Since 2012, Stéphanie Barousse and Marion Merker have been in innovation overdrive to promote Château de La Dauphine in Fronsac. Surrounded by an organic and biodynamic vineyard, this 18th century charterhouse is a unique site located beside the Dordogne river.
Why did you decide to open La Dauphine to visitors?
S.B It’s a fabulous location, hilly, with umbrella pines… Reminiscent of a Tuscan amphitheatre that dives into the Dordogne. The main house, which dates back to 1750, and its ultra-modern winemaking facilities, were assets that hadn’t been exploited prior to 2010. It seemed wrong to keep visitors away.
M.M We focused on the history of the château, where the mother of Louis XIV, then the dauphine of France, stayed. Very few properties in the Bordeaux region have been entirely restored, from the façade to the engravings, mouldings, furniture, etc. And even fewer have a vineyard in their own grounds.
And since then you have constantly revamped and expanded your offer.
M.M Each year we pretty much develop a new workshop or tour, always at an affordable price: our visitors are our future consumers! Some people are interested in our environmentally-friendly practices, others prefer wine pairing... Our most recent product is a trip in a 2CV, with a tour of the vineyard, excursion to a fishing shack from where you can fish for shad and eel, followed by a visit to a truffle field, a local Fronsac tradition. The highlight of the day? A wine tasting of our two reds and our rosé at the top of a slope with a panoramic view, served with lamprey rillettes!
You’ve received several awards from “Best of Wine Tourism”, an organisation that recognizes the world’s best wine tourism experiences. What does this recognition mean to you?
S.B It’s very rewarding to see our team recognised for all their hard work, but also a challenge because it forces you to take a fresh look at everything you do. We started from scratch in 2012 but now receive 5,000 visitors a year, over 80% of whom come from outside France. We are proud of our success.
Château de La Dauphine
SASU Château de La Dauphine
Rue Poitevine, 33126 Fronsac
Tel.: +33(0)5 57 74 06 61