Although it is difficult to be precise, it is known that in March 1562, Lady Margaret, Baroness Montfaucon, and her son P.F. de Panisse leased the Estate’s lands for four years to a farmer with a covenant to plant vines.
The wood screw of an antique press that remains in place is further evidence of wine growing in the distant past.
With the Panisse, the vineyard was developed and its production was sold commercially from the eighteenth century, as several accounting ledgers bear witness.
Monsieur de Légier de Montfort also paid particular attention to vines. In 1785, he struck a lease with a farmer at a price of 4,800 livres per year. The contract is interesting:
The tenant agrees to carefully turn over the vines twice a year with the “flat shovel” and also to maintain them and clear them of couch grass, to breed them according to the best methods, and to prune them or have them pruned.
For his part, Lord Malijay promised to supply him with “the fermenting rooms with cellars as they may need” and also “large wooden barrels to store the wine, up to forty, well hooped and riveted, in a fit state to hold the wine and to keep it from going bad.”
Another contract, dating from 1807, contains roughly the same clauses as above, but in addition, the farmer was authorised to “make fermented wine from the grape marc after it had been pressed.” He did however have to reserve a barrel of fermented wine for the landlord.
From the number of barrels provided to the tenant in 1785, and the quantity of “lees” given to the sole landlord of Malijay, it can be seen how significant wine production here must have been at the end of the 18th century and into the next.