Delicious History: The World’s 2 Oldest Wineries

If you love history, the wonderful world of wine provides an unlimited supply of fascinating facts just waiting to be uncovered.

For instance, have you ever wondered where the oldest continuously producing wine estates are located? Not surprisingly, they’re in Europe, a continent with a rich wine culture that’s a part of everyday life for so many. Here in America, wine often is reserved for a special occasion. In Europe, it’s typically thought of simply as a beverage to have with the evening meal.

For a good period of time, it was believed that Chateau de Goulaine was Europe’s oldest winery, dating back more than a thousand years. Except for a 70-year period from 1788 to 1858, when it was in the hands of a Dutch banker, the estate has been owned by the Goulaine family.

Located in France’s Loire Valley, Chateau de Goulaine is known for its Muscadet, Sancerre and Vouvray wines.

A few other fascinating facts:

* The estate released what is believed to be the first commercial Chardonnay in the western Loire Valley.

* Beurre blanc, a white sauce used in French cooking, is said to have been invented in the estate’s kitchen.

* Because of the ownership change in the 18th and 19th centuries, the winery avoided damage or destruction that likely would have occurred during the French Revolution.

While Chateau de Goulaine undoubtedly is one of Europe’s oldest wine estates, it’s no longer thought to be THE oldest. That distinction now belongs to Staffelter Hof, which is located in the town of Krov in the Bernkastel-Wittlich district of Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany.

There is evidence that Staffelter Hof dates to the year 862 when it was an abbey that produced wine. The winery moved to its current home in 876, and today functions both as a winery and a distillery. There’s also a guest house on the property.

As might be expected, white wines dominate the estate’s production, representing 90% of the portfolio, with most of that being Riesling. Pinot Noir represents a good chunk of the limited red-wine production.

A few fascinating facts:

* With its variety of grapes, Staffelter Hof is able to produce a range of wines from dry to sweet, as well as sparkling and rosé, at three quality “tiers.”

* The best way to learn about history is to “experience” it in person. The on-property Staffelter Hof guest house features six apartments and four double rooms, and enables visitors to have a fully immersive experience.

A fascinating thing about history is that its telling can change over time as new “discoveries” are made. But for now, and until someone can prove otherwise, Staffelter Hof and Chateau de Goulaine are considered the world’s two oldest wineries.

And both make for some delicious research.

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Posted in Our Wine Travel Log, Wineries of Distinction
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