The Pontallier family has been making wine in France for more than 400 years.

Thibault Pontallier and his father – the legendary French winemaker Paul Pontallier – spent many years alongside other wine experts from Bordeaux, Burgundy, Cognac, Champagne and Armagnac to taste, blend and create the fine wines and spirits of Pont des Arts.

Paul Pontallier was the managing director and winemaker of first growth Château Margaux in Bordeaux from 1983 until 2016.

He first joined the estate in 1983 aged 27, two years after his doctorate from the Bordeaux Institute of Oenology, where he had studied with the renowned oenologist Emile Peynaud and written a dissertation on the barrel ageing of red wines. Mr. Pontallier had also just returned from national service in Chile, most of which he had spent teaching oenology in Santiago.

Born in the Bordeaux region, Paul Pontallier spent his early life on his parents’ wine estate, Château La Loge Saint-Léger in AOC Bordeaux Supérieur. He gained his first degree in 1975 from the Institut National Agronomique Paris-Grignon that is today known as AgroParisTech. From there he specialised in oenology and viticulture, first in Montpellier and then at the Bordeaux Institute of Oenology.

His first seven years at Château Margaux were spent alongside Philippe Barré, and he took over as managing director when Barré retired in 1990. Under his direction, Château Margaux delivered consistently magnificent vintages and confirmed its position as one of the world’s truly great châteaux.