Arcachon France is the Inspiration for Arcachon Wines

Arcachon Cellars is a new brand just introduced by Oak Knoll Winery.

According to Greg Lint, president of Oak Knoll, “Arcachon is a region in Bordeaux France. Our founder is Ron Vuylsteke. Ron’s grandfather Leonard Vuylsteke began his winemaking career in Arcachon before he immigrating to the United States. We wanted to create a brand that would honor those roots, and better explain our origin.”

HOW IT ALL BEGAN: The coastal community of Arcachon is located in the southwest region of France on the Bay of Arcachon. About 40 miles southwest from the heart of Bordeaux, it’s situated on the Atlantic coastline of the Gironde region. Here, both red and white wines are crafts. While mostly being a region renowned for its Arcachon oysters, it’s also very famous for a few prestigious vineyards that you’ll quickly recognize: Margaux, Château Lafite, and Mouton Rothschild.

Arcachon was the inspiration for Oak Knoll Winery honoring their historical roots, which began here.

Ron Vuylsteke’s grandfather Leonard Vuylsteke, a native of Belgium, started making wine in the Arcachon Bay region. Leonard then moved to St. Emilion, where he became the village winemaker in the early 1900s. (What a kick… a village winemaker!) He next immigrated to the United States with his family, on one of the last ships able to make safe passage out of Europe just before World War I. Arriving at Ellis Island in New York, the family traveled across the country by train to join relatives, who had settled in the farmland of the northern Willamette Valley. Grandson Ron Vuylsteke also became a winemaker, and went on to become a pioneering legend in Oregon’s winemaking history.

These extreme value wines were crafted by winemaker Jeff Herinckx, Ron Vuylsteke’s nephew, during a time when people appreciate these prices… especially with the Willamette Valley AVA associated with them.

  • 2008 Arcachon Cellars Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley ~ Suggested Retail $11.99
  • The Arcachon Pinot Gris’ delicate nose and flavors of melon, pear, and apple all come together in this crisp, well balanced wine. The finish is delicately lingering.

    Winemaker Jeff Herinckx relied on the natural interaction between the wine and yeast lees to accentuate the fruit’s natural richness. Fermented and aged in stainless steel, this technique added to the wines texture, depth, and complexity. This technique gave the wine a finely tuned balance of acidity to fruit intensity.

  • 2008 Arcachon Cellars Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley ~ Suggested Retail $11.99
  • The Arcachon Pinot Noir was cold soaked for one week before fermentation. This allowed for winemaker Jeff Herinckx to extract flavors from the skins, enhancing its fruity characters. After a week in tanks, yeast was added to begin fermentation. Two different styles of yeast were used: 60 percent fermirouge, which creates more body; and, 40 percent Ruby which intensifies the fruit flavors.

    Each vineyard lot was separately pressed, settled, then racked into small French Oak barrels. These subtle changes were made to create a more approachable wine at an earlier age, and decrease the harsh tannins. We primarily rely on Tonnellerie Remond and Francois Freres for our Pinot Noir barrels. These Burgundian coopers, along with Saury and Sansaud, were utilized to provide the predominately medium-toast barrels from the Nevers, Allier, Borgogne, and Vosges forests. After twelve months in oak, the vineyard lots were racked and individually tasted. Next came blending of the individual vineyard lots, with the unfined, finished wine then being bottled.

    Rich plums and delicate berry fruit are the most delightful flavors that dominate this wine. Very easy to enjoy now, and well worth the price tag as a great value from Willamette Valley.

Here’s and cheers to Arcachon Cellars and the birth of a new wine brand!

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10 Responses to “Arcachon France is the Inspiration for Arcachon Wines”

  1. Skip says:

    I’m pretty sure Jeff is not Rons’ nephew. But I’ll ask him next time I see him. Now I think Greg is Rons’ step-son though.

  2. Jo Diaz says:

    Skip, I’m 100 percent sure that he is.

