Fronton Wine Region
If wine forms the body of France, the Fronton wine region is surely the country’s soul. Thought to be one of the oldest wine-growing areas in the country, the region’s first vines were planted by the Romans. Famous largely for its red wines, but with a 12 percent rosé production, Fronton sees 2,000-odd hours of annual sunshine per year—perfect for growing grapes.
Between the rivers Tarn and Garonne in Southwest France, the Fronton wine region is far from the largest and best-known in the country, covering just 5,931 acres (2,400 hectares). (By comparison, Bordeaux comprises more than 271,816 acres, or, 110,000 hectares.) What Fronton prides itself for, though, is quality. Yields here are low, and the winemakers steer away from mass production. The terraces create an undulating landscape and are relatively low altitude, sitting between 328 feet (100 meters) and 656 feet (200 meters) above sea level. Guided tours leave from nearby Toulouse.
Things to know before you go
Wines have been grown in Fronton since Roman times, but they only gained international recognition when the taxes on wine exported through Bordeaux were lifted.
Fronton is an appellation for red and rosé wines, largely made from Négrette grapes, which are endemic to the area.
Stock up at the Fronton Wine and Tourist Centre (Maison des Vins et du Tourisme de Fronton). Over 150 varieties of wine are available here, both for tasting and purchase.
How to get there
The Fronton wine region is best reached via Toulouse (which has an international airport). From there, it’s just 30 minutes by road. We presume you’re going to taste wine, so booking a tour from Toulouse is best. Many tours include transportation to multiple wine estates and the Maison des Vins, with expert tidbits on how the wine is made.
When to get there
Visit for the annual Fronton Wine Festival in late August. If you stick around after the festival, you might see the vendange (wine harvest). The vineyards are a hive of activity as workers cut and sort the grapes ready for maceration. Many young people work the entire season, traveling from one vineyard to the next, and some even hemisphere-hop to keep the work rolling year-round.
Sundays are for wine!
For several weeks during July and August, a different wine estate in the Fronton region opens its doors to the public every Sunday. Discover centuries-old châteaux and the intricacies of making the perfect wine, and enjoy tastings in the wine cellars and among the vines. Many wine estates organize workshops and guided walks, too. The full schedule is announced close to the time and is available on the Fronton Wine and Tourist Centre’s website.
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- Happy Forest
- St. Sernin Basilica (Basilique Saint-Sernin)
- Place du Capitole
- Les Abattoirs Museum
- Garonne River
- Basilica of Our Lady of the Daurade (Notre-Dame de la Daurade)
- Museum of Augustins (Musée des Augustins)
- Pont Neuf
- Toulouse Cathedral (Cathedrale St-Etienne)
- Space City (Cite de l'Espace)
- Albi Cathedral
- Toulouse-Lautrec Museum (Musée Toulouse-Lautrec)
- Puymartin Castle (Chateau de Puymartin)