The cellars here contain one of the largest and oldest collections of any winery anywhere in the world, with the miles of underground cellars containing close to two million bottles at any one time, including a rare collection of ancient wines; the oldest dating back to the mid to late 19th century.
History documents that the first sweet wines were produced along the banks of the Layon in 1579, with Dutch merchants encouraging their production, since they appeared to have the stamina to survive the journey by boat back to the Low Countries. Whilst the family Touchais cannot claim to have pioneered the production of moelleux, their ancestors were certainly making wine as far back as 1787. That’s eight generations so far, and counting… The first six were situated not within the town, but in Tigné, the location of the original Moulin and it was from here that the original vineyard holding was built up, mostly to support the requirements for Cuisse de Bergère, a hugely successful inexpensive branded rosé that was developed by Joseph Touchais in the late 1940s and around the same period the business was transferred to the cellars in Doué-La-Fontaine.
The family still own an impressive 150 hectares of vines, spanning the communes of Tigné and Martigné-Briand, although the death of Joseph ten years ago saw the company split into two divisions; Vignobles Touchais, which retains 35 hectares of Chenin Blanc in the Coteaux-du-Layon appellation for the continued production of Moulin Touchais, whilst the other, Vin Touchais, is a trading company responsible for selling off the balance of the production in bulk to the larger Loire négoce; which is mostly vinified as base wine for Méthode Traditionelle.