Domaine des Bernardins

The leading emblem of Beaumes-de-Venise, making intense, pure Muscats of impeccable quality.

As is relatively typical for the Rhône, vines were first planted in the village under Roman occupancy. The difference was in the intensely flavoured vin doux that came out of the unique Muscat vines. This sweet, fortified wine rapidly carved out a niche for itself and built up a medieval celebrity following, including Vatican incumbents and European royalty.

This particular domaine was the property of the order of Cistercian monks; the French title of the order (Bernardin) borrows the first name of an influential member of the order, St Bernard of Clairvaux, and hence the name of the estate.

Subsequently, the estate came into the hands of the Castaud family, who began making wines in the early 19th century. Since then, the vines have been managed by five generations of the same family. Louis Castaud was instrumental in campaigning for the introduction of a dedicated AOC for Muscat de Beaumes de Venise in 1945.

Louis’ granddaughter, Elisabeth Castaud, is now managing the estate with her husband, Andrew Hall, while their son, Romain, is learning the ropes. Nowadays, the family follows industry standards for “sustainable agriculture”. The vineyards are worked by hand, organic compost is made from discarded grape seeds and skins and biodiversity is encouraged through natural grass cover, olive, almond and cypress trees, wild rosemary and capers.