the history of the estate
A long family winemaking tradition has forged Domaine Walbaum as you see it today...
Early 1800s …
At the very beginning of its history stand two men, Louis-Jacques CLARON and his son Jacques-Louis, and a few acres of grapevines. They worked the vines at a place known as ‘La Tannerie’ at the approach to Vallon Pont d’Arc. The vineyard benefited from good exposure. The work was hard, the wine rustic!
Their son and grandson, Louis Claron, was an agronomist, professor and researcher at the National Agricultural School in Montpellier. He continually extended the Domaine du Colombier up until 1896, and he built the Colombier cellar, completed in 1900.
Following Louis Claron’s death shortly after the end of the war, his oldest daughter Aline Walbaum took over running the estate. Her sons, Patrice and Christian, planted the recommended ‘Vinifera’ grape varieties such as Carignan, Grenache and Cinsault. By the 1960’s, vineyards covered over 50 hectares of the estate.
The difficulties of the wine market did not discourage them. Quite the contrary, they reoriented production toward a quality approach. Christian became the co-founder of the Federation of Private Wine Cellars in Ardèche.
In the 21st century.
In the early 1980’s, their sons, Philippe and Alain Walbaum, continued this direction, planting Syrah, Merlot and Viognier Blanc in view of making quality wine.
Philippe inaugurated direct sales through ‘estate-bottled wine ‘. Driven by his love for his region, his estate and his vines, Philippe opened a reception area for visitors inside the century-old cellar. He too became President of the Federation of Private Wine Cellars in Ardèche.
In the early 2000’s, Philippe Walbaum handed over the reins to his son Ludovic, the seventh generation of the family to run the estate. Ludovic exerted the same energy as his predecessors in managing the family estate. He improved the cellar with investments in renovation and modernisation of the winery and developed the tasting cellar, the venue for exceptional, friendly tasting experiences for visitors.
Today, Ludovic Walbaumhas ushered the family property into a new era by taking an environmental approach and converting the estate to organic farming methods (conversion starting in 2021).
Soon, a new winemaking cellar, designed and built with natural and ecological materials, will stand proudly at the heart of the estate …
In parallel with this project, Ludovic and his wife Chloëe, succeeded in the architectural conversion of the family home to accommodate a magnificent 4 stars hotel. The complex has been restored to preserve its history and heritage, making Villa Walbaum an enchanting place that will seduce you.
The charm of the past serving the needs of the future
is a beautiful way of honouring and perpetuating this ongoing family history!
Preserve, and renew…
Domaine Walbaum has long been devoted to farming. A shed here, the outbuildings there, the barn silhouetted against the horizon continue to embody the original use of the land. Today, the grape harvest and gathering of other fruit and vegetables continue to set the pace of life on the estate …
Domaine Walbaum is above all our desire to share with you our deeply-rooted family values: authenticity, emotion, generosity, simplicity. And, underlying these values, elegance and refinement.
Continue the family tradition and our passion for winemaking, all the while innovating and turning resolutely to the future, that is the family philosophy today.
And thus, passions live on…