Pierre Thomé of the Château de Crémat became president of the Syndicat of the Vignerons of Bellet and together with the Baron de Charnacé, helped introduce the appellation of Bellet in 1941.
In 1986, there were 21 grape growers, but only 7 who vinified wine.
The appellation technically covers 650ha, although with only about 70ha under vine. Some fifteen family vineyards and numerous smallholdings are interspersed amongst suburban villas and greenhouses growing cut flowers.
Neighbourhoods in Bellet include:
- Les Séoules
- Le Pilon
- Le Grand Bois
- Les Cappans
- Saint Roman de Bellet
- La Tour
- La Pouncia
- Gros Pins
The vineyards are situated high on the hills at between 200-300m, behind the town of Nice, overlooking the Var river valley to the west and the Magnan valley to the east.
From south to north, the southern vineyards are:
- Collet de Bovis
- Domaine de Toasc
- Domaine St Jean with vineyards scattered around Bellet
- Château de Crémat
- Clos Nicea
In the middle, on the eastern slopes
In the middle of the western slopes along the Chemin de Saquier
At the northern end of Chemin de Saquier
- Château de Bellet
- Coteaux de Bellet
The climate is Mediterranean with 2700 hours of sun a year and 838 mm of annual rainfall. The heat is moderated with big diurnal variations caused by the cooling breezes of the Mistral and Tramontane reaching the hills from the sea and the nearby Var river valley, and cool breezes coming down from the Alps.
Harvesting is around the end of September. Due to the layout of the land, this is manual. The legal yield limit is 40hl/ha.
No chaptalisation is allowed. Alcohol was 10.5% for red and rosé and 11% for white in mid 1980’s. Rosé – maximum sugar level 3g/l. NB lower limit than Provence as of 2008.
White wine used to be the principal wine style. Bellet’s reputation for white wines relied on the fact that they were not oxidised like other southern white wines, due largely to the large diurnal temperature variation.
The mix has evolved; by 2008, if not earlier, wine production is more evenly divided between the three colours. In 2009 rosé was 25% of production.
In 2008 only around six domains were large enough to support full-time work.