From the Middle Ages to today...
From the Jacobin Friars to the JEAN and JOINAUD families
Almost seven centuries
spent celebrating the generosity of a great terroir, of wine, and relentlessly
perpetuating the tradition of the Classified Growths of Saint-Émilion.
Couvent des Jacobins was established on top of one of the highest points of Saint-Émilion, following a land bequest in 1389 to the Dominican friars, whose members were known as « Jacobin Brothers ».
Dominican friars in the region were also offering shelter to Christian pilgrims making the Way of Saint-James through France and down to Spain.
For almost four centuries, the friars were also growing vines and making wine, taking advantage of a well-exposed vineyard located immediately outside the city moats. Back in the days, Couvent des Jacobins already exported its wines, in particular to the royal courts of England and France. And over that period, the wines of Couvent des Jacobins became among the most representative of the area.
The Dominican brotherhood was dissolved shortly before the French Revolution and the friars left the Couvent des Jacobins around 1780. The Couvent was confiscated at the French Revolution and then sold as a national estate ("bien national").
Between 1790 and the beginning of the 20th century, only two families, GUADET and VAUTHIER, owned Couvent des Jacobins.
In 1902, Jean JEAN, also known as « gentil Jean » (the kind Jean) purchased Couvent des Jacobins. In 1926, he donated Couvent des Jacobins to his daughter, Berthe JEAN. Berthe JEAN continued making changes and additions to the estate over the following three decades, including the refurbishment of the cement cellar between 1957 and 1965 and the acquisition of new ones, including on the limestone plateau of Saint-Émilion.
In 1969, the national syndicate INAO awarded Couvent des Jacobins the rank of Grand Cru Classé, recognizing the consistency of the wines and the family efforts to preserve this remarkable site.
Rose-Noëlle BORDE, the daughter of Noël JOINAUD, and her husband Alain BORDE then took over the estate. They rehabilitated the former bakery of the monks and the underground cellars. They also constructed the cloister and restored the former gardens.
In 2010, Xavier JEAN, the great-great-grand son of Jean JEAN, started its involvement in Couvent des Jacobins. He is assisted by Denis POMARÈDE, the estate manager, who joined Couvent des Jacobins in 1996. We often wonder what the Jacobin Brothers would say if they saw the liveliness of Couvent des Jacobins, more than 600 years after their arrival!