Domaine Bonneau du Martray is recognized as one of the world’s great wine estates and a reference point for its appellation. The rich history of its vineyards traces directly back to the Emperor Charlemagne himself, who once owned a plot that is now part of the Domaine. Legend has it that Charlemagne had a preference for red wine which often stained his flowing white beard. His queen suggested that this was beneath him and that he should drink only white wine, upon which he demanded that his vineyards be planted over to white grapes. Charlemagne donated his plot to the Abbey de Saulieu in 775 and the church retained it for over a thousand years until the French Revolution when it was acquired by the Bonneau du Martray family, descendants of Chancellor Nicolas Rolin, who had founded of the Hospice de Beaune in 1443.
In the 19th Century, the Bonneau du Martray family held almost 59.3 acres of vines including the entirety of the Charlemagne ‘climat’ in the commune of Pernand. Eventually the childless Rene Bonneau de Martray, born in 1886, bequeathed his estate to his niece, Alice le Bault de la Moriniere. It was her husband Jean, taking over its management in 1969, who initiated the renaissance of the property - expanding and modernizing the cuverie and cellars, and beginning to bottle his wine at the estate instead of selling to negociants. In 1994, his son Jean-Charles assumed responsibility for the Domaine and returned to Burgundy to study oenology, leaving a career as an architect in Paris. At the same time, Henri Bruchon the Chef Vigneron retired. His sons Bernard and Jean-Pierre now work with Jean-Charles.