It has taken billions of years to construct natural landscapes. They are determined by different natural factors – relief, soil, climate and water.

The morphology of landscapes is linked to the geological structures of the earth’s crust, modelled by the agents of erosion. Over time, these agents disintegrate the softest rocks, leaving behind the relief formed by the most resistant.

The surface is fashioned by the wind, which shapes the dunes, the waves that cut into the cliff, the flowing waters that carve out the soft rocks and form the valleys.

There are many mechanical agents of erosion: running water, frost, snow, glaciers and wind. Alongside this, the rock’s mechanical and chemical properties are altered by the chemical transformation of all or part of its constituent minerals.

The oceans and seas regulate the temperature and the system of precipitation, initiate the formation of fog and mists, while the wind and tides create the waves and sea currents.

Stellenbosch Afrique du Sud
Côtes du Rhône, Franc
Snowy landscape

The very first vine-growing landscapes were modelled in the primary era, some 260 million years ago.
The main vine-growing landscapes were formed during the quaternary era.
The vineyards became established, preferentially on embankments, the edges of faults, and pebbly plains, as well as volcanic soil, millions of years later.

In a spectacular manner, the different wine-growing landscapes can be classified according to their natural situation. Each situation is not always exclusive of another. A typological study has been carried out by the French Institute of Vine and Wine (O. CORMIER).

Valley landscape:

Wet valley
Plateau valley
Mountain valley
Valley bottom plain

Plain, plateau landscape:


Slope landscape:

Straight ribbon
Pleated ribbon

Hill landscape:

High altitude landscape:

Lower foothill
Upper foothill