  3. Bruno Gonzalez says:

    I was born in Arcachon, France and lived there for 47 years before moving to British Columbia, Canada.
    Your story about the Belgian winemaker from Arcachon sounds more like a fabricated fairytale than fact to me. Arcachon is not far from the many localities producing wine around Bordeaux, but if you had been there only once, you would know that there has never been any winemaking going on in Arcachon. If only you had any knowledge of the geology and history of Arcachon you would be more cautious before propagating such nonsense; it is simply technically not possible, as a so called wine specialist, you should know that…
    Indeed, some locals from La Teste or Gujan Mestras would have grown in their backyards some grapes to provide them with low grade wine for their own consumption, but certainly even such minor activity never took place in Arcachon proper.
    Arcachon Cellars ! certainly the most hilarious label I have seen ever.

  4. Jo Diaz says:

    Bruno, when a story is handed by a family, it is what it is.

    If I were to tell you that my great grandfather (14 generations ago) was sent over by King James to preach that version of the bible, and discovered Boston in 1623, you’d probably not believe that either… But, it’s true, as was having a great grandfather in Salem during the witch trials; that too, is true.

    We weren’t there, but families can trace their history,a nd I’ll take that over anyone’s impressions of today.

  5. Jo Diaz says:

    This was just sent to me in an Email, and I appreciate the person’s perspective.

    i am sorry my english is bad. I live in GUJAN MESTRAS at 20 km ARCACHON. I think [the] history [of the] great father cellars arcachon is true. I don’t understand all [of the] article, do you speak french ? the wine [growing is] dead because [of] xylophera….
    thank you

    miss dominique [removed last name, because she’s not answered me yet, whether or not I could publish her name.]

    I’ve also thought about his a lot. If I were to tell the immigrants from Somalia that Lewiston, Maine was a thriving mercantile community in the 1950s, they’d have a hard time getting it. Time marches on, and history is left to those with a memory or a passion to know.

  6. Baste says:

    Incredible! Wine in Arcachon? Do you know the area you speak of? Our territory has never been wine producer. Maybe the term is commercially attractive to American ears, but it makes no sense.

  7. Jo Diaz says:


    I’m not in the habit of creating tales for the sake of marketing. I’m about to address 20+ delegates from Eurasia, brought to this country by the US Department of Commerce. I’m no spin doctor.

    First of all… This has been handed down in a family that generations ago had a winemaker who made wine in Arachon. When the family came to the US, it skipped one generation, and then they began again to make wine. This happened in Oregon from any Vitis vinifera was available, like raspberries….. And still do use other fruit to make wine, besides using Vitis vinifera. Fermenting fruit and making wine doesn’t have to conform to what you believe an area can or cannot produce with only vinifera wine grapes.

    If it’s handed down by family, there’s more truth than your reality. I’m betting that Arachon is similar to Mendocino County. One of my friends lives and works (at her winery) right on the cliffs of the Pacific Ocean, the most westerly point, actually. She’s quite the winemaker (Sally Ottoson of Pacific Star Winery… check out her site, with barrels *outside,* lees being stirred by the movement of the waves coming in and rocking the coast line.) Sally makes wine there, in the most prohibitive conditions available, and makes a lot of it. Do you want to know how? By having fruit *brought* to her. Why hasn’t this occurred to the naysayers who are so incredulously indignant that this could even happen. In the days before motor cars and trucks, do you really think the people in Arachon didn’t drink wine, just because they lived beside the ocean with oceanic conditions. I guess you’d have to be in the wine business to realize that if someone wants to make wine in a barrel, he or she will find a way, in a garage, having it trucked in, finding a cooperative, etc.

  8. Jo Diaz says:

    Village winemakers existed, regardless of the quality of the wine… which, I’m certain in days of old, was nothing like today’s high tech production… Humbly, they existed and made a fermented beverage. I find it interesting that Bruno states, “Indeed, some locals from La Teste or Gujan Mestras would have grown in their backyards some grapes to provide them with low grade wine for their own consumption.” I never wrote that this was a winemaker of world regard, other than the fact that he was the local winemaker. Did local candle stick makers try to compare themselves, or do we compare them to serious candlestick makers of today? No, we don’t. It was what it was, and if was backyard grapes, like my own, make it, share it, and get a neighborhood reputation for being the go-to guy…

    Seriously, some people are so serious.

    A little perspective on village winemakers and how they’ve existed in our thoughts and hearts…

    LINK: A great story that indicates the history of a village winemaker… Written by Zalin Grant, who is an American journalist and author. Zalin lives in a l5th-century farm house in the heart of France with his wife Claude, a Parisian whose family roots in the village go back hundreds of years.

