Languedoc is known to be the biggest wine-producing region of the world. You cannot visit Languedoc without a visit to a wine domain. Well, you can, but why would you?! If you want to see the largest subterranean wine warehouse of South of France, Terra Vinéa is where you should go.
Subterranean wine domain
A beautiful route through the “arrière-pays” of Corbières brings you to Portel-des-Corbières, where you can find the wine domain of Terra Vinéa. I have seen them advertised around and about, and I was wondering if it would be worth a visit. The ad looked kind of touristy and kitsch, so I wasn’t too sure about it. But now and then you have to try something new, so off our little family went.
I checked out the website and read that you can only visit the underground cave with a guide. I didn’t pay attention to the visiting hours, but we were lucky and arrived just in time for the 15h30 tour. The tour starts on a little train that brings you to the entrance of the cave after about 10 minutes. When you arrive, you go through the wooden gallery, which is a perfectly maintained tunnel with wooden walls. At the end of this tunnel, you enter the “cathedral”: a huge underground space lined with thousands of wine barrels. You are immediately treated to a light and sound show, which was pretty impressive for the kids.
Plunge into history
After the light and sound show, the plunge into history starts. Terra Vinéa was an old plaster mine. In 1992, the mine was in a poor state and was closed down. The good thing about this was that closing down the mine was the starting point for the Terra Vinéa project. The Rocbère wineries decided to buy the mine and make it a winery. Like a cave cooperative, but underground.
In about one and a half hours, they give you a short history of wine and winemaking- from the Gallo-Romans, to working in the fields with medieval equipment, to vehicles from the last century. The tour is about 800 meters long and also interesting for children. In total, the underground space covers about 35 km²! But don’t worry, during your visit you will only see a fraction of it. Of course, the visit ends with a “dégustation”. It’s the best opportunity to taste the wines you’ve just heard mentioned during the tour. In the shop, you can also buy all kinds of wines, liquors, and regional products. As far as we were concerned, it was a fun and interesting trip, for big and small.