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Allegrini 2018
URBAN VINEYARDS

The “Clos de la Vigne du Palais des Pape” in Avignon is part of the Urban Vineyards Association

Two popes planted the vineyard between the 13th and 14th centuries. It symbolizes the city's illustrious past and preserves seome native French vines

Two popes, Benedict XII and Clement VI, decided to dedicate one of the most panoramic and privileged places in their palace to the fascinating art of viticulture and wine production. They had the vineyard planted in less than twenty years, between the 13th and 14th centuries - as evidence of its presence in history on the tables of power. Today, this strip of land symbolizes the famous past of Avignon and has a double value for visitors. The first, aesthetic, because of the splendid view of the historic city from the top of the Rocher des Doms, the famous rocky spur located on the right bank of the Rhone river. The second is knowledge, due to the opportunity it offers to learn about the different French varieties. There are about 540 vines planted, and among these, ten native vines: the reds, Grenache Noir, Syrah, Carignan, Cinsault, Mourvèdre, Marselan and Counoise, and the whites Grenache Blanc, Marsanne and Roussanne. This is the “Clos de la Vigne du Palais des Papes” in Avignon, the only intra-muros AOC vineyard in France in the Gothic masterpiece that was the official seat of part of the College of Cardinals. Now, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the ninth urban vineyard to be registered in the U.V.A., the Urban Vineyards Association, and the international association that brings together surviving vineyards within the city centers. The Association was founded in 2019 from the initiative of Luca Balbiano who manages Villa della Regina, and its vineyard, in Turin.
Avignon is world famous for the historical events that intricately link it to its papal history. It is less known that a picturesque vineyard, whose history began in the 13th century, is kept inside the Palace of the Popes. The Clos de la Vigne is set in a magnificent urban landscape. It is owned by the city of Avignon and, since the first rows of vines were planted in 1997, it has been managed by the Compagnons des Côtes du Rhône in collaboration with the Lycée professionnel vineyards of Orange. The “Vignes des Pape” has now joined the “Vigna della Regina” in Turin, the “Vigneti Senarum” Vinea di Siena, the Clos Montmartre, the Vigneti della Laguna and San Francesco della Vigna, in Venice, the “Vigna di Leonardo” in Milan, the “Vigna del Gallo” in Palermo and the Clos de Canuts in Lyon, in the U.V.A. The Association has thus added another site of immense cultural value, giving new impetus to the promotion of rural, historical and landscape heritage of which these city vineyards are testimony. It is also a form of fundamental opportunity to develop tourism that connects culture, food and wine. “We are happy and proud that the Clos is associated with promoting the unique heritage of urban vineyards”, said Louis Buzançais, president of Les Compagnons, “we fully support the approach adopted by our Italian friends to celebrate wine culture through promoting these very particular sites. We share the desire and enthusiasm for the establishment of this network and, to use a term that is dear to us, to ensure that ‘man talks to man’”. “The Clos of the Palace des Papes is a place that has an inestimable value. One of the most wonderful aspects of the U.V.A. is that very often the vineyards that are part of it have a rich and memorable history. Their origins almost take on the traits of legends, where the main players are great kings, brilliant inventors or daring political projects. Welcoming the Avignon vineyard into the Association is an honor and a further step towards the internationalization of the project”, said Luca Balbiano.

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