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It was Henri Brunier who penned the first chapter of this wonderful family story in 1891, in the village of Bédarrides, well known today as occupying the southeastern portion of the Châteauneuf-du-Pape AOC area. In that year, he gifted to his son Hippolyte some plots of land on La Crau, a place in those days considered practically unfit for cultivation, its soil a thankless proposition due to a high density of pebbles.

The latter planted his first vine stocks on this commanding plateau, where grapes had first been grown in the 14th century; and where, in 1821, Claude Chappe, inventor of the optical telegraph, built one of his signal towers. Hippolyte’s son, Jules, extended the estate to 42 acres and aptly named the fruits of his labours “Vieux Télégraphe”.


Frédéric et Daniel Brunier, la cinquième génération


At the end of the Second World War, Henri, the second thus named and the fourth generation, had the formidable task of reviving the estate and shaping its destiny. Not content with enlarging the Domaine to a single expanse of 136 acres, he gave this classic Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine its full dimension, creating a “Vieux Télégraphe” style and positioning it on all the world’s leading markets.

Since the early 1980s his two sons, Frédéric and Daniel, have been tending to the family concern.They now farm 242 acres in the Châteauneuf-du-Pape AOC area, and 37 acres of IGP Vaucluse and AOC Ventoux vines. Domaine Les Pallières must also be listed: acquired in 1998 in partnership with family friend Kermit Lynch, this single-plot 309-acre estate in Gigondas has 62 acres of vines.

The year 1998 also marked the creation of Massaya in Lebanon in association with Sami and Ramzi Ghosn, which now makes wines from 123 acres of vines, planted mainly in the northeast Beqaa Valley. After more than a century in existence, Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe and the subsequent additions, guided by the fifth generation of vignerons, and soon the sixth, has kept its original philosophy intact and very much alive.



Our philosophy? Organic-raisonné and sustainable grape-growing. Whether our team of vignerons are labouring on the hot Plateau of La Crau, in the lieux-dits of Pignan, La Roquète and Piedlong, or on the cold steep slopes in the district of Les Pallières, they are driven all year round by the conviction that the grapes should be able to thrive and be picked in the best possible conditions.

Fine fruit is essential for a fine vintage. To achieve this, they are quick to tailor each task to each parcel of vines: for instance, pruning, the spreading of organic manure and traditional ploughing are winter chores that may seem straightforward at first glance, but in fact demand great care. In springtime and summer, the same applies for the debudding, done by hand, and the removal of surplus unripe grapes and surplus leaves; balance is everything, and practically each vine enjoys its own.


“La Crau” et son sol dominé par le galet roulé


The treatments effected during the vegetative period respect the rules of organic agriculture and are also raisonnés, in order to meet two main goals:
- zero residues in the wines
- minimal external pollution

To fight vine moths (eudemis and cochylis), since 1997 we have used the technique known as “sexual confusion”. This simply involves saturating the vineyards with female pheromones, so that the disoriented male butterfly has great trouble in mating. The result? Fewer grape worms and healthier grapes, naturally. Harvesting, lastly, illustrates perfectly our philosophy of respect for tradition: the grapes are picked by hand and sorted twice, so that our winemakers receive the healthiest possible fruit. One last detail, which is indispensable to the concepts of terroir and AOC classification: we do not irrigate our vineyards.

Climate, mistral, historic grape varieties, soils, human intuition, exposure…

The personality of a terroir is a magical mixture of natural and human traits that suffices in itself to unveil an expression, or to convey a feeling, that no oenological technique can yet reproduce.



Just as the family have a vine-growing philosophy, we also have one about the vinifying and maturing of wine. The principal idea is to observe the grapes carefully, try to pinpoint a path to follow during vinification, and thus craft a vintage that reflects the year’s climate and events. Later, we also tailor maturation to the structure of the wines. Personality and balance are the two watchwords that influence our decisions and actions. The very exact scheme of traditional fermentation observes the customs of the local AOC: destemming, capmoistening, temperature management, cap-punching, fermentation time and a host of other parameters are adapted, adjusted and reviewed constantly, so as best to meet nature’s requirements and our own expectations.

Making vins de terroir and not recipes wines, wines for the table rather than for tasting, wines whose final quality is attained solely by virtue of their noble means of production - this is our vocation!



Inside information

Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe has been run by our family, the Brunier family, for five generations - since 1891 to be precise. The estate’s vineyards, 60 years old on average, are planted on the celebrated Plateau of La Crau, a site renowned for grape-growing in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. This terroir imparts to our wines a highly distinctive minerality, as if they have been filtered through the thick layer of large pebbles left behind when the Alpine glaciers melted, long before the Rhône Valley formed.

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