Between the Cévennes Mountains to the north and Montpellier to the south, Pic Saint-Loup (658 meters / 2,158 feet above sea level, left) and the neighboring Montagne de l’Hortus (right) rise majestically over the landscape in the Languedoc wine region of France. This beautiful, rugged landscape is quite dramatic with garrigue like scrubland dominated by these two distinctive peaks. Seeing this area in the changing light of dawn as the sun rises over the fruity vineyards leaves one yearning for sitting at a cafe in a nearby village sipping wine on a summer afternoon.

Languedoc is one of the most geologically diverse landscapes in France, and Pic Saint-Loup sits at the major transition zone of this geological diversity. The Pic’s climate is noticeably cooler than many other Languedoc wine growing regions because it is the point the coastal plain transitions to the higher, inland plateau. This combined with the local limestone soil allow grapes and, therefore, wines to retain higher levels of acidity and fruit freshness than those produced in the warmer areas of the Languedocian plains. There is also a range of different microclimates here, making it possible to produce different types of wines on the different facing slopes. The growers plant the sun-loving grapes for producing red wines on the south-facing slopes and the more temperate-loving varietals for producing white and rosé wines on the north-facing slopes. These advantages make Pic Saint-Loup a leading Languedoc wine region.

In this VAST image, I wanted to again show the link between the environment and human activity. The rows in the vineyards below lead to the slopes of the mountains above. It is this transition, this interaction between humans and geography, that is responsible for producing one of the world’s most beloved wines.