Thanks to descriptions by ancient authors and vivid accounts of the region of Pompeii, we have an idea of the appearance of vineyards in Gaul. Recent excavations in southern Gaul, which revealed traces of vine plantations, have provided key evidence for a reconstruction. Traces of vines have been found near buildings of the Villa Loupian.


The soil was turned over by hand and when the hoe struck the compact geological soil horizons, excavations in the form of trenches (sulci) described by Columella, or a series of oblong holes (alvei), which survived despite later agricultural activities.


Vines were planted in tight rows, with a density that could exceed 10,000 rootstocks per hectare. A vine was planted at either end of the hole, or at regular intervals along the trench. The initial excavation was most often supplemented by a perpendicular ditch for planting a shoot to use for propagation by cuttings. The rows were tight, and there was not always enough room for intercropping. The major outlines of this vineyard are readily visible, by keeping terracing to a minimum and perhaps avoiding putting down stakes, out of concern for intensive cultivation of the land and the search for better yields, including the use of moist soils.