Resources for wine cartography

The data is already out there - here is where to find it

If you haven't already read my article on vineyard cartography on, read that first. That's the main article. This is just a listicle of my favourite resources for how I make my maps.

Cadastre (France)

The official is ok, but the non-official (still using official data) is way better. It requires a bit of practice to figure out exactly what you're looking for - Communes are useful for some projects (Burgundy, Champagne), parcels for others, and lieux-dits for others. For very small projects, I download the data commune-by-commune and go from there (Tavel or Gigondas, for example), but most of the time I go for the heavy-handed approach of just downloading the whole département. Be warned that despite being an official government dataset, the quality of the data is horrendous - expect spaces randomly in the middle of place names, inconsistent capitalisation, special character problems (looking at you Aÿ and Nîmes), p l a c e n a m e s s p e l l e d o u t l i k e t h i s, not to mention SHP files that struggle to validate due to minorly invalid geometry, that then needs fixing - and that's before we get on to parcels that aren't where they should be or any other number of actual data problems that probably didn't matter when it was one big A1 map in a dusty town hall planning office. It's good data, but expect some cleaning up before it's presentable.

Elevation and contour lines (France)

The French government does publish excellent altitude data through contour lines, but the BRGM's (Bureau de Recherche Minier et Géologique) website is a little clunky. Thankfully, someone has published departement-by-departement links for contour lines. Every single map I make starts with them at some point - and even if including them on your map isn't your style, you can easily build shaded relief maps from them. I find the scale often too much for many projects, and have a copy saved that only has the 100m lines instead - but I tend to work with hilly areas where this is necessary to avoid data overload. In Bordeaux, not so much.

BRGM geology (France)

France publishes excellent geological maps (the kind where you have to pay private companies €1000+ for the same data in some countries!) for free. The departement-by-departement one is detailed, too much for most projects that aren't on a single-vineyard scale, or there is a simplified national one that is still plenty good enough for almost every single project on the scale of an appellation and above. I have had trouble getting them to render properly in QGIS, this tutorial by the BRGM has helped. Note that this mostly relates to the age of the underlying rock, which, while it has a bearing on wine terroir and relates strongly to it, is not the same as "here is sandy soils and here is galets roulés", even if in practice you can sort-of-kinda work it out.

Tuscany: every single parcel (Tuscany)

Tuscany wins the prize for by far the absolute best resource for wine cartography of any region, anywhere, hands down. Their EU Vigneti Toscana dataset is a perfect SHP of every single parcel of vines in Tuscany, including how it's pruned, when it was planted, and whether it's organic. You can't beat it. It's surprisingly good, with pixel-perfect detail - sometimes even too much, counting individual rows of vines as their own parcel! It's just brilliant - my only regret is that it only covers Tuscany, and that it doesn't include grape varieties, which seems like such a strange omission that there must be a reason. Note also that I am 90% sure the same map exists for Sicily (there was EU funding for it paid to a cartographer a few years ago, and I have seen)

OpenStreetMap (global)

Although not perfect, and in fact pretty darn useless almost always, OpenStreetMap's landuse=vineyard key is, on occasion, not too bad. I've found it to be ok in Champagne, although expect it to miss out about 5-10% of all vineyards (at best, 90%+ at worst) and include a solid 20%+ of empty space, roads, forests and houses that oughn't be vineyards at all. I use QuickOSM for QGIS and I have no complaints.

INAO AOP data (France)

The INAO publishes an SHP of the rough area of every wine AOP in France. The data is not perfect, varying from bad (AOP Ventoux, AOP Bandol) to excellent (AOP Cotes de Provence, most of Burgundy), to non-existent (AOP Champagne and AOP Cassis). At any rate, it's a good start - just be careful, as it is painfully, painfully obvious when a map over-relies on it and publishes the INAO's accumulated mistakes of the last few decades. That being said, it's the best we have.

The not-public CVI (France)

The Casier Viticole Informatisé is held by most appellation syndicats in France, as well as by individual producers for themselves. It's the register with the alcohol customs of basically every vine ever planted for commercial purposes, including variety and date of planting. If you can get your hands on one by asking nicely, it's superb - and, with a fair bit of work and tears, you can cross-reference it with the cadastre to fairly quickly make a very detailed map (for example, Tavel on Be warned that implementing the CVI on a map is a famously tricky, dangerous project that doesn't always have clear answers, as the reality on the ground or via satellite images doesn't necessarily represent the legal complexities - two legal CVI parcels, one of Syrah and the other Grenache might actually be one large co-planted parcel in reality - if it exists at all and isn't just a forest.

Cahiers des Charges and Disciplinare di Produzione (France + Italy)

When all else fails... Manually retracing printed maps works - as does creating new ones. The Etna DOC disciplinare contains Treasure-Island-esque step-by-step instructions for recreating a map of the various contradas, with explanations such as "follow the railway for 3km, then turn south-west at the old mill until you get to the Via Roma, which, along with the little stream forms the edge of the appellation". Sometimes it's helpful, other times it's about as fulfilling as being marooned on an island with only coconuts for company. Combined with satellite imagery, it's painful and slow, but can be better than nothing.


This isn't a resource so much as my most reliable tool. It's the screwdriver-hammer-powerdrill of the cartographer. It forms the backbone of almost every single map. Before I started using it, I read a review that said "when I found QGIS, I stopped looking for mapping software". When I found QGIS, I stopped looking too. It's a steep learning curve, but there are some brilliant tutorials out there, a great community, and it just does everything.