The Fortress, Chinon and its vineyard are classified as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
In order to support the development of wine tourism in the Chinon area, the Royal Fortress and the Chinon Wine Union have joined forces to create an event around the Chinon AOC, the most important red wine appellation in the Loire Valley. Since 2014, AOC winemakers have come to the Fortress every Thursday in the summer to present their wines and offer free tastings.
The vineyards and the fortress in the Middle Ages
In the Middle Ages, the vineyard landscape of Chinon did not look as it does today. The vineyard was more fragmented, divided into small plots, and quality wine was reserved for the elite.
Archaeological evidence of the existence of vines in Chinon dates back to the 8th and 9th centuries. Already in the 11th century, a hagiographic account of the life and miracles of Saint-Mexme tells the story of a winegrower from Chinon who transports his barrels by boat to Nantes.
The presence of two royal courts at the Fortress of Chinon, that of King Henry II Plantagenet of England in the 12th century, and later that of King Charles VII of France in the 15th century, really favoured the development of the vine in the Chinon area, and more widely in Touraine.
In the Middle Ages, it was mainly white wine (easier to transport) that was produced in Chinon, and it was generally not kept for more than a year.