The Droin family is amongst the oldest in Chablis, its members having been wine growers for nearly five centuries.

 

Since the year of 1620, fourteen generations of vignerons have transmitted their “savoir-faire” down from father to son.

During François 1st’s reign, in 1547, a certain Jehan Droin was already working on an arpent of vineyard in the Clos which was owned by the lepers hospital St Sebastian, later linked to the Hotel-Dieu.

 
Lease signed in 1547 by Jehan Droin



In 1698, Jehan Droin was a wine grower, a “brandevinier” and also a barrel maker.

If today Jean-Paul and Benoit are the only bearers of the Droin family name, during the 18th century about ten families with one common Droin ancestor used to live in Chablis.

In 1791, Jean Boniface Droin became the owner of a few parcels of vineyard during the sale of the National goods.

 

Diverse records mention the Droin family over the centuries including on May the 6th 1866 when the Emperor Napoleon III visited Auxerre a certain Edme Jean Baptiste Droin presented the Emperor with some bottles of his wine. To thank him the Emperor gave him a silver wine taster with the coat of arms of the empire engraved upon it. This has been passed down through the generations in the safekeeping of the eldest son in each family.
    The wine taster offered by Napoleon III


Louis Droin (1876-1943)    
On June 19th 1923, Louis Droin , Jean-Paul’s great-grandfather was elected president of the “Union des Propriétaires Vignerons de Chablis”, an organisation established to prevent fraud and to authenticate the origin of the wine.


tampon Union    
This Union has since become known as the “Syndicate de défense de l’appellation Chablis” and Jean-Paul is today one of its vice presidents.




In 1950 Marcel Droin, great grandfather to Benoit created the “Fete des Vins de Chablis”.
He was also one of the founder members of the “Confrérie des Piliers Chablisiens” as well as being a member of the committee of the INAO.
    étiquette Chablis Grand Cru Grenouille



In 1965 Jean-Paul joined the family business and learned his profession “on the job” from his father, Paul and grandfather, Marcel.


 
Wine gathering in the Clos in 1954         Jean-Paul’s first wine gathering



By 1983, he had taken over the family business with the help of his wife Catherine, who gave up her job to manage the running of the business and the marketing of its wines.



In 1999, their youngest son Benoit, representing the fourteenth generation, started at the Domain after having spent five years studying for the National Diploma of Oenology at Beaune and the University of Dijon. He is now chief winemaker in the new winery built at the foot of the Grand Cru vineyards.


Jean-Paul & Benoît Droin

 

On November the 1st 2002, the SCEV Jean-Paul and Benoit Droin was created. The Domain has been enlarged by 4.30 ha in Chablis, Premier Crus Montmains and Grand Crus Les Clos, thanks to a lease granted to Benoit by his cousin Christiane Droin-Lucas, now retired.

Catherine has become the Domain manager, assisted by Marie, Benoit’s wife and by Martine who has been the secretary of the domain since 1994.

The Domain now consists of more than 25 ha spread over the four appellations as follows :

Petit Chablis  1,30 ha
Chablis  9 ha
Premiers Crus (8 parcels)          11 ha
Grands Crus (5 parcels)  4,14 ha

It is principally made up of vineyards acquired over the centuries by 13 generations of wine growers who have never left their native soil. This explains the typically Burgundian divisions of the land.



Further dates :
1900 - the vines were replanted after the phylloxera epidemic
1945 - the first horizontal electric press was bought (only used in 1946 because all the vines froze that year)
1947 - the vineyard of Grenouille was replanted
1956 - the first vine straddling tractor was bought
1960 - at last the vines were protected against frost
1983 - quantity and quality. In Chablis it is possible !
1984 - the old cellars of la Providence were bought
1986 - the first wine to be vinified in new barrels
1987 - cellars built in the centre of Chablis
1999 - a new winery is built and investment in the transport of the grapes and a pneumatic press is bought.
2002 - in February, David the vineyard manager joined the company
2003 - a lease was signed to take over a vineyard in the Premier Cru Mont de Milieu