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Gros Dynasty

The Gros wine dynasty dates back to 1860 with Alphonse Gros, who married a Latour and bought an estate and a little-known (at the time), 5-acre vineyard in Vosne-Romanee, called Clos-de-Reas. Six generations (and transitioning to the seventh) of family winemaking ensued.

Alphonse, born in 1804, had two sons, but it was his oldest, Louis-Gustave, who took over the Domaine. Louis-Gustave married a woman with the last name of Guenaud, naming his wine after her (Gros Guenaud). He was one of the first winemakers in the region to bottle his wine to sell direct. His son, Jules Gros, took over the estate and changed the wine label name to his wife's name (Gros Renaudot). Jules also expanded the estate by purchasing two parcels in Clos Vougeot, Grands-Echézeaux, and Echézeaux, then turned it over to his son, Louis, before he died in 1930. Louis continued his father's work for two decades before turning over the ownership to his four children - Jean, François, Gustave and Colette. That is when the lineage gets a lot more complicated.

After a decade of joint ownership, the four children decided they wanted to split the estate up in 1963. François, who got married in 1963, took the Clod-de-Vougeot Maupertuis. Gustave and Colette did not have children of their own, so they teamed up and took over several of the Grand-Echézeaux and the larger Musigni vineyard under the label Gros Frère et Soeur. Jean, who already had three children by this time, took the Clos-des-Réas. The Richebourg was divided. Of the four siblings, only Colette survives today at age  82.

Jean's three children - Michel, Anne-Françoise, and Bernard - and François's daughter, Anne, are the sixth generation of Gros family winemakers. Michel worked closely with his father, Jean, for decades, producing wines under the Jean Gros and Michel Gros labels. In 1996 Jean and his wife partitioned the Jean Gros holdings and transfer them to their children. Michel received, among other vineyard parcels, the Clos-des-Réas and the family winemaking facility, and continued to make wine under his own label. Anne-Françoise took her portion of inheritance (some Richebourg, Vosne, and Echézeaux) and merged it with her husband's, who is from another winemaking family in Pommard, but her Richebourg was (and is) bottled under the name A.-F. Gros. Bernard took over Gros Frère et Soeur from his uncle when his health declined in 1980, and that became the main portion of his inheritence. Anne began working with her father in the 1980's, and the François Gros label became Anne & François Gros (hence, A&F Gros should not to be confused with her cousin, A-F Gros). After François' passing, the labelling changed to just Anne Gros.

The Gros family has a complex disposition due to the similarity in bottle label nomenclature and the vineyard ownership versus management structure. The best assistance, in my opinion, in deciphering the several Gros wine labels is from Michel Gros' website, where he depicts the family tree and subsequent wine labels. The family remains on good terms and it is common for siblings and cousins to sell grapes / lease vineyards to each other. The seventh generation is next in line to take the reins. Bernard, for example, is slowly handing the winemaking efforts over to his son, Vincent. We love family businesses (but we are biased!), and this is such a nice, refreshing story of hard-working people with strong family bonds.