Château de Jau
Roussillon, SW France
The work continues – 10 centuries on
Building on 10 centuries of viticultural and historical heritage, the Dauré family has developed a unique estate that combines hospitality, an art foundation and a beautiful expanse of vineyards surrounded by garrigue. Their work captures the soul of the Roussillon with an equal commitment to preserving a legacy and investing in the future.
Location: Cases de Pène, Roussillon, France
Working with us since: 2021
Viticultural standards: Organic (fully certified from 2021 harvest)
Total area under vine: 100 hectares (plus fruit sourced from local growers).
Interesting fact: The handwriting on the labels of Câteau de Jau’s JaJa range will be very recognisable for most French; they were designed by iconic painter Ben Vautier, popularly known simply as Ben. His distinct style, based on handwritten direct and meaningful messages, has a unique place in French culture. His playful yet elegant identity is fully conveyed in JaJa’s bottles and wines!
Château de Jau Wines
The history of Château de Jau dates back to the 12th century, when domaine de Clairana, along with the rights over the neighbouring Verdouble river, was given to the local Cistercian Abbey by the Bishop of Elne. The domaine was then renamed after the Abbey’s name – Jau – and the monks started growing vines and olives on the extensive grounds. Defence structures were built, namely a tower and high wall, to protect the land from the pirate attacks that plagued Roussilon at the time.
From the 15th to the end of the 19th century, the domaine was leased by the Xopi family. It was under Xopi’s leadership that the estate’s Château was built, as well as the structure (magnanerie) that housed another line of business the family introduced: silk farming. The magnanerie is now a contemporary art space that hosts regular exhibitions and workshops. Another important legacy of the period is the tricentennial mulberry tree, planted by the Xopis, which remains the domaine’s symbol.
After multiple changes of hands, Châteu de Jau was eventually bought, in 1973, by brothers Jean et Bernard Daur. Already working as négociants, this was the perfect opportunity to progress their wider long-term ambitions. They quickly started works of renovation and replantation, with a visionary approach that would make them pioneers of wine tourism and art patronage in the region. Their legacy continues and is now safely in the hands of Bernard’s son, Simon. He remains committed to his family’s determination to preserve the viticultural, historical and cultural heritage Château de Jau encapsulates. Simon is now leading the estate’s focus on sustainability and full conversion to organic farming, with all wines certified from the 2021 harvest.
The estate’s historical original buildings still stand – the tower, the magnanerie, the château… – as do the vineyards, now covering 100 hectares surrounded by 500 hectares of garrigues. A unique setting, at the core of an untouched wild landscape, that gives Jau’s wines much of their character and purity.