Pégairolles de l’Escalette is a particularly
original vineyard. Terraces have contributed to stabilizing
the scree that comes from the Larzac and the soil has been
improved through arduous work of stone removal. This titanic
undertaking, carried through with the strength of bare hands
by generations of peasant-builders, has left its mark on
the entire landscape.
horizontality of the little walls is made with vertical
piles of stones called clapas, creating a geometric meshing
of the slopes. The terraced vineyard is a brake to the mechanization
of grape-harvesting and mass production. Here, work in the
vineyard has remained mainly traditional. The addition of
very small plots of land guarantees the production of naturally-produced
wines, without conceding to fashion and trends.
The winery was created in 1927 by a small group of wine-growers.
It was one of the first wineries to be built in the 20th
century in the Hérault. Already present in the valley
in 1795, in 1885 the vineyard covered 6 hectares and by
1894 it increased to 72 hectares.
In 1929, a red wine from the winery received a High Diploma
of Honour at the Lodève competition-exhibition. The
winery was extended in 1939, in 1969, then in 1991, but
in terms of building surfaces, production and number of
wine-growers it remains the smallest winery in the Hérault.
It will celebrate its 100th year in 2027 !
The wine-producers of Pégairolles cultivate their
small plots under no recognised label; but it is now more
than 10 years since they have become aware of their environment.
They have adopted “sustainable viniculture”
in their use of chemicals and weed-killers, not much used
as the valley is very windy and does not allow mildew (vine
disease) to develop, and the high altitude is not conducive
to the disease called “vert de la grappe” (rottenness),
which is non existent.
Finally, the region is covered by 10 to 20 centimetres of
scree from the Larzac (small lime-stone) which naturally
protects the soil from weeds. Nowadays, the President of
the winery, Patrick COMPAN, supervises around thirty wine-producers
who cultivate 70 hectares giving 3 500 hectolitres
These same wine-producers get together every year to store
960 bottles in the Grotte de Labeil (caves) for ageing,
and remove as much from the previous year. It’s a
painstaking task as the cave is only accessible on foot