Grand Cru



Here wines draw their character from a fine-textured soil and eventful past. Like its castle which has been rebuilt many times, this terroir produces wines filled with vigour and grandeur.

  • Soil type Marl-sandstone 
  • Surface area in hectares 35,86
  • Exposure South-East
  • Village Wuenheim
  • Altitude 260 and 330 metres
  • Grape varieties (in % per variety)
    • Riesling 64%
    • Pinot Gris 17%
    • Gewurztraminer 18%
    • Muscat v
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Grand Cru Ollwiller

The wines

Intense and delicate, Ollwiller Grand Cru wines stand out with their generosity.

The terroir-tie

Ollwiller wines reflect their terroir – intense and delicate. Particularly fine and elegant, they have great ageing potential. The age of the vines (allowing roots to access the mineral-rich limestone base) and yield control are decisive factors in favourably producing great wines on this terroir.

This Grand Cru stands out by its generosity.

Its location to the south of the wine-growing area provides it with lots of sun. This terroir seeks great maturity providing a large concentration of sugar. The wine acidity is coated, often tender – and this even in the dry wines. It refines the wine density and the palate remains delicious thanks to a sweeping generosity of bitter notes.

Tous les cépages sont empreints de notes exotiques : fruits de la passion pour les Riesling mangues confites pour les Pinot Gris et les Gewurztraminer. Honey-like hints bestow a subtle smooth touch to the wines.

Romain Ilitis
Best Sommelier of France, 2012 and Meilleur Ouvrier de France, 2015 (in the Sommelier category)

Choose and serve

Ollwiller wines are delicious even when young but call for a little patience.

Their rich substance makes wines produced in Ollwiller Grand Cru delicious and lively even when young. They can be enjoyed after two years.

Early-ripening vintage years: there is an obvious sensation of subtlety but the wines are succulent. Bitter almond aromas provide a lovely unctuous touch.

During late-ripening vintage years : the wine matter is dense and smooth. Their sweetness is accentuated by the expression of very ripe white fruits which complete the aromatic pallet.

Romain Ilitis
Best Sommelier of France, 2012 and Meilleur Ouvrier de France, 2015 (in the Sommelier category)

Wine and food pairing

Riesling: Grand Cru Ollwiller Riesling should be drunk at a temperature of 10°. It is marked by a straightforward and fine character. Its citrus and mineral touches wonderfully pair with fine dishes such as a fillet of pan-seared sea bream with a reduction of orange juice and carrots, scallop carpaccio or even chicken with candied lemon.

Pinot Gris:powerful and heady, expressing aromas of yellow fruits (peaches and pineapples) along with smoky notes. Pairs wonderfully with foie gras style nougat (filled with dried fruit), honey-seared quail or a Fourme d’Ambert with maple syrup.

Gewurztraminer : it has a powerful nose with floral and exotic aromas with a rich and generous palate. Its vigorous taste has it pairing wonderfully with Tandoori langoustine, fully-matured Munster or a dessert with mango and pineapple.

Muscat : its typical overripe grape nose unveils a full-bodied wine enhances by fine and long acidity. Is perfect for an aperitif, on a lemon tart or sliced melon in Muscat.

The density of these Grand Cru wines as well as their round touch pairs great with dishes having a slight sugary note. Asian or Indian cuisine which often calls for spices and fruit are winning choices. The smooth wines will blend in with the aromatic vigour of these dishes and their bitter notes will draw out the tasting pleasure on the finish.

Romain Ilitis
Best Sommelier of France, 2012 and Meilleur Ouvrier de France, 2015 (in the Sommelier category)


Grand Cru Ollwiller

The terroir

The nature

The radiant climate of this Grand Cru with its mostly sandy, soil-rich composites all help produce remarkable wines. The sun and earth create a fine setting for the Ollwiller terroir.


Nestled in southern Alsace and neighbour to the Rangen Grand Cru, Ollwiller is also situated on the Thann geological fault mosaic. These are the only two terroirs belonging to this fault. Exposed south-east, the Ollwiller Grand Cru also benefits from intense sunshine which the soils and grapes adore.

