The

origin of the Orliacs

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In France one rarely encounters the family name “Orliac”, which seems to indicate

some common origin of people so named. “Orliac” derives from a latin word

“Aureliaco” meaning “belonging to” Aurelius. In the Roman empire the Aurelius

family was very well known.

The existence of a Roman cemetery on the grounds of Château Labastide proves early

occupation of that site on a kind of promontory above the Garonne river. Maybe,

that fact had led to turn gradually the name “Aurelius” into

“Orliac”.

Permitting

an anecdote in this context : the family of the Prince d’Orleans, made use of

the name “Orliac” as a means of profiting from anonymity when needed. It seems

that name was preferred because of the heroism of an Orliac...

While staying on the Antillean island of Martinique,  which was a safe haven for the Orliac family during the French revolution and its troubled times, a sister of Jean Orliac married on the island a Virginie. Their descendants still make their living on Martinique as banana planters.

On their return to the Old Continent, the Orliac de Labastide family restarted their wine business and named their male children Jean, Josèphe or Jacques, thus permitting the marking of the fusts and barrels with the same monogram “JO” passing it on from generation to generation. The tool “pochoir” used for marking with that monogram is still preserved at Château Labastide.

During the reign of King Louis XVI, wine was not served from bottles (*). Wine was transported and sold in fusts and barrils. Jean Orliac, as purveyor to the Court, delivered his wine that way. Systematic bottling of wine became the norm only in the 19th Century along with the progress of industrialisation.

(*) The King’s servants went to the wine cellar and drew the wine directly from fusts and barrels using a cristal carafe which was specifically designed to serve wine at the royal table.

However, Pierre Emile Orliac, son of Jean Orliac, did not continue wine growing and wine trade. He had to accept a different career due to the fact that the wine trade of the Garonne hinterland underwent a profound slump. The barriers put up by the port of Bordeaux to hinder shipment of wine from that hinterland, had a disastrous effect. Many wine producers stopped and changed to the production of prunes (variety Prunes d’Ente). So Pierre Emile became a judge. An image of a judge’s toque (in French “mortier”) was added to the coat of arms of the Orliac

family and adorns the entrance to the estate. Pierre Emile probably hoped the slump of the wine business would not take too long, so he continued to christen his five children, boy or girl, with a name with the letter J (Jean, Josèphe or Marie-Josèphe…).

 One can find in the archives of the French National Library in Paris, a mention of a Marie-Josèphe Constance de Labastide who married a Baron de Canteranne who died in 1893 at Clermont-Dessus, the village where the Orliac estate is located.

 

The dynasty continued with a third child having that christian name “Jean” , followed by a “Josèphe” who took care of the estate and developed the wine business.Next came our grandfather Jean-Maurice, who had to cope with the phylloxera or vine-pest devastating the grape-vine and therefore had to replant the vineyard. He was succeeded by our father Jacques, who obtained the official recognition of the quality of his vineyard by the “Institut Nationale des Appellations d’origine - INAO”. He had three children, Jean-Michel, Catherine and Isabelle, who have responsibility of the estate’s business and take care of its vineyard.

 

The Exodus

Et Jean-Michel, Catherine et Isabelle, les descendants actuels