The Vine & The Land
Wine is a world of long traditions and strong heritages. It doesn’t come as a surprise that certain families have seen generations of winemakers inheriting the secrets and carrying on their legacy.
Most of the time, their names can be read on the label of the bottles they produce. But the story we want to tell you today is about a Bordeaux négociant regarded as instrumental in the development of Pomerol wines’ quality and fame.
Établissements Jean-Pierre Moueix was founded in 1937 in Libourne. Jean-Pierre was born in 1913 in Correze, but moved to Saint-Émilion with his parents right after the Great Depression in 1929. It was Jean-Pierre intuition that made him foresee the great potential of Merlot: not only the grape itself, but its ability to age when grown in the best terroirs of his adopted region. He started investing in properties all around Pomerol from the early 1950s, when the wines of the area were not recognized and acclaimed as they are today.
The company grew and so did its influence within the French wine market, becoming actually an influential factor in the development of Pomerol and Saint-Emilion reputation. According to British Master of Wine David Peppercorn, “the great age of Pétrus” began with the end of World War II and the successful 1945 vintage. Jean-Pierre Moueix acquired exclusive selling rights of the glorious Château Pétrus in that year and the international reputation of Pétrus began to grow. Very likely, the highlight of Jean-Pierre career was actually the acquisition of the château, started in 1961 and completed over the following years. Before then, the family had purchased the Saint-Émilion estate Château Magdelaine in 1952, while in Pomerol La Fleur-Pétrus in 1950 and Châteaux Trotanoy and Lagrange in 1953.
From 1962, Établissements Jean-Pierre Moueix manages Château Latour à Pomerol.
Later additions to the Moueix portfolio include the Napa Valley property Dominus Estate, the Pomerol châteaux Hosanna and Providence, and complete ownership of the Saint-Émilion estate Château Belair then renamed Chateau Bélair-Monange.
The Company Today
Jean-Pierre retired in 1978, leaving the properties to the care of his sons. He died in 2003, but his legacy has continued thriving inside and outside the boundaries of Bordeaux. Pétrus is one of the most collectible lables in fine wine. In 2011, at a Christie’s sale in New York, a bottle of the 1961 vintage – the year the purchase of the estate was started by Jean-Pierre – was bought for $144,000 (just above £100,000), setting a record for the most expensive Pétrus ever sold at auction.
Today the company employs 120 people, dealing in wholesale distribution of several Right Bank wines but also differentiating and acting as a bulk grape merchant, operating exclusive distribution for selected châteaux and managing its own portfolio of Pomerol and Saint-Émilion estates.