A former castle fortified in the 12th century and transformed by the Goulaine family into a chateau, Le Château de Goulaine is also the home of the estate-bottled wine Le Marquis de Goulaine. Located near Nantes, France in the Loire Valley, the chateau has been home of the marquis de Goulaine and family for over a thousand years. The high pitched slate roofs of the chateau has similarities with the central Loire estates of Château de Chambord and Château de Blois, but Château de Goulaine was built earlier and thus has a more conservative style of architecture.
It was during the 12th century that the first Goulain, Jean de Goulaine, leader of the city of Nantes at that time, fortified the castle to defend against the attacks of the Normans. The Goulaine were recorded in the Seventh Crusade in 1248 and were of old nobility. The Goulaine fought for the Catholic League during the Wars of Religion and took the chateaux or Trogoff (Plouescat) and of Kérouzéré (Sibiril) in 1590. The ownership of the estate remained in the hands of the Goulaine family until 1788 and then was sold to a Dutch banker, which saved the chateau from destruction during the French Revolution. In 1858, a member of the Goulaine family reacquired the chateau and until today it remains in their possession.
Perhaps the oldest known wine business in existence, the estate of Château de Goulaine has been producing wine for centuries initially for family consumption and later for commercial purposes. Le Château de Goulaine is the third oldest commercial enterprise in the world and the oldest European family owned business. The chateau is also one of the last Châteaux de la Loire that produces wine to this day. The estate produces mostly Muscadet as well as Sancerre, Vouvray, and the first commercial Chardonnay in the western Loire Valley. Château de Goulaine also grows some Folle blanche.