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 ... Read more
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. Read less