The Marie - Town hall
View across Aude river valley, with vineyards, from Ventenac-en-Minervois
Restaurants overlooking the canal at Ventenac-en-Minervois
Ventenac produces a lovely Chardonnay.
Look at more Languedoc notable wines
It was at the end of the nineteenth century and until 1914, that Ventenac was at its busiest. The quay along the canal constantly cluttered with huge barrels of wine waiting to
be loaded on barges.
They were for the most part sent to "l’Epargne de Toulouse" a large wine company at that time. The barrels came to Ventenac, from the vineyards and villages around, on long carts that were drawn by horses through the village, and access to the canal side road was very difficult. With the steep descent, barrels would often break loose from carts and roll down the hill side into the canal.
A new road was later built in 1922, so that the approach to the canal was more gradual
Another interesting trade, were figs brought from Italy, that were destined to the local factory called "La Fabrique" to make fig alcohol. The employed many workers, and probably due to low wages, a fire was set by employees, and the whole place burnt and exploded.
Initially after the construction of the canal, water was pumped out of the canal, to irrigate a nursery for the Plane trees, that now are planted along the canal. In later years, this was turned over to local vignerons for the cultivation of vines - principally Carignan - some of which is still used in the production of wine
The castle up to its present part use as a holiday residence (the property has been sub-divided), was owned by various persons including a banker from Beziers, and an Ambassador to Moscow.
THE WINE CAVE:
The wine cave, with turrets, on the border of the canal was built in 1880 during the height of the wine trade.
During 1904-6 there was a lot of anger about the low wages, and working conditions of vineyard workers - that created the background to the following letter (approx Jan 9 1904):
CALL FOR SOLIDARITY
UNION FARM WORKERS OF VENTENAC-D'AUDE:
Our struggle continues, more intense than ever. Since yesterday we have in our walls 190 gendarmes
to hold in check 28 strikers. Our demands are more than just, we
must stand up to our exploiters because if we are
defeated it is a big disaster for us and all the surrounding country.
Therefore, we have again to call on your solidarity to help us to victory, and not be defeated by the employers
Counting on you morally and financially
Eglise Saint Pierre and
Chapelle de Calvaire. The church in Ventenac-en-Corbieres is a great mystery. First of all its difficult to find, in the center of the village - and secondly very little information is available about it. If there was a Bermuda triangle on the Canal du Midi - this is one of them.
To add further mystery to the plot - a local legend is that the village and its environments are protected from hail by the spirit of its former priest Alexandre Planton, who died in 1868 - whose photo (that still exists) bears on its back the inscription: "as long as you do not forget me your fields are protected from hail".
The village has a rather interesting cemetary, with signs mentionings its notable persons - including
Abbe Alexandre Planton (local priest from 1866-68), and the Andreossy Family, one of which worked closely with Paul Riquet in creating the Canal du Midi; another family member was director of Canal de Junction - which joined Canal du Midi with Narbonne and the sea.