The Massif Central used to be a much more important wine producing region of France which almost disappeared. The catalyst was phylloxera which struck here as it did everywhere but there were fewer incentives to restart growing. Moreover war and the growth of industry in cities like Saint Etienne put a drain on the workforce.
Rebuilding has been very gradual but it is there. The Forez region is somewhat closed and mountainous. Forestry is important as is beef cattle, and Fourme d'Ambert is one of the local cheeses. Vines are planted on soils that are of granite or basalt and most is red from the gamay grape.
Most producers are smallholders and deliver grapes to the co-op. Gilles Bonnefoy is one of a few who bottles his own wine and does so from vines that are farmed sustainably without herbicides or pesticides. He also produces some whites which are sold as IGP Urfé.