According to local archives, the Gonnet family has been settled at Bédarrides since 1600… In 1880 Jean Etienne Gonnet built the farmhouse that serves as the headquarters of the estate today.
His grandson, Etienne Gonnet, created Font de Michelle in 1950. This 30 hectare vineyard – adjoining land connected all in one lot – is magnificently situated in the southeast of the Châteauneuf du Pape AOC. A mayor of Bédarrides from 1952 until 1964, Etienne Gonnet was an example of perseverance and rigour in his day.
Since 1975 his sons, Jean and Michel, have kept watch over the destiny of the estate. For over 30 years their concern has been to improve on wine making methods, to develop full-bodied wines that are concentrated, refined and through which the ‘terroir’ can express all of its qualities and thus, in so doing, elevate the estate’s renown to its highest level.
Today, their respective sons, Bertrand and Guillaume, bestow their enthusiasm and skill, in turn.
In 2002 the estate expanded with a magnificent 20 ha Côtes du Rhône and Côtes du Rhône Signargues property situated at Domazan in the Gard – La Font du Vent.
Parallel to both properties, the limited liability company, Gonnet Pères et Fils, sees to the distribution of the Font de Michelle and Font du Vent wines for the export market. The company also offers, under its own brand, wines from the Rhône valley that it selects with the utmost care.
Situated respectively on the left and the right banks of the river Rhône, Font de Michelle and Font du Vent sit on land that is out-of-the-ordinary; shaped by the sea and the Rhône River which have sculptured the countryside over millennia.
A chalky-clay soil covered for the most part with round pebbles (alpine diluvium). The pebbles hold the heat of the day and diffuse it to the vine stock during the night. This is an arid earth where the vine roots have to go down very deep to find the elements that they need to survive. The climate is very important; very little rain, a mistral wind that is often violent and which cleans up and allows for a good concentration of grapes at harvest time, plus an exceptional amount of sunlight (an average 1000 hours of sunshine in summer – 7 hours at 25°C).An emblematic land of Châteauneuf du Pape, Font de Michelle is made up of many place names: Font de Michelle, La Crau, La Pierre Plantée, Chartreuse, Croix de bois. As the archives state, Font de Michelle had been planted with vines under Napoleon 1st and certainly well before. Numerous Roman pottery shards and amphorae found on the site lie in silent witness.