The Thienponts are a well-established Flemish family from Belgium who for several centuries have been based in Etikhove in the Flemish Ardennes. It was here that Camille Thienpont started a wine merchant business in 1842. By the beginning of the 20th century, the wine business was run by Georges Thienpont who travelled regularly to Bordeaux to purchase wines. In 1921 he bought Château Troplong Mondot in Saint Emilion and three years later managed to acquire the magnificent Vieux Château Certan in Pomerol.
With the collapse of Wall Street and the Great Depression in the 1930s, Georges Thienpont reluctantly had to sell Troplong Mondot. He continued to make wine at Vieux Château Certan, producing some incredible wines in the 1940s and 1950s in spite of the difficulties of the Second World War and the Great Frost of 1956. In 1957, Georges formed a family company for the Château in order to preserve the inheritance for his children.
On his death in 1962, one of his sons, Léon, who had an agricultural degree, took over the running of the château. Georges’ other sons went their separate ways but were all actively involved in the management of Vieux Château Certan. Gérard took over the family wine merchant at the family home, Hof te Cattebeke, a 16th century manor in Etikhove in Belgium’s Flemish Ardennes. George Jr. installed himself at the magnificent medieval Château Puygueraud in the Côtes de Francs while Léon and his family moved into Vieux Château Certan.
It is the grandchildren and great grandchildren of Georges who carry on the family legacy today. Jacques became the owner of the tiny Le Pin in Pomerol in 1979 as well as taking over the wine merchant business in Belgium on the death of his uncle Gérard. Léon’s son, Alexandre, today lives at Vieux Château Certan and runs the estate. His son Guillaume has recently joined the chateau working alongside his father after spending several years making wine in California, Burgundy, Italy and Australia. George, who had an impressive 13 children, saw several of them enter the wine business. His son Nicolas, took over the wine-making at Château Puygueraud, while François and others became wine negociants in Bordeaux. The cousins work closely together, Nicolas’ son, Cyrille manages the L’If estate in Saint Emilion (which Jacques Thienpont purchased in 2010), Guillaume oversees the vineyard at Le Pin, Maxime (son of Luc Thienpont who used to run Labegorce Zédé) runs the newly acquired Castillon estate and Jacques and François trade wine.
Thienpont Wine, based at Hof te Cattebeke in Etikhove, has become one of the top wine merchants in Belgium trading primarily in fine Bordeaux and French wines but has recently expanded to include an exciting range of every day wines from further afield. Today while Jacques keeps an eagle eye on the business, the company is run by his wife, Master of Wine, Fiona Morrison who has over 30 years experience in the fine wine business. They are aided by Alexander De Raeymaeker, their nephew, who has recently joined them as the latest generation of Thienponts to trade in wine. Thienpont Wine is proud to be a Royal Warrant Holder in Belgium and maintains a close relationship with the Court.