The winery, as we know it today, was founded in 2007 by the union of the Caves Cooperatives for Salses and Rivesaltes and a little later with Pézilla la Rivière et de Corneilla la Rivière.
This later development was the very essence of the agricultural cooperative movement. In fact, the Salses winery founded in 1909, was the first in our department and undoubtedly one of the first in France. Our group of 300 strong winegrowers is the successors of the men and women who set up the cooperative wineries to pool together their expertise in growing and producing wine to sell.
The Salses winery
The winery was set up in 1909 in the surrounding area of the famous fortress. In the beginning, it just produced red wines. In 1929 a new winery was built for producing white wines and Vins Doux Naturels. This was the Sainte Colombe winery. Some decades later this merger would create the Union of Salses Fine Wines. It was the art of blending Vins Doux Naturels that established its reputation. The winery at Saint Laurent de la Salanque joined the union in 1981. It was founded in 1924.
The Rivesaltes winery
Named the "Roussillonnaise", it was founded in 1932. It was set up in the distillery of the same name and produces mainly dry wines. The other 2 wineries, "Vins Fins" and "Les Vignerons" specialize in Vins Doux Naturels. They joined forces in the late 1960’s to become just one entity. In the 1980’s the winery distinguished itself by growing grape varieties such as Chardonnay and Syrah that were new to the department. It will also go down in history as the winery that first produced the famous Muscat de Noël.
The Pézilla-la-Rivière winery
Built in 1935 it has been expanded 12 times including, in 1955, the construction of a special annex specifically for the production of Vins Doux Naturels. Its impressive terraces along the Tet valley have enabled continuous development up to the early years of this century.
Who was Arnaud de Villeneuve
Arnaud de Villeneuve was born in Spain in 1240 and studied medicine and philosophy in Montpellier and Naples. He was a physician of the Royal House of Barcelona from 1281 to 1310, and wrote many works for which his contemporaries held him in high esteem. From his travels to the East he brought back the secret of distilling wine into alcohol. His work led him to identify the benefits of “combining grape liqueur with his brandy". Ever since the Middle Ages, this process, known today as "mutation" or "fortification", enables wines to be stabilized thus preserving their qualities over time.
The AOC, (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée) Vins Doux Naturel officially were introduced with the PAMS law in April 1898. They have a direct affiliation with the work of this famous Catalan alchemist. By way of paying homage to him, we have been selling our wines under his name for over 30 years.