HISTORY : THE FAMILY, THE HOUSE AND THE CELLARS
Jean Berthet-Bondet, like his wife Chantal, does not come from a long line of winemakers, although among some of Chantal's family there are some winemakers from the Languedoc, and Jean's great-great grandfather worked as a winemaker at Clos Vougeot. Jean's family are well established as craftsmen. His maternal grandfather was a wood turner (his old pedal lathe is on display in the cellars) and his paternal grandfather was a maker of combs, which used to be the speciality of the small industrial town of Oyonnax in the department of Ain, from where the family originated. Jean's father and brother moved away from the traditional crafts and to the modern business for which Oyonnax is now famous, injected plastics, and concentrated on making spectacle frames, founding one of the first enterprises in this sector.
Jean decided very early that he did not wish to follow this particular path, and so pursued a course in agronomy at Montpellier, where he met Chantal. Instead of following the traditional period of military service required in France, Jean became a "cooperante" and worked as a researcher in Nepal, where he learned how to better recognise zebu (wild oxen), buffalo and yaks! He completed his period of working the land in 1985 with an apprenticeship and then settled at Chateau-Chalon. Chantal continued to work at the Agricultural College at Montmorot as a teacher of plant science and then as an agronomist with the "Direction Departementale de l'Agriculture".
The "domaine" was bought in 1984 and the first harvest completed in 1985. The main part of the house is built over a vaulted cellar, and dates back to the 16th century. The mullioned windows, the door surmounted with two coats of arms and the turret all bear witness to this. The proximity of a 13th century tower indicates that this may be the site of an even older building, but there is no other evidence of this. The house is said to be part of the abbey and probably housed either the owner or bursar. The coats of arms over the main door are both of noble Franche-Comte houses, the de Rye and the de Quingey families, and many of the abbesses of Chateau-Chalon came from these two families.
In the 18th century the house apparently belonged to the Marquis Martin de Barjon, a nobleman from Arbois, who "emigrated" at the beginning of the Revolution. All his goods were seized and the house sold for the benefit of the nation. The house was eventually bought back from the state by the very person who did the valuation, a farmer by the name of Jean Roussot! Since then, it has been home to many generations of farmers and winemakers and has grown over the years. In 1986 an old barn was converted to hold the vats, in 1987 a maturing cellar of 400 square metres was built and in 1997 a room for storing and labelling the bottles was added.
Maison du Prieuré, 18 june 1892
In the 1960's, the writer Bernard Clavel stayed in Chateau-Chalon where he found the inspiration for many of his novels, including "L'Espagnol". This was adapted for television in 1965 by Jean Prat, and starred Jean-Claude Roland, Paul Frankeur, Roger Ibanez, France Beucler and Dominique Davray. The film, full of emotion, follows the life and times of a Spanish refugee and his eventual integration into a small winegrowing community.
On the left side Bernard Clavel et Jean Prat
On the right side Jean-Claude Rolland
Always a glass in hand !! Chantal and the three children: Hélène, Simon et Clément
Vines often need a lot of care and attention. Mechanisation is difficult and so that means that the majority of the work has to be done by hand, and therefore requires a lot of people. Our workers are all indispensable. Andre (known as Dede) is the oldest, and he retired in 2001. Raphael (Bibi) started with us in 1990. Thomas is the newest recruit, joining us in 2002. They are all multi-skilled and know how to take the initiative, when it is necessary. We must not forget Patricia, who shares her time between the vines, the cellars and at events.
The domain has an area of 10 hectares (24 acres) under cultivation, of which 5 hectares (12 acres) come under the appellation of Chateau-Chalon and 5 hectares (12 acres) under the appellation of Cotes du Jura, 3.5 ha (9 acres) of white grapes and 1.5 ha (3 acres) of red. Half of the vines are more than 30 years old, and the other half were planted between 1985 and 1990.
F-39210 CHÂTEAU CHALON . PHONE +(33) 03.84.44.60.48 . FAX +(33) 03.84.44.61.13 . email@example.com