A chat with winemakers Joséphine and Frédéric Arnaud, producers of our Côtes-du-Rhône
Château Courac is nestled in the hillside of Laudun (in the southern half of the Rhône valley), surrounded by forests and vineyards as far as the eye can see
How did you end up becoming a winemaker?
Our family has been producing wine since 1641. That makes Frédéric the 10th generation, and our son Cyril will be the 11th generation to take over. It's quite simply a passion, handed down from father to son.
Tell us why a keen wine drinker should visit your region?
The region is blessed with sunshine, and with undulating hills and beautiful woodland renowned for its truffles. The gastronomy and quality of the wines alone make the area well worth a visit.
Which part of the winemaking process do you enjoy the most?
In the process of winemaking, it's magical when the fruit aromas begin to develop and perfume the cellar. And in the blending process; I always find it fascinating observing the different complexities and types within the blending vats.
Is there anything that frustrates you about working in wine?
The appellation specifications are becoming increasingly restrictive, limiting a winemaker's freedom to make his wines.
Which environmental practices are most important to you?
Vineyard grassing / grass cover cropping (planting grass in the spaces between vine rows), the existence of hedges between plots and the maintenance of forests around the vineyards. Promoting biodiversity in this way allows for the natural controlling of pests and helps to strengthen the immune system of the vines.
How do you like to spend your spare time?
Walking, reading and exploring other vineyards.
Which is your favourite season?
Spring, for the awakening of nature and the lengthening days.
What are you most looking forward to this year?
A very good vintage and as always we hope for the good health of our loved ones.