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Châteauneuf-du-Pape: The Pope’s Wine

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This article originally appeared in the June 2014 issue of Royal Oaks Living and it is reprinted here with permission.

Châteauneuf-du-Pape is one of the most famous French wines in the world. And its notoriety and allure stems from its strong ties to the Catholic Church during a time when the Papacy was located in France, not Rome.

Wine & the Avignon Papacy

In 1308, Bertrand de Got, a French bishop, was elected Pope Clement V. Concerned about security in Rome, Pope Clement V moved the papacy to Avignon, a city in France’s Rhone Valley. For the next 70 years, seven popes governed the church from Avignon. The Avignon popes were great supporters of the local wine, known as “Vin du Pape”. Pope John XII even built a summer residence just north of Avignon. This castle, called Châteauneuf-du-Pape, was a symbol of the appellation and, over time, the nearby village and the wine produced there became known by the same name.

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