    LINK: A great image of a village winemaker

    LINK: Earthbound Expeditions lists, “Getting to know a local baker, sipping a fine Vino Nobile with the village winemaker or strolling through a colorful outdoor market is precisely what travel is all about for us.”

    LINK: French Tour company target=”_blank”>George Duboeuf: … Search on village winemaker. Fitou, halfway between Narbonne and Perpignan, on the edge of the lake Leucate, at the foot of his castle. Village winemaker, their terroir believed to be Fitou.

    LINK: George Duboeuf: The man who made this tasting into a worldwide event every year on the third Thursday of November is village winemaker turned importer George Duboeuf, hero of I’ll Drink to That: Beaujolais and the French Peasant Who Made It the World’s Most Popular Wine by Rudolph Chelminski.

    LINK: La Garderie, Provence West, you can rent the home of a former village winemaker… “La Maison du Vigneron is a completely renovated and restored townhouse in the heart of Katzenthal, one of the Alsace wine region’s most famous and most scenic villages (the French tourism council has named Katzenthal one of France’s plus beaux villages, a coveted distinction awarded only to the most truly beautiful of France’s endless list of charming villages and towns). Once the home of a village winemaker and his family, La Maison du Vigneron now houses four private apartments, each decorated with great taste and style, and with thoughtful attention to combining charm with comfort, and authenticity with convenience.”

    LINK: Carces villa rental ~ This completely renovated 200-year-old house, which originally belonged to a village winemaker, is the owners’ second home — perfect for self-catering holidays in the non-peak seasons. The large, three-level village house has all the amenities anyone would expect for daily life – and more – (Stairway to Heaven?)

    LINK: In stories ~ ” title=”Wyne The Glutton” target=”_blank”>Wyne the Glutton ~ One of the trio of rogue elite demonesses that plague the countryside near Ronail, Wyne desires not gold or power as her companions do, but lives only for her next meal. Originally known as Jae, the portly sister of a village winemaker, she was visited by a flaeme in disguise who tempted her into murdering her brother and his family to seize control of the vineyard. Apparently impressed with her willingness to commit atrocities with virtually no hesitation or regret, the devil lord bestowed both beauty and beastly powers to his newest recruit.

  9. Bruno Gonzalez says:

    Hi Jo,

    I am glad that Baste supports my point of view; I would like to add that you are right when you say that anything brewed in someone’s garage may be called “wine” by its creator, as long as he is brave enough to dare drink it but, this can only happen in North America! not in old Europe…
    We do not agree because in France, and specifically in the Bordeaux region, you cannot dissociate a product, (wine) from the very precisely defined “terroir” where it has been created, and from the people (professional winemakers, working according to the best practice rules defined by tradition within a specific terroir).
    Yes, in the old days, low quality wine was made on the South shore of “Le Bassin d’Arcachon” (The Arcachon Bay), as I previously stated, but Never in Arcachon proper. Arcachon is a municipality, distinct from its neighbors, (La Teste, Gujan-Mestras,etc). One has to be specific about terroir, and around Bordeaux you can find so many very different terroirs within neighboring municipalities and often within one single municipality, village size; and believe me, there is a huge difference between Arcachon and La Teste, for instance, although being only 5 kilometers apart, the soil is different, Arcachon was built on sand dunes, no topsoil, very unique hydrology and micro-climate, etc; and since the town’s creation in the early nineteenth century, the place was developed as a resort dedicated to activities linked to the sea, like bathing or later the care of wealthy victims of tuberculosis, later again Arcachon became a major commercial fishing center. There never was anyone there working in any way in agriculture, everything was “imported” from elsewhere, including food and beverages.
    We people from Arcachon are very picky about the way the name of our beloved
    town is used or misused, and as natives of the Bordeaux wine region, we are also very picky about what deserves to be called wine.

    Best regards, Bruno.

  10. Jo Diaz says:

    Bruno, Awesome, and now I’m going to have my sources pick the brain of the descendent, to get the exact information that will back you up. the family has the legend, now it needs to be very closely investigated.

    Thanks. I’ll be back, once we have more info.

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