The Chave family is one of the oldest winegrowing families in the world; each bottle label bears the inscription 'Vignerons de Pere en Fils depuis 1481'. This is certainly true, as they were cultivating vines in the area now known as St-Joseph in the fifteenth century before moving south into the Rhone Valley in the nineteenth century during the Phylloxera crisis and begin growing vines in the Hermitage appellation. Their original cellars in the village of Mauves are still in use today. Jean-Louis's father is responsible for extending the estate boundries to the current 14.5ha in Hermitage. Ten are planted to Syrah for two Hermitage Rouge cuvees and the remainder are planted to 80% Marsanne and 20% Roussanne for the Hermitage Blanc.
Jean-Louis Chave himself started working the domaine with his father in 1992, having completed a degree in oenology at the University of California, Davis after an MBA. He places his focus on the quality of the grapes and has two thirds of the vines treated by hand, then his mastery of blending creates excellence in the final wines. A personal hobby is the rejuvenation of the former Chave vineyards in St-Joseph.