Joseph Noilly, in 1813, is credited with the creation of France's first vermouth. In 1855, his son Louis Noilly and son-in-law Claudius Prat set up the company that became Noilly Prat. They moved the business to Marseillan where it remains to this day.
The process used today is virtually unchanged since the 1850s. Noilly Prat is made exclusively from white grape varieties grown in the Marseillan area, principally Picpoul de Pinet and Clairette. These produce light, fruity wines which are matured in massive Canadian oak casks inside the original storerooms. The wine stays in these casks for 8 months, maturing and absorbing the flavour of the wood, before being transferred to smaller oak barrels which are taken outside and left for a year.
In the oak casks, a process of maceration, supposedly unique to Noilly Prat, takes place. This process involves a blend of some twenty herbs and spices added by hand every day for a period of three weeks.