A family through the ages
Vines and olive trees are often compared to men. When talking about their growth cycle, we usually refer to youth, adolescence, adulthood, and to maturity. It is customary to say that the older the vines, the less plentiful their yield but the better the quality.
This metaphor fits in perfectly well with the vines and olive trees of Château Virant. It conveys better than anything else the story of the Cheylan family. Pascal and Christine Cheylan are both young and vigorous; they may be compared to the spirited nature of young vines and olive trees. They’re proud and quick. And they harvest year in and year out the fruit of their daily efforts.
Like mature vines, Robert and Noële Cheylan, their parents, are a fountain of experience and of wisdom. They are engraved in the bedrock of Château Virant. They guarantee the identity and reputation of its wines and olive oils. Thus, the destiny of the family is intimately intertwined with that of the cycle of its vines and olive trees. They have been able to maintain the consistency and quality which now make the reputation and fame of Château Virant, standing strong through difficult years and reaching deep in their hearts for the necessary resources.
From Origins to Present-day
Protohistoric Era – The Site of Wirant is a rocky peak overlooking the estate which now bears its name. Its history goes back to the Stone Age. Over the years, it was successively a place of worship, of sacrifice, of lodging and of protection for the villagers. Nowadays, the site is a gorgeous climbing rock with a surprising scenic view over the plain from the Berre Pond to the Sainte Victoire Mountain.
1632: The Underground cellar of Chateau Virant is created. Olive trees and vines are then planted on the lands of the estate and the wine ages in the cellar.
1897: The cellars of Chateau Virant expanded with the increase of grape production. This has led to the edification of an imposing edifice which is still dedicated to the vinification and aging of our wines.
1974: Robert and Noële Cheylan acquire the estate of Chateau Virant. Under their leadership, the estate will go through a significant period of modernization to become one of the jewels of the Aix-en-Provence appellation.
1987: After 13 years of sustained efforts, of investments, land reorganization and remodeling of the buildings, Robert and Noële Cheylan, aided by their son Pascal, start their first vinification. Marketing soon ensued. It was immediately success. Step by step, Château Virant becomes a name.
1996: As a farmer endowed with the gift of foresight and being aware of the issues facing the industry, Robert Cheylan decides to take control over the whole olive oil-making process providing Château Virant with its own oil mill. Christine, the only daughter of the family, was given responsibility for the mill and the olive oil-making. Château Virant olive oil gained in a reputation and holds to this day the best track record of awards in the French olive sector.
An Alliance between Nature and Humans
A terroir is an alliance. It is the perfect union between a variety, a soil and a climate. Human work is the keystone in that three-way combination.
Château Virant is located on the terroir of Aix-en-Provence and is part of the appellation – or protected designation – of the same name.
Characterized by a clay-limestone soil, the terroir of the estate is subjected to the uninterrupted gusts of the Mistral, to high temperatures and generous sunlight. The soils are drained by these particular climatic conditions. In turn, they favor the development of grape varieties such as Syrah, Grenache or Ugni Blanc and delights varieties of Aglandau and Salonenque olive trees into flourishing.
THE UNION OF KNOW-HOW
At Château Virant, we talk about a plurality of know-hows. One after another, each generation brings its sets of innovations, of techniques and of visions. It is a constant enrichment, at every step of the way.
The first generation learned to master the skills of polyculture and acquired a perfect knowledge of its terroir. It learned to diversify the grape varieties, ensure selective sizes, develop a drip drop irrigation system, etc.
The second generation brought youth and energy. It mastered the new technologies and the technical developments of its days to ensure continuity and to perpetuate the tradition of a great know-how.