©Domaine Walbaum

Winegrowing and tourism successfully combine

Ludovic and Chloëe Walbaum have decided to write a new chapter by refocusing the family’s historic wine estate around the Villa Walbaum. Let’s meet them…

“I’ve long been a firm believer in the cultural and tourist attractions offered by Ardèche, of which wine is an integral part. The experiential is in our DNA. Our common language oscillates between viticulture and tourism, between savoir-faire and savoir-vivre.”

Wine tourism has been Ludovic Walbaum’s driving force since the 1990s. After 12 years in prestigious wine-growing regions, such as Bordeaux, Burgundy and Vaucluse he took over the family estate at Vallon-Pont-d’Arc in 2000, picking up the reins from his father Philippe and becoming the seventh generation of winemakers.

The extraordinary Chauvet cave, which he was lucky enough to visit, reinforced his desire “to build bridges between his wines, the landscapes, the heritage of Ardèche and art”.

For many years now, he and Chloëe have been developing their estate and wine tourism, sharing the ‘artisan winegrower’ values of authenticity, passion, generosity, commitment and simplicity which are so dear to his family.

At the same time, Ludovic is involved in a number of national, regional and departmental organisations (1).

(1) Vice-president of the Vignerons Indépendants de France union in charge of wine tourism, president of Vignerons Indépendants 07, vice-president of 2000 vins d’Ardèche.
©Gwen Dumoulain photographe
Chloëe et Ludovic Walbaum © Gwen Dumoulin photographe (3)

Preserve, renew, share and pass on…

In 2020, the couple, who live in the middle of the estate with their two children, Louis and Inès, felt the need to take a more environmentally responsible approach and decided to convert the vineyard to organic agriculture. They re-centred the estate around the family home. The old Tuscan-style villa, which nestles in the heart of some fifty hectares of land, including 12 hectares of vines in production, has been tastefully transformed in a contemporary manner into a 4-star hotel.

In June 2021, the Hôtel Villa Walbaum welcomed… and seduced its first visitors!

“We wanted to combine the charm of the past with the requirements of the future to honour and perpetuate my family’s long and proud history,” says Ludovic Walbaum enthusiastically. “Our aim is simple: to offer inspiring and unforgettable experiences in our enchanting, timeless setting, surrounded by vineyards, the river, cliffs, olive groves, springs and ancient woodlands…”

Wine tasting of the estate’s wines accompanied by local produce, wine & yoga, cycle wine tourism, canoe wine tourism (canoeing + wine tasting), wine tasting in the trees (aperitifs in the canopy, sylvotherapy)… there’s no shortage of wine tourism options!

The notion of slow tourism takes on its full meaning in this haven of natural peace less than 5 minutes’ walk from the centre of Vallon-Pont-d’Arc.

In the large room next door, around twenty superb, brightly coloured boats are waiting patiently to sail on the river Ardèche. Others will go much further afield in Europe, such as Switzerland or Belgium. 30% are exported. Originally from Ardèche, Benjamin Mella created the Ardèche canoe brand ‘Vogueur’ in 2016. It is a carefully thought-out project for this river and canoe enthusiast, who discovered canoeing at the age of 8 at the Annonay club.

Ludovic Walbaum, Louis et Inès - mai 2023 © Sébastien Gayet (2)
©Sébastien Gayet


Domaine Walbaum Vineyard (12 ha) et Hotel Villa Walbaum**** (11 11 rooms and 1 suite)

615 Routes des Estrades

07150 Vallon-Pont-d’Arc

+33(0)4 75 88 04 04


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