At the origin

Chateau Ferrière was founded in the 18th century by Gabriel Ferriere. He was a shipbroker and a King officer in charge of hunting. The vineyard was progressively enlarged by his cousin Jean, the mayor of Bordeaux in 1792.

At his death, the property was sold by the court due to joint ownership and under age heirs. His widow, Marie bought it. She had three heirs : Gabriel, Michel and Rosa.


On the death of his mother, Michel Ferrière remained the unique owner of the estate and exchanged some plots. When he died, he left his brother Gabriel and his sister Rosa as his heirs, she was herself the widow of Jacques Castaing, the owner of Château Chasse-Spleen in Grand Poujeaux located in the local administrative area of Moulis en Médoc. Subsequently, the estate went to their cousin Henry Ferriere who sold it to Armand Feuillerat in 1913, then the owner of Château Marquis de Terme.

The daughter of Armand Feuillerat, Mrs. Durand inherited the château and left it to her children. It was in 1952 that the Durand heirs leased out the vineyard to Alexis Lichine, the owner of Château Lascombes who then ensured the maintenance and operations. He could used the crop. For 40 years, the production of Château Ferriere was very low and only passengers of a major airline company had the opportunity to have an inkling a its potential.

The rebirth

In 1988, Jacques Merlaut bought the vineyards and the chateau but it was not until 1992 that the tenancy agreement with Chateau Lascombes came to an end and thus was born the first vintage produced by his daughter Bernadette Villars-Merlaut. Jacques Merlaut and his family were also the owners of Chateau Chasse-Spleen, La Gurgue and Haut-Bages Liberal.
On the death of her parents, Claire Villars took over after her mother and since 2000 when the family properties were divided among the family members, she has fully managed château Ferrière, as well as Châteaux Haut-Bages Liberal and La Gurgue.

The 1855 classification

From the beginning of the 19th century, the wine brokers established a classification of great wines according to their reputation, fame and price.

But it is on April 18th of 1855 at the request of the Emperor Napoléon III and with the Paris World Fair in mind, that the lastest classification was published. The list includes 61 wines, all coming from the region of the Médoc area except Château Haut-Brion, produced in the Graves appellation. The 61 wineries were classified in 5 levels.

Today, the 1855 classification has indeed a historic but also a real value, because the wines from these classified properties are exceptional and their terroirs are the greatest in the region.

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Though she was born into a wine growers' family, Claire Villars Lurton did not intend to manage a property. She lived in Paris where she had a master's degree in chemistry and physics. She was preparing a thesis in physics dealing with the preservation of old books at the CNRS (NATIONAL CENTER FOR SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH) when her parents died in an accident in 1992. She decided to get actively involved in the management of the family properties. She gave up her studies and joined her grandfather Jacques Merlaut to continue the work of her mother Bernadette Villars Merlaut.

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With flawless energy and determination, Claire took control of Château Chasse-Spleen which she has maintained at the top of the hierarchy of the Cru Bourgeois classification.

At the same time, Claire studied vine growing and oenology at the University of Bordeaux with outstanding professors such as Yves Glories and Denis Dubourdieu. However, her main tutor was her grandfather, Jacques Merlaut. He taught her how to discipline her energy and sort out what is essential.

In 1994 she married with Gonzague Lurton, the owner of Château Durfort-Vivens, a 2nd Classified Growth in Margaux. Together, they purchased Château Domeyne, in Saint-Estèphe in 2006 and the Trinité Estate vineyard in 2012. This estate Located in the North of California, the property produces one of the greatest wines of Sonoma County named : Acaibo.

Since 2000, the year when the family estates were shared, Claire has been at 100% involved in the management of the properties that have belonged to her. Through her work, Château La Gurge has improved its elegance, Château Ferrière has found a new youth allying power and finesse. As for Château Haut-Bages Libéral, the wine completed its powerful Pauillac style with a touch of feminine elegance.

Beyond the technical improvements brought years after years to each of the properties, Claire's main achievement has been to make out the best of the great terroir under her care. According to Claire, biodynamic farming is the key of the success.

The team