Located in the picturesque Mosel river valley, Château de Wintrange is the historic monument of the village of Wintrange.
Named as one of the most beautiful privately owned castles in the Luxembourg region in Hémecht, Château de Wintrange carries a long history of Nobles and Lords and simple people who were lucky enough to be the temporary guardians of this Renaissance gem.
Built in 1610 by Alexandre de Musset, Sire of Foetz, it has changed family ownership 18 times.
The village name “Wintrange” was first documented in writings in 987 AD, although the area has been inhabited for several millennia. The Romans were the first to cultivate vineyards in the fertile soil of the Mosel Valley. Remains of Roman villas have been excavated in the area.
The castle was built with its own well system, waterways, a walled park and own vineyards. The surrounding property was much larger in the 1600s than today, then being tended by servants.
The main building structure with its four towers hasn’t changed in the past four centuries. In the 30-year war (1618-1648) some fortifications were added, as well as a gunport to protect the main entrance.
In the 18th century, the annexed barn with the 5th tower was built as an interconnected extension. It was mainly used a horse stable.
In the 1930’s, iron ore mining industrial Nick Schlesser hunted game in the lush forests above the village and fell in love with this little jewel of a castle in the valley. Previously owned by Gisbert de Witt, who cultivated the park into an orchard, the Château de Wintrange was sold in 1938 by Notary Champagne to Nicolas Schlesser.
Today, Château de Wintrange is still privately owned and carefully restored by Nick's grandson Philippe Schlesser and his family.
The castle and park are still the Schlesser family’s private residence and can be rented for events, weddings, film and photo shoots.
Nick Schlesser was an industrious man. Born and raised in Rumelange, one of Luxembourg's iron ore mining towns, he grew up working in the mining industry. The family business, a hunting equipment store and restaurant, was a husband & wife operation. Nick went hunting, and his wife prepared the hunted game in the restaurant, appropriately named 'Juegdstuff' (Hunting lounge).
As the mining business slowed down in the early 1940's, the Schlesser family shifted focus to the Château’s orchard and started selling their fruit in various épiceries in Luxembourg city. A distillery was opened on the castle grounds to distill ripe fruit and make some delicious fruit Schnapps.
But nothing lasts forever. WWII shattered Europe. Nick suffered a stroke after returning to a ruin after being evacuated from the property during the war. As Nick was paralyzed and was confined to a wheelchair, his son Henri Schlesser took over the operations with his mother in 1942 at the age of 13. Nicolas Schlesser passed away in 1952 succumbing to another stroke, at the age of 57. Henri kept the promise he gave his father on his dying bed, to keep the castle in the family, protect and restore it to its original beauty.
Henri, who liked to be called 'Hank' in English, and 'Heng' in Luxembourgish, worked in the construction business, and spent all of his spare time fixing the castle throughout his lifetime. Villagers always said that he wasn't married to his wife, but to the castle - which seemed appropriate, looking at the amount of time he spent on ladders renovating and restoring the family property. This castle was his life, and his life's work. Henri passed away at the age of 81 in December of 2010.
His son Philippe Schlesser, who studied Industrial Design in Denmark and Canada, took over the family heritage, and has started redesigning the property to make it more publicly accessible. After decades of the gates being closed to the public, Philippe plans to use the space for community and cultural events.
In order to finance the ongoing renovations and restorations of such a National Historic Monument, the castle lends itself as a venue for weddings, private and corporate events.
Being a product designer, Philippe Schlesser has created a designer label based around the family property. The brand, called Chatwin, carries a line of unique kitchen and household products, designed in the spirit of the Château aesthetic and heirloom qualities. The name is derived from the Chateau de Wintrange , as well as one of his favourite travel writers Bruce Chatwin. When Philippe isn't working around the castle or designing Chatwin products, he spends a good amount of time doing humanitarian work in developing countries with his organization DesignAID.