History & Family

The first marks of Cairanne's vineyards date back to Antiquity. Cairanne was then under the influence of Vaison la Romaine, which became one of the richest cities in Narbonne Gaul during the Pax Romana. Witnesses of this flourishing past, many ancient vestiges have been found in the slopes of our vineyards in Saint Martin.

History of Saint Martin

Saint Martin was born in the Roman Empire in 316. Charity was a prominent feature of his life. For family duty, he became a military man. In a winter evening, when he was in Roman legion, he met a naked beggar dying of cold. Possessing only half his coat, the other half belonging to the Roman army, Saint Martin did not hesitate to cut his coat in half with his sword, in order to offer this homeless man the half that belonged to him. The following night, Saint Martin saw Jesus Christ wearing half of the coat he gave to this person in needs. He then decided to leave the army and convert to Christianity.

In 1936, Cairanne vineyard was first classified as an AOC Côtes du Rhône. In 1967, the collective effort of the winegrowers allowed Cairanne to take a further step by obtaining the appellation Côtes du Rhône Village Cairanne. After many years of work to enhance the richness of the terroirs of the appellation, Cairanne joined in 2016 the very restricted circle of the Cru from the Southern Rhone Valley.

More than 3 centuries of family history

In 1692, under the aegis of André Alary, the Alary family settled in Cairanne, as shown by the municipal archives. Winegrowers on this terroir from father to son, 10 generations have successively passed on the estate, which has grown over time. Each generation has inherited the same passion of the vine and wine, the same conscientiousness for good farming practices and perfect winemaking.
Until the 1900s, the Alary family practiced mixed farming. Sheep and silkworms breeding and madder growing complemented the work of the vineyard.

Frédéric Alary (eighth generation and grandfather of Frédéric and François Alary) decided to devote himself exclusively to the family vineyard. This intellectual farmer, otherwise known as a winegrower historian by the people of Cairanne, decided, in opposition to the traditions of his time, to vinify his wines by plot. He quickly identified that among his vineyard Saint-Martin was by far its best terroir. In 1953, some parcels of Saint-Martin area were put up for auction. Courageous, he decided to sell all his vines (except the one of Saint-Martin) in order to have enough savings to win the auction. A risky gamble, he nevertheless relies on heavens and asks the good Saint-Martin to help him. He promised that if the vineyard was awarded to him, he would build an oratory in homage to Saint Martin. History and Providence proved him right.

Later, in 1984, his grandchildren Frédéric and François Alary took over the business. Passionate about wine and their Saint-Martin hillsides, the two brothers put their heart and soul into revealing the best of this terroir. Genius craftsmen, they were elected best winegrowers of the year in 1995. Pioneers of organic farming in the 1990s and biodynamic farming in 2008, they have taken Domaine de l'Oratoire Saint-Martin to the top.

In 2020, as their children did not take over, Frédéric and François Alary chose to pass the torch to the Abeille-Fabre family, owners of Château Mont-Redon in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, who are committed to pursue the philosophy of the estate and the work undertaken for 10 generations.

Born to pass on their know-how and united by the same passion for wine, the two families are making a smooth transition together with the desire to make the Oratoire Saint-Martin shine.