Vignerons du Castelas
Ownership: a cooperative of 45 families of winegrowers
Winemaker: Jean-Renaud Chalamel
Vineyards: 450ha, all owned by participating winegrowers
Vineyard management: All growers are at least sustainable, with some practicing and/or certified organic
Soils: Round pebbles, limestone, schist
Grapes grown: Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Cinsault, Viognier, Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, Clairette, Cabernet Sauvignon
Annual production: 960,000 bottles
- The motto “Moins de vin mais meilleur” (less wine, but better) has been the guiding principle from the start, and is still written on the walls of the cellar.
- The goal is to deliver wines representing the terroir at a great price, so that everyone can drink good wine.
- The red wines are still fermented and aged in the concrete tanks built with the cellar in 1959, while the whites and rosés are vinified in stainless steel.
In 1952, four growers in the village of Rochefort-du-Gard faced a dilemma: they were harvesting high-quality fruit in the sunny Southern Rhône, but no one of them could generate enough business to sustain the cost of a cellar on their own. Instead, they decided to band together to share their grapes, hard work, and one cellar to achieve their goal of producing great wine. Over the years, more families joined–now each member owns an average of 20ha of vines, and all farm with a focus on quality over quantity. The wide variety of sites, with different soils, aspects, and exposures, means they can adjust their sources for blending each vintage to ensure consistent quality despite the challenges of a changing climate. Even today, the coop is like a big family, where every person involved in the business, including the administrative and marketing teams, is also first and foremost a grower–ensuring that even as the business grows, they don’t get disconnected from their terroir.