Hine

Three hundred and eighty-one kilometres through France. Four départements crossed before the Atlantic Ocean is reached, with Rochefort as the last leg. From the low plateaux of the Limousin, Charente appears gentle and bucolic, softer than its imposing neighbour, Garonne. This aquatic Via Agrippa traces its path to distant destinations, bearing eaux-de-vie fashioned by Charente’s limestone soils and the skill of the region’s winegrowers, distillers, coopers and cellar masters. Before Rochefort and the ocean lies Saintes. Further upstream, the abundant town of Cognac. And then, on the right bank of the river emerges the discreet Jarnac. It is here in 1763 that the adventure of the House of Hine begins…

The year is 1791. A young Englishman sets out from his native Dorset to learn the secrets of how cognac, his father’s favourite tipple, is produced. Thomas Hine is the sixth of twelve children and has just turned sixteen. His sense of timing is questionable though, given how inopportune a moment it is for an Englishman to find himself in France! Fleeing the French Revolution, he is imprisoned at the Château de Jarnac, where he remains sequestered for several months. His marriage to Françoise-Elisabeth, the daughter of his hosts, ensues. In 1817, Thomas Hine gives his name to this House, established on the banks of the Charente in 1763.

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