A family-owned wine
estate in Saint-Fiacre sur Maine
for 5 generations
History of the Estate
It is difficult to pinpoint the exact date when Gadais began producing wine. Like many of today's winemaking families, production grew out of a heritage of expertise.
The beginning of the story
A long time ago, besides their own professions, people in rural France all farmed to provide for their families. The polyculture that took place in the countryside at the time very often allowed for a small amount of wine production for day-to-day consumption.
Because of this, when we traced back our family tree we found an ancestor who was a ploughman before the French Revolution. But it was Louis Gadais, a gardener's son at the time, who decided in 1947 to concentrate his activity on wine production. An observant man with an unmatched palate, and a businessman at heart, his ambition was to do more than just produce an average wine. For him, going from tending vines to commercial bottle sales was the realisation of his passion. He was one of the first winemakers in Nantes to bottle his wines: at that time, winemakers produced wine in bulk and sold it all at the cooperative. It was only a matter of time before his wine would be marketed and exported.
The Development of the Estate with Michel & Marcel
In 1958, Franck Schoonmaker, a trailblazer in the importation of high-quality French wines, paid a visit to Louis to purchase his wines. The following year, Domaine Gadais wines were already appearing on tables in New York.
The story continues with the arrival of Louis’ sons Michel and Marcel, who would go on to develop the estate. The acquisition of coveted land in La Faubretière in 1973 further improved the quality of the wines. Thanks to low yields, contrary to the trend at the time, the quality of their wines was recognised on an international scale, by renowned importers such as Robert Chadderdon in the USA.
The diversification of the portfolio with Christophe
In 1994 Christophe Gadais, having returned from work experience in Sancerre and outside of France, took the reins of the estate and developed the production portfolio, which had until then been composed of only one wine, a blend.
Committed to adding value to the estate’s agricultural heritage, he decided to diversify the portfolio. The Grande Réserve des Moulins was created in the 94 vintage: at the time, it was a selection from the terroirs of Les Masses and La Faubretière.
The legendary cuvée Vieilles Vignes was launched in the 96 vintage, made from vines in Ménardières, and the Perrières Monopole launched in the 2009 vintage also contributed to the development of a coherent and diversified range of Muscadet.
A new approach to the wines with Pierre Henri
In 2016, Pierre-Henri Gadais, son of Christopher and, notably, great-grandson of 2 winemakers from the Loire – Louis Gadais in the Muscadet region and Henri Bourgeois in Sancerre – returned to the estate.
After studying viticulture and winemaking in Burgundy and Bordeaux, he decided to travel to gain innovative experience abroad. He travelled to California, Australia, England, and New Zealand, but it was in Switzerland that he gained an interest in organic and biodynamic agriculture: a new approach to wine, with the objective of respecting raw materials and limiting interventions to reduce the addition of sulphur.
Today, the story continues with the construction of a semi-underground, gravity-fed cellar. There is no shortage of projects to continually showcase our terroir, our expertise, and our varietal wine.