The Romanée-Conti vineyard was bought by Nicolas Defer de la Nouerre, who in 1819 sold it to Julien Ouvrard for 78,000 francs. In 1869 it was bought by Jacques-Marie Duvault-Blochet, who went on to build the domaine we know today with the acquisition of the holdings in Échezeaux, Grands Échezeaux and Richebourg.
The 9.43 hectares of Romanée Saint-Vivant were bought in 1791 by Nicolas-Joseph Marey, son-in-law of the geometer Gaspard Monge. The Marey-Monge family sold off part of their holdings to the Latour family in 1898, leased the