There are some parts of the world where wine production has been such an integral part of the local culture for so long, that wine is in the very DNA of the region.

It is in the blood of the people who live and work there; the kind of places where it would be unimaginable to sit down to a meal without at least a glass or two of vino.

The Southern Rhone Valley is perhaps the dictionary definition of such a place, and it is here we find the grand old winery of Font de Michelle.

To say that the Gonnet family - who run proceedings at Font de Michelle - have a deep connection with the Southern Rhone Valley would be a fairly ridiculous understatement.

This family has held high positions in the region since the 1500s, and have included in their family tree respected Rhone-based businesspeople, social reformers, farmers and philanthropists.

The Gonnet family are now based on the estate their ancestor - Jean Etienne - bought back in 1880, land which was originally to be used as an olive farm.

In the 1950s, it was converted into a winery, after members of the extended family who own Vieux Telegraphe (probably the most renowned estate in the Southern Rhone) commented on how beautiful their land was, and how ideal it would be for viticulture.

Since then, the winery has expanded to 27 hectares of pristine vines, most of which are used to produce red and white Ch√Ęteauneuf du Pape and Cotes du Rhone wines of remarkable finesse and character.

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