Credit: Otilia Dragan/

On the evening of Monday 15 April 2024, Prince Félix of Luxembourg and Bernard-Massard presented the new vintage wines from Château les Crostes during a four-course dinner held at the Brasserie Robert Schuman in Luxembourg-Limpertsberg.

The Château les Crostes estate is nestled between forests and hills in the heart of the Provence region in France. Its 55-hectare vineyard surrounds the park and the building dating from the 17th century. In 1984, the property was transformed into a wine estate by Jean Didier with the construction of the ageing cellar following in 1990. In 1998, Château les Crostes passed into the care of the Lademacher family, then in 2013 into that of the second generation: Claire Lademacher, now Princess Claire of Luxembourg and Prince Félix of Luxembourg.

This family estate is rooted in clay-limestone soil, its vineyard is trellised and planted to enjoy maximum sun exposure. Château les Crostes offers a varied range of award-winning rosé wines, and also red wines, white wines and sparkling wines. Speaking to, Prince Félix of Luxembourg discussed the challenges posed by extreme weather on wine production and emphasised the need for adaptation and the importance of ecological practices in vineyard management. We have had particularly extreme weather conditions lately. How has this impacted the wine production?

Prince Félix: The weather has impacted wine production for sure. Every year it impacts it - on a winery, we never have the ideal weather. So we try to do with what we have. That's the most important [thing] - to see the positive side, to tell ourselves that no matter what happens, we'll make the best of it. I must say, over the last couple of years, there have been extreme weather conditions - before, it was always very smooth. For a couple of years it's been going to extremes, so if there's a lot of rain, there's huge amounts of rain. If there's no rain, there's a drought. We have to reevaluate, rethink, reorganise to be able to still produce the best quality wines for our customers with the weather conditions that we have. Are there any special features for these new vintages?

Prince Félix: What we try to do with the new vintage, for rosé we always try to keep the same taste that you tasted the year before. Why? Because someone who's drinking a nice rosé doesn't want it to change. He wants it to find the same rosé he tasted the year before and keep the same memories [...]. In terms of the quality of the wine, it can vary depending on the year, if you had a warm year or a rainy year. If you had a warm year, automatically the degree of sugar rises, so that means you have more alcohol. If you have a rainy year, maybe you'll have more wine depending, [...] but if you have a lot of rain, the degree of sugar is not as high. But with rosé, it's very easy to make a good quality wine with the grapes that we have in Château les Crostes, because we're well-situated and we're on a good "plateau". Could you tell us more about the cultivation process? Is it especially ecological?

Prince Félix: So we try every year to be much more ecological. There's a separation between two things - I don't want to brand myself "bio" [organic], because what I want to do, bio should be normal. It should be just what it is. But it should not be an effect for sales. What it should be is - you take care of your grounds, you take care of your vineyard and you make the best out of it, it's your future. So you have to take care of it like it's your children. You don't label your children as being "good people", you are just trying to educate them to be good people. That is the same with your vineyard. I don't want to compare children to vineyards, but if you want to do it in that sense, I think [with a vineyard], it's best that you bring out the best from what it has to offer. I don't want to throw out "bio or not" [...]. It's important for me the keep our ground the healthiest it can be, to make the best quality wine out of it, and to be able to protect my people who work there. I have a lot of things to juggle. What do you think about natural wines?

Prince Félix:
 So you have biodynamic and you have bio. For me, biodynamic could be natural wines. Biodynamic is mostly employing different kinds of systems to being able to arrive at that - some people do it with horses [...]. I've tasted a lot of good and bad wines, no matter where it comes from, if it's bio, biodynamic or normal wines. [...] What you'll try to produce is not going towards one dynamic but to what the ground demands. So the ground demands to harvest it in a different way - you are the custodian of your grounds. So make the best out of it, give it the best potential, so that you have the best fruit to create the best product. How do you know you have a particularly good vintage?

Prince Félix: First of all, it's the year - depending on rain, depending on the wind and sunshine. For a "perfect" year you need rain, not too much rain but just enough rain. Right after, you need wind to dry out the vines, so that you don't have mushrooms and then from that, you need sunshine to have the degree of sugar that goes up and that for a constant time. One, two days of rain, a week of sunshine. That would be the perfect year but the perfect year doesn't exist [...] and I don't want it to exist, otherwise it becomes too simple. What I like is being in a situation which is interesting and changes every year so that you reinvent yourself and then become more intelligent in the way that you produce wine, change your vintages, make it better. It has to change, it has to be different. And then sometimes nature gives you a break and makes it a great year.