One of the oldest wine producers in the Rhône Valley, M. Chapoutier’s origin dates back to 1808. Yet, it was the arrival of Michel Chapoutier who put M. Chapoutier wines firmly on the wine world map and on the road to fame.
In 1989, young and open-minded Michel Chapoutier bought the family business from his grandfather, Marc, and promptly fired the other family members, including his father Max. It was a mess.
Marc had nominally handed over Maison Chapoutier to his son Max in 1977 but had remained very much involved.
Michel had been travelling to other wine regions, and when he returned in 1987, he assumed responsibility for vinification of the Chapoutier family wines. However, his brother and father retained responsibility for the maturation of these wines, so the wines were not Michel’s. And the results were bad. The business was struggling.
In 1989, Michel had enough – he went to his grandfather and told him that he was leaving and that he couldn’t work with his family anymore. His grandfather said he couldn’t leave, and offered to skip a generation, bypassing Max and handing the reins directly to Michel.
But Michel didn’t want the benefits of his hard work to go to underserving family members, so he issued an ultimatum – he wanted to buy the company himself, or he would leave.
Michel got his way, and the company.
Since then, the Chapoutier company, which was in peril, has been transformed beyond recognition. It is now a flourishing commercial success and has expanded far beyond its roots in the Rhône.
How Michel turned Chapoutier around was taking the company in a new but old direction – back to the land.
Then aged only 25, he was driven to seek, discover and reflect the full potential of the terroirs, letting the soils express their true character. Passionate about terroir, he lived and breathed it into every one of his wines, producing wines that reveal the very best of what the soils have to offer. He is a huge fan of granitic soils.
As for his personal life, Michel is a family man. He married Corinne in 1986 and is still married to her. She is more reserved than Michel, but they seem at ease together.
They have two children, now young adults: son Maxime and daughter Mathilde, who speaks Mandarin.
The Kings of Rhone Sale is on, so enjoy discounted prices and earn reward points shopping for your M. Chapoutier wines now!