• Nicole Ruskell

Bellet open days: Wine-tasting weekend in Nice

France's smallest AOP region is located in the hills above Nice and this November, the wineries open their doors for a weekend of wine-tasting!



Twice a year (autumn and spring), the winemakers of Bellet in the hills above Nice, open their doors to the public, giving people the chance to get to know their wines. Bellet is France’s smallest AOP, one of the oldest, and the only one located entirely within an urban area. The designation AOP stands for Appellation d’Origin Protégée (protected designation of origin ). This designation has officially replaced the former designation of AOC, Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (controlled designation of origin). This title means that a wine labelled ‘Vins de Bellet’ can only be made in Bellet from grapes grown in the designated terrain.


Established as a wine growing region all the way back in the 5th century BC, when the Phoenicians settled Marseille, Bellet is one of the oldest wine-growing regions in France! The Romans then expanded the area (a nod to this with the winery 'Via Julia Augusta') in 600 AD. The first estate winery was built in 1550, by a Lombard born in Varese. Today, the region covers 650 hectares, although there are currently only 50 hectares cultivated.



Another rarity is that the small region is almost entirely organic. This is made possible because of its superb location perched atop a hill along the Var river, at the foot of the Mercantour valley. With an unobstructed path, Bellet vines get constant southern sun and a temperate breeze from the Mediterranean sea, keeping the vines naturally insect and fungus-free. As Nathalie Dalmasso from Domaine de la Source explained to us, it is quite easy to keep the balance of good insects with the right care and control of the land. This perfect climate, plus porous, loamy earth create the perfect recipe for the particularly pleasant terroir of Bellet wines.


Perhaps one of Nice’s best-kept secrets, Bellet wines are not highly exported, so those lucky enough to be in the French Riviera can enjoy this special, truly local wine. The main grapes grown on these ancient hills is Rolle (also known as Vermintino - as this area has been both French and Italian territory, the origin of this variety is hotly contested - nevertheless, this grape comes from the area of the French and Italian Riviera!); Folle noir, and Braquet. Many of the wineries produce 100% Rolle, 100% Folle noir (red and rosé) and blends of all of the above.


While all the Bellet wineries can be booked for visits throughout the year, take advantage of this open weekend to meet many of the winegrowers and the teams who shape the appellation. The handful of wineries are mostly family-owned and work together under the association Vins de Bellet.

The association's recommended itinerary for the ‘Portes Ouvertes’ is as follows:



(RE)DISCOVER THE WINE OF NICE: A TOUR IN 8 STAGES.


Domaine de la Source

Start your expedition by visiting Domaine de la Source. This family estate welcomes you to a setting surrounded by hectares of lush vineyards and panoramic views of the Var plain, the Baou de St Jeannet and the Mediterranean. The Dalmasso family welcomes you to discover their terroir wines as well as their limited single-variety vintages through visits and tastings.


Address: 303 Chemin de Saquier, 06200 Nice

Telephone : +33 4 93 29 81 60 / +33 6 17 77 87 98

Email : contact@domainedelasource.fr



Domaine de Vinceline

Then head to the Domaine de Vinceline where the Dauby family welcomes you to enjoy a moment of conviviality, in an authentic and warm atmosphere, in the heart of the vineyards. Vincent, Céline and their two daughters await you to taste the private wines produced on the estate, entirely organically grown and fermented with natural yeast.


Address: 305 bis Chemin de Saquier, 06200 Nice

Phone : +33 662071032 / +33 660818520

Email : domaine.vinceline@gmail.com


Château de Bellet

Head north to meet the team at Château de Bellet. This atypical estate between the sea and the mountains welcomes you all year round in an unrivalled setting. The vineyard is cultivated with the greatest respect for nature and the terroir in order to let the grape varieties express themselves fully through exceptional wines.


Address: 482 Chemin de Saquier, 06200 Nice

Phone : +33 493378157

Email : contact@chateaudebellet.com

Via Julia Augusta

[Closed this time!] On the road to Saint-Roman de Bellet, stop to taste the traditional, personal and elegant wines of Via Julia Augusta. Nicolas Cohendet works his vineyard with the greatest respect for the terroir in order to preserve its authenticity and character, according to the climatic conditions of each year.


!! The estate will be exceptionally closed during the Bellet PDO Open Days and will have the pleasure to meet you again during the next edition in Spring 2023!


Address: Via Julia Augusta, Saint-Roman de Bellet, 06200 Nice

Phone : +33 608076565

Email : viajulia@wanadoo.fr

Clos Saint-Vincent

[Closed this time!] On the way to Crémat, stop off at Clos Saint-Vincent to taste wines of character made with strict respect for the environment, combined with organic and biodynamic growing methods. The Sicardi and Sergi families welcome you to guide you in your choice of wines and share their passion with you every Monday, Thursday and Friday from 2pm to 6pm and Tuesday from 9am to 12pm.


!! The estate will be exceptionally closed during the AOP Bellet Open Days. The team will be pleased to see you again at the next edition in Spring 2023!


Address: 516 Chemin de Crémat, 06200 Nice

Phone : +33 492151269

Email : contact@clostvincent.fr

Domaine Saint Jean

Continue your visit with a diversion to Domaine Saint Jean, created by Nathalie Pacioselli and her husband Jean-Patrick. These two people from Nice, who are passionate about their land, will be delighted to welcome you to their new winery, established in 2018, to help you discover their wines and share their know-how.

Address: 34 Chemin de La Pouncia, 06200 Nice

Phone : +33 608 280 874

Email : saintjeanbellet@orange.fr

Château de Crémat and Domaine de Toasc

Take the road to the Château de Crémat. This exceptional place will plunge you into the history of atypical and visionary characters who knew how to make it an architectural jewel. The estate's team will be on hand to help you discover the elegant wines, made exclusively from organically grown grapes, thus achieving optimum quality. You will also find the wines of Domaine de Toasc, which are currently being sold there.

Address: 442 Chemin de Crémat, 06200 Nice

Telephone: +33 492151215

Email : contact@chateaucremat.com

Collet de Bovis

Finally, finish your tour by going to Domaine du Fogolar where "Collet de Bovis" wine is produced. The estate is run by Jean Spizzo, who has been passionate about vine growing and winemaking since 1974. He welcomes you to his estate, which is steeped in history, where he combines art with the vine, hosting painting exhibitions and theatrical performances.


Address: 370 Chemin de Crémat, 06200 Nice

Telephone: +33 493378252 / +33 614760971

Email : jeanetmichele.spizzo@sfr.fr

Bellet Portes Ouvertes

Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 November from 10am to 6pm


For more history and information about Bellet, visit the website: https://vindenice.com/home/

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