Cultural heritage is so evident here, with the feeling that although almost 90 years have passed since the purchase of Château Haut-Brion by Clarence Dillon in 1935, his heirs are keen to continue the traditions through the company that bears his name, Domaine Clarence Dillon.
Château Haut-Brion’s Library
Designed by Prince Robert of Luxemburg, both the library at Château Haut-Brion, as well as the museum of objects pertaining to the history of the vine and wine founded in 2009, show very clearly the importance that culture and heritage have always held for the Dillon family.
Today, it includes almost 2 000 works devoted to the history of gastronomy, agriculture, the vine and wine, all around the world. The oldest book in this extremely rare collection, an Italian treatise of domestic organisation, dates back to 1516 and is written in Latin by the Neapolitan poet, Francesco Mario Grapaldi.
The library also contains Haut-Brion’s historical harvest records from the 18th and 19th centuries, journals detailing the work carried out by the various workers and harvesters, weather forecasts over several centuries and a collection of invaluable letters written by the owners and visitors to the estate. One of these is particularly moving, as it was written by Count Joseph de Fumel in 1794, only a few weeks before he was guillotined. In this letter, he leaves instructions for Sieur Giraud, the steward of Haut-Brion, concerning the care to be given to the vines, the best dates for harvesting, the number of workers to hire, the wages to be paid, when to prune the vines and how to ensure the upkeep of the château and its outbuildings “in his absence”.
A collection of artworks and antiques
The library complements the remarkable collections of artworks and antiques gathered in the three winegrowing estates which belong to the Dillon family. As all three were built on land that has grown vines since Roman times, it is only logical that some of the very first artefacts linked to the production and consumption of wine are carefully stored here. At Haut-Brion, there are Roman, Greek and Etruscan relics, including amphorae, coins and all kinds of drinking receptacles. The art collection, mainly from the 18th century, has grown and is perfectly showcased in the beautiful setting of the Parisian residence and Le Clarence restaurant.