Winemaking in Narbonese Gaul

Most of the farming concerns in Narbonese Gaul, whether at villas, farms or rural villages, set aside a considerable portion of their lands for winegrowing and winemaking. Even the smallest farms gave in to this craze that had gripped the province, and had costly equipment installed, including masonry vats, wine presses and dolia. More ambitious farms had twin pressing units, either built at the outset or added later as production ramped up, and increasing storage needs resulted in the construction of new warehouses.

The Loupian estate, with some one hundred dolia, may be considered a mid-sized winemaking establishment, with a capacity of about 150,000 litres. Smaller farms and villas had a few dozen jars, giving them a capacity of less than 100,000 litres. Nevertheless, there were farms in Narbonese Gaul with exceptionally high production levels, with warehouses holding several hundred dolia and a capacity of up to 600,000 litres.

On the fringes of Gallia Narbonensis and in the rest of Gaul, Mediterranean-style earthenware wine recipients gave way to another type of container, the cask. This recipient, which was already used for transport, would replace the dolium at southern farms in Late Antiquity.

Medias

Interactive document - Aerial view of the Les Toulons Villa at Rians

Aerial view of the Les Toulons Villa at Rians

A major wine-making villa in the east of Gallia Narbonensis, the excavation of this villa, led by Jean-Pierre Brun, revealed the estate's wine production facilities. At the top, one can see a part of the wine warehouse with more than 200 dolia, whose total storage capacity would have exceeded 300,000 litres.
© Jean-Pierre Brun
Interactive document - Gallo-Roman wine and olive oil production in the Languedoc area

Gallo-Roman wine and olive oil production in the Languedoc area

Unlike Provence in Antiquity, olive oil production appears to have been less developed west of the Rhone, and it was perhaps concentrated in areas away from the coast. The discovery of wine amphora workshops and pressing facilities allow us to delimit wine-making primarily to the Early Roman Empire, in the Languedoc plain around Béziers, Narbonne, Rousillon and the Rhone Valley.
© Ch. Pellecuer, MCC-DRAC Languedoc-Roussillon
Interactive document - The Saint-Barthélémy Villa, Montgey (Tarn) discovered during aerial prospecting by Michel Passelac

The Saint-Barthélémy Villa, Montgey (Tarn) discovered during aerial prospecting by Michel Passelac

Sondages were carried out on this large building with three apses, measuring more than 1,000 sq. m, which flanked the main residence. Four wine-making vats have been identified. In the absence of dolia, we can reconstruct the rows of recipients with a total capacity of more than 200,000 litres.
© M. Passelac, CNRS-UMR 5140