Michel GonetEight generations of champagne makers in Avize, France
The Gonet Family now own over 40 hectares (98+acres) of vineyards in the Champagne region of France stretching from the South of Epernay Grand Cru villages of Avize, Oger and Le Mesnil sur Oger to the hillsides of Sezannes to Vindey. The Pinot Noir vineyards are located in Fravaux, on the hillsides of Bar sur Aubois in the south of Champagne.
About the Michel Gonet Family
Where does one begin when there are eight generations of Michel Gonet stories to tell about this iconic champagne and bordeaux family? One story that stands out is the following, which was told to us on our most recent visit to Epernay, France. Michel Gonet’s father, Jacques and his wife, Michelin, had five children. Michel, the oldest, dysphagic at birth, was saved by one of his grandfather’s war companions. Not being able to swallow it was feared that the young baby Michel, would die. The friend asked Michel’s parents if they had tried giving the child Champagne. Seeing the condition of the choking infant, he did not wait for a reply and gave the infant a sip from his glass of champagne. Miraculously, Michel Gonet was immediately cured and his life was literally saved by champagne. From that moment on, the Gonet Family knew that Michel would lead the family into the next century with his connection to the storied beverage. Believe it or not, it’s a true story.
And lead he did. In 1973, the cellars were modernized with the main objective being to improve the quality of the wine making. To do this, Michel Gonet modernized the cellars, located in Avize, that are dug deeply into the limestone. The improved cellar, favoring temperature balance and hygrometry, keeps the bottles in optimal conditions.
The Michel Gonet family now owns over 40 hectares (98+acres) of vineyards in the Champagne region of France. Their land stretches from the South of Epernay Grand Cru villages of Avize, Oger and Le Mesnil sur Oger to the hillsides of Sezannes to Vindey. The Pinot Noir vineyards are located in Fravaux, on the hillsides of Bar sur Aubois in the south of Champagne.
80% of grape production is Chardonnay and about 20% is Pinot Noir used for Rosé Champagne.
The Côte de Blancs Grand Cru (highest distinction in Champagne) vineyards are protected from cold winds and the rains that fall in the Marne Valley by the mountain of Reims. The combination of the climate and soil in the area are the essential features for Grand Cru classification.
The family’s main emphasis is on quality rather than volume and as a result the products have earned many awards over the years.
Champagne Michel Gonet is sold in selected locations throughout the world where they have many fans! Michel Gonet has sadly passed away in 2018. Thankfully he has put his daughter Sophie Gonet Signolle at the helm of the Gonet champagne house.
In 2011, the family purchased Villa Signolle by Michel Gonet. Located on the legendary Avenue de Champagne in Epernay, this historic building was listed in 2015 as world heritage by UNESCO. The Villa Signolle, from Sophie’s married name, has become a must see for champagne lovers. Offering bed & breakfast services, tours and tastings, this stunning estate is open to the public. Esteemed partners of Pier 71 Wines and club members can enjoy a luxurious stay in this extraordinary building.
Sophie is making her mark in the industry with more award winning vintage and non-vintage Champagnes year after year. Sophie has the honor to be the President of Women Winegrowers of Champagne and also “l’Universe du Gout en Champagne.” In 2021 she was awarded the highly prestigious title of Dame Dignitaire by the Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne. She travels all over the world to promote her Champagne and connect with enthusiasts.
Michel Gonet’s sons, Charles-Henri and Frederic, stand at the helm of the Gonet Bordeaux operation. In 1986, the family purchased Château Lesparre, 740 acres of Graves de Vayres and Bordeaux Superieur. The vineyard is not far from St Emilion at Beychac et Caillau. This historic vineyard, sitting on the border between the appellations Graves de Vayres and Bordeaux Superieur, comprises clay-chalk, deep clay and gravel soils. In 1998 they purchased Château d’Eck, an 11th century medieval property, a neighbor of the mythical Haut Brion in Pessac Leognan. Frederic, enchanted by the romantic bijou fortress, has been undergoing renovations to preserve this 11th century historical structure. In 1999 the acquisition of Château Haut-Bacalan was secured. Charles-Henri, who looks after the production side of the Bordeaux vineyards, is a devotee of careful, sustainable viticulture.
In addition to the aforementioned, the family also operate plots on exceptional terroirs: Château Haut-Brana on the heights of Noés, Château Saint-Eugène in Martillac, Château Haut-Évêque in Pessac, Château Durand-Bayle near Beychac and Caillau and the Château de la Rose Videau on the border between Libournais and Entre-Deux-Mers.
Favoring the left bank areas for Bordeaux, the wines show well, are balanced and enjoyed by many people all over the world. Pier 71 Wines is honored to bring such hand curated and special wine to the United States. We are confident you will embrace the multi-generational history of the Michel Gonet Family and appreciate the quality of the champagne, bordeaux and especially the value for money.