The Buyer
Les Vignobles Foncalieu

Co-operative values form the cement that binds winegrowers within the Foncalieu group, but they also share a desire to enhance their vineyard sites and aim for excellence and authenticity, all of which is fuelled by sustainability.

Over half a century after its inception in 1967 in Arzens, Aude, Vignobles Foncalieu is still as enterprising as ever and has become a force to be reckoned with on the Southern French wine scene.

Finding strength in unity, it now embraces Celliers du Nouveau Monde in Puichéric, Vignerons de la Cité de Carcassonne, Vignerons du Pays d’Ensérune near Béziers, and more recently, the La Redorte & Castelnau d’Aude winery.

From the IGP Vallée de Paradis wines for pleasure to the terroir driven blends labelled AOP Corbières, Château Haut Gléon is the jewel in the crown of Vignobles Foncalieu and champions good taste and high standards. As a testament to its excellent quality Château Haut Gléon will be one of the official suppliers at the World’s Best Sommelier competition in Paris in 2023.

Terroir diversity

Each of these mergers has broadened the group’s scope – which now covers three AOPs and an array of four IGPs – allowing winegrowers to tap into a 30-strong varietal range over an outstanding collection of vineyard sites covering 5172ha. From the terraces of the Aude, home to the famous due-south-facing hillsides of the Minervois, to the stony limestone soils of Corbières- Boutenac, the distinctive red earth in Cazedarnes, Saint-Chinian and the deep soils lining the Mediterranean, this mosaic of vineyards produces both wines for pleasure and outstanding pours, embracing every consumer taste.

Quality and CSR

Consequently, the ‘Les Vignobles Foncalieu’ signature is now one of the 50 most recognised brand names in the world. The 801 wine growers who continue to write the story of this vinous flagship deserve no less. Their ambition now is to ramp up their Corporate Social

Responsibility credentials (CSR), rosés, digitalisation and innovations in their vineyards and packaging.

Ethical supplier

The range of ethically produced wines is growing in ever-increasing circles at Les Vignobles Foncalieu, echoing the group’s strategy. At the beginning of January 2023, AFNOR awarded Les Vignobles Foncalieu the Committed CSR label, confirmed level after a particularly rigorous process of measurement and continuous improvement. The much-publicised Corporate Social Responsibility scheme embraces the environmental, social, economic and

ethical aspects of businesses. Vignobles Foncalieu has leveraged every part of the company to rise to this challenge: 65% of the vineyard is now certified HVE (High Environmental Value) level 3, 352 ha are certified AB and 70 ha are in organic conversion, the amount of SO2 in the wines is constantly on the decline; and most of the wines are now certified Eve Vegan, meaning that no substance of animal origin is used in the clarification process.

Championing rosé

Les Vignobles Foncalieu did not jump on the rosé bandwagon, but rather championed its production. With sales up 7% by value in 2022 and 49% of production now pink, the group has become a rosé powerhouse and aims to market 10 million bottles of rosé by 2025.

The secret to their success is a range of 14 grape varieties vinified as rosé, including the rare varietals Piquepoul noir and Sauvignon gris, along with other quality grapes that are harvested by night and go direct-to-press in a pneumatic press to preserve aroma and

freshness. Their success can also be ascribed to anticipating market trends.

Consequently, Les Vignobles Foncalieu branded rosés run the gamut, from highend to aromatic gems.

Unwavering commitment

The Foncalieu group has waged a long-running campaign to protect the planet but also the health of its winegrowers and consumers, and to build a better world. From the supply side through to marketing, there is no shortage of examples of good practice.


There is no denying that Vignobles Foncalieu has a long-standing commitment to sustainability. It all started in 2001 when the group signed the very first collective Land Use

Contract in France, on the initiative of one of its member wineries. Six years later, another milestone was crossed with the creation of vineyards earmarked for experimenting with grape varieties geared to the needs of tomorrow’s vineyards. “We waited until the grape varieties were authorised in 2016 before planting them in a bid to drastically reduce use of inputs,” recalls the group’s head viticulturist Gabriel Ruetsch.

Vignobles Foncalieu also pioneered the use of mating disruption to combat grapevine moths. This alternative control method employs synthetic pheromones to prevent the moths from mating and has already put an end to spraying in half the vineyards – and counting!

Greener than green

Member growers have their sights clearly set on organic farming and are provided with support, training and enhanced remuneration to do so. 352 hectares of vines have already been certified and a further 70 ha are in the switch-over phase. The medium-term objective is to achieve HVE3 certification (High Environmental Value) for all Les Vignobles Foncalieu brands. The endorsement certifies that a farm implements practices that protect and use the natural areas within the vineyards and surrounding the farm.

How? “By protecting biodiversity, by reducing inputs to ultimately achieve zero pesticide residues in the wines and by using fertilisation and irrigation sustainability,” says Gabriel Ruetsch.

Eighty eight per cent of production for the 2022 vintage comes from responsible approaches: HVE, BIO, Terra Vitis.

Key Facts

  • Turnover: €61 million in 2022.
  • 60% of its sales come from rosé and white wines.
  • 65% of Les Vignobles Foncalieu sales come from export markets (excluding bulk wines).
  • 88% of the group’s acreage has an agro-environmental certification.
  • 65% of vineyards are HVE-certified.
  • Les Vignobles Foncalieu produced 32,000 hectolitres of organic wine in 2022 (37% white, 26% rosé, 37% red), spanning 20 different grape varieties.
  • The group is the official partner of the Best Sommelier of the World competition which took place in Paris last February.