Bergerac is a small market town located in the Dordogne region of France. It is located in the South West of the country. The town covers an area of 56km and has a population of just under 28,000 and it’s of exceptional heritage. Owing to the popularity of the wines that comes this area it has quickly become a hotspot for wine and food lovers from all over the world.
The history of Bergerac can be traced back to the existence of a castle in area in the 11th century.
At the completion of construction of the castle the population which had before been spread around the area began to build up homes close by. During the 12th century the area became a stopover for many different people due to the growth of the castle. This meant that the region surrounding the castle grew too.
During the 13th century Bergerac’s wine production started. The wine produced here quickly spread around the area with the town acquiring a number of freedoms and franchises which allowed it to export the wine that was produced here. In addition to that a bridge was built over the Dordogne River which meant that the distribution network for the wine was increased.
During the 14th century the prosperity of Bergerac was set back as a result of the One Hundred Years war when half of the money making inhabitants disappeared. However the town retained its independence which helped the town to start to grow again. Shortly after it became a stronghold for Protestants and the area went through one of the darkest times of its history when churches were burned down and people executed.
During the 17th Century, Louis XIII began to open up the doors of the cities around France which had previously heavily. This was fine for a while until further persecutions. This caused many influential people in the town to go to other parts of Europe, namely England or Holland.
They did, however, keep their trading links with the vineyards of Bergerac and thus the wine produced here began to slowly spread across Europe.
Whilst the town didn’t recover the prosperity that it had in the past for a while, the port in the area gave it a nice boost. With the amount of trade coming through the port the town rapidly expanded along the river. However, the wine trade here had a bit of a setback in 1880 due to a vine disease from America. This left the vineyards devastated and the growers needed to replant onto new plots.
The economy of Bergerac was further boosted at the start of 20th century with the introduction of tobacco growing, which in addition to wine production is one of the things that the area is most known for.
Nowadays the town is strong in both trade and tourism. It is constantly expanding and people come from all over the world to sample the fine wines available only from this area. Some of the most popular wines are produced in this area including Monbasillac and Saussignac. The wines here are considered to be some of the best in France (or even the world) due to the drainage of the Dordogne river which benefits the growing of the vineyards.