Andre Lurton, Château Bonnet

André Lurton first saw the light of day at Château Bonnet in Grézillac, in the heart of the Entre-Deux-Mers, in the middle of the grape harvest on 4 October 1924. This timing foretold the destiny of this man who would go on to devote a large part of his life to viticulture.

Andre’s education began at a private school in Branne before he was sent to Saint-Joseph de Tivoli in Bordeaux as a boarder at the age of 7, and then to another Catholic institution in Bazas run by the Bétharram Fathers. The eight years he spent there seemed like an eternity to this freedom-loving adolescent who loved nothing more than to wander around the countryside and vineyards at Bonnet.

  • The war years

When the Second World War broke out, and despite his young age, André could only think about joining the Free French forces in England or elsewhere and becoming a pilot. It was only by fighting the Nazis in the French Forces of the Interior (“Groupe Roland”), that he was able to bide his time. When he turned 20, during the autumn of 1944, he and a few friends succeeded in meeting up with the 1st French Army, commanded by General de Lattre de Tassigny,  in the Boucle du Doubs in eastern France. He was commissioned to drive a jeep for the Support Company of the 2nd Bataillion of the 6th Regiment of Senegalese Tirailleurs (later to become the 6th French Colonial Infantry Regiment). He took part in all the First Army military operations: the liberation of Alsace and the rest of France, the “Colmar Pocket” containment operation in harsh winter conditions in 1945 and a long campaign in Germany until the armistice was signed. He was decorated with the Croix de Guerre for his courage under fire…

André Lurton has never forgot this period of his life and is always ready to talk about the long battles, his friendships during these difficult, dangerous times, and many other memories…

  • Back to the earth…

At the age of 21, after a year and a half in the army, André Lurton returned to the family vineyards to help his father François Lurton, who had managed Château Bonnet since the death of his father-in-law, Léonce Récapet, in 1942. André Lurton owes his love of viticulture and much of his expertise to his grandfather, Léonce, whose winegrowing career began in 1897.

Several years later, in 1953, when his youngest brother Dominique reached the age of 18, the family vineyard holdings were divided among the four Lurton children.  André, the oldest, naturally inherited Château Bonnet. From then on he developed a true passion for winemaking. He battles were now focused on defending the world of agriculture in general and Bordeaux winegrowers in particular. He threw himself wholeheartedly into working on behalf many organizations to protect local terroirs and promote viticulture.

Alongside these activities, André Lurton spent the rest of his available time bringing Château Bonnet up to its full potential and expanding the vineyards. He replanted most of the vines after the killing frost of 1956. Once Château Bonnet was up to his standards, he began looking for new terroirs in the Graves, Saint-Emilion and elsewhere.

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