s, the Syndicat’s seventy members were producing over 3000 hectolitres. In 1985, Saint-Drézéry joined the Coteaux du Languedoc family with the appellation Coteaux du Languedoc-Saint-Drézéry. At the time, the Cave was producing 4000 hectolitres part of which was sold in bottles (between 150,000 and 200,000). But then came the 1992 crash and throughout the region grapes were dug up. Having operated for 53 years the Cave Cooperative of Saint-Drézéry closed its doors. Only four privately owned producers remained.
The Syndicat de Défense des Vins de Saint-Drézéry was reborn in 2009, with new enthusiasm and the creation of new domaines (château Montel, domaine de Saint Jean de l’Arbousier, domaine de Valinières, Mas de Carrat…) and, in 1990, a true driving force, the Château Puech Haut.
En route to becoming a cru in its own right
Thoroughly confident, the Syndicat is now made up of 7 independent producers. Its exceedingly active members are determined to see the cru area grow and also that their red wines should be part of a communal cru in its own right.