The Couillaud brothers, Bernard, Michel and François, joined together in 1979 and expanded the original small family holding to the present size. They export their wines in England, Japan, Germany, Holland, Belgium, and the U.S.A.
The Couillaud Brothers - Bernard, Michel and François
In 2006, they welcomed the 7th generation: Amelie - Bernard's daughter - and her husband Vincent, both passionate about wine. Amelie, who is graduate in business and languages, handles exports while Vincent, an agricultural engineer is in charge of the Vineyard. This new generation brings innovative projects with environment friendly alternatives to the cultivation of the vine and a creation of a new cellar.
François, Amélie and Vincent
Winery Philosophy: The Couillaud brothers produce high quality wines from the Loire Valley on their family vineyards.
They make outstanding Muscadets, Chardonnays and Sauvignon which are well known by the national and international press. The Couillaud brothers pay careful attention to cultivation methods and they are members of sustainable agriculture: Terra Vitis.
Bernard, Michel and François were born in a family of winemakers based in Mouzillon for over 150 years. Auguste Couillaud, their grandfather, a pioneer in the early century had nearly 20 hectares vineyards. Leon, the father develops the renown of Clos Burgundians, one of the oldest plots of the Muscadet.
At the early 1970, Bernard who had the adventure in the heart, travels through the United States and Mexico. He returns with the ambition to make its Muscadet worldwide. While he was working with his father, he decides to sell the wine by himself in bottle, a real revolution at that time. His brothers, Michel and François are also interested in the vineyard and the three brothers decided to buy the Chateau de la Ragotière in 1979. The adventure of Couillaud Brothers begin with major operations in the winery and in the vineyards to rehabilitate the property. The beginnings were very promising with our Muscadet present in Great Britain, the USA and Japan.
In 1987, they decided to buy the Chateau de la Morinière, 30-hectare vineyard remote 3km of Ragotière. On this property, they decided to plant a new variety for the region: Chardonnay. This was a major innovation in the Muscadet Appellation. The Burgundian style of our Loire Chardonnay makes a discovery and ultimately becomes obvious.
The curiosity leads the brothers to new creations whose Chardet: blend of Melon de Bourgogne and chardonnay. In 1997, after 3 years of research, the experimental vineyard is created with unique grape varieties in the region such as Viognier, Petit Manseng and Muscat Petit Grain.
Located on a south-facing slope of granitic soil on the Eastern part of the village of Vallet, in the heart of the Muscadet de Sèvre et Maine appellation, the vineyard measures 66 hectares (145.73 acres): 36 hectares (88.92 acres) planted with Melon de Bourgogne (Muscadet), 27 hectares (66.69 acres) with Chardonnay and 3 hectares (7.41 acres) with Gros-Plant.
The soil consists of mica-schists albitic two-micas.
There are two advantages with this type of soil. The lamination of this schist will result in rapid flow of water. The soil warms more quickly in spring and generate an early start to the vine. This crumbly side of the rock also allows deep rooting of vines. The roots find clay areas rich in minerals which are useful in summer to water resources. The difference between plots concerns the orientation of the vines, slope, soil thickness and age of the vines.
Our vineyard is located South of the Loire, 50km from the Atlantic Ocean. We have a rather oceanic climate. Winters are relatively mild which generates a fairly early start to the vine. Sometimes too much because the risk of frost exist until May. That's the reason why we put an antifreeze sprinkler system in 1991 on the hillside where our Chardonnays are planted.
Summers are relatively dry but with mild temperatures. On some wet years, we cut the leaves around the fruit area to ensure good ventilation of the berries and the best possible maturity. The vine suffers little drought and especially the balance between sugar / acid in the berries allows to obtain aromatic wines while keeping its freshness. This climate is important in the character of our wines and gives it a real originality.