At the foot of the Vieil-Armand mountain, Ollwiller Grand cru outlines an amphitheatre between the castle, hence its name, and the small locality of Wuenheim. Within this peaceful setting, the vineyards grow along a gentle slope, between 260 and 320 metres in altitude.


It’s a brown luvisol on alluvium from the Rhine plain. It sits upon clay and Oligocene limestone conglomerates. The hill base is covered by eolian loess limestone. Numerous pebbles allow good vine rooting. The soil has a good water supply, especially on the bottom part of the Grand Cru.


This terroir facing south/south-east is protected from the dominating winds by the Freundstein and Vieil Armand mountains. The ripening is rather late with respect to the close presence of the Vosges forest and the already-high altitude. The rainfall is about 800-900 mm annually as the Belfort canopy gap nearby. Despite all this, the Grand Cru has wonderful exposure and a clear horizon towards the rising sun. The slopes are between 10% and 30%.

The people

The destiny of Ollwiller Grand Cru and the castle with the same name are intimately intertwined. It was destroyed many times by hordes of warriors but each time the castle and vineyard bounced back from these ruins, drawing from their painful experiences the necessary drive to restore their reputation.

Heritage transmission

In the 12th century Wuenheim appeared under the name of Wunach, toponym which, according to some researchers, came from Wunne, a wasteland, a notion which evokes the devastation of forests which monks undertook to make the land farmable.

Thus, like many of the Alsace Grands Crus, Ollwiller owes its recognition to the Cistercian monks, farmers and intellectuals. (Victor Canales)

At the beginning of the 13th century, Count Ferrette, vassal of the Strasbourg bishops, gave up his agricultural and viticultural fiefdom to the Cistercian abbey of Lieu Croissant. These lands were resold in 1260 to the Counts of Waldner who built its first castle there around 1261.

The building of this castle undoubtedly contributed to the rapid growth of the vineyard which fulfilled the needs of «altar wine» for the Basel prelates, particularly to the Cistercians from the Lucelle abbey on the borders of Alsace and Switzerland.

The castle was destroyed at the beginning of the 18th century and rebuilt in 1752 by Dagobert de Waldner, lieutenant general of the King. Many great historical figures such as Louis XV stayed in this sumptuous castle.
The castle and estate were purchased in 1825 by Jacques-Gabriel Gros, a fabric manufacturer, who wonderfully transformed and renovated the grounds and wine-growing area.

But during the First World War with its deadly fighting between the French and German armies, the village and castle, along with the vineyards were destroyed and left in ruins.

Faced with these tragic events, wine-growers chose to rally together for the challenge of restoring the wine-making estates. This shared work effort gave way to a «cooperative» concept, created in 1959. To honour the memory of lives sacrificed during these dark years it was named «Vieil Armand», French phonetic derivation of «Hartmannswillerkopf», the mountain which suffered the bloodiest combats.

>Today, the Ollwiller castle is one of the only 2 castles to produce wine in Alsace using the name Château whereas the Ollwiller Grand Cru continues writing history producing sumptuous wines which express the complex terroir minerality.

Beloved vineyards and land

The Ollwiller Grand Cru banked on the environment by practicing grass cover between the vine rows. Its deep soils are perfect for this farming technique without ever harming the vineyard quality.

On peut par ailleurs constater sur l’Ollwiller l’un des biotopes les plus diversifiés du vignoble. Walkers may easily see deer, hares or ladybirds and even some wild tulips when wandering along the gentle vineyard slopes.

L’Ollwiller inscrit son avenir dans l’univers des très grands vins. To its credit are centuries of tradition, a toilsome and often destructive past, profound reflection and relentless, determined work by people who successfully managed to restore its heritage dating back to the first vine planted on its hillsides.

The goal for wine-makers from long ago and what motivates the wine-makers of today and tomorrow is this simple and perpetual search for the holy grail of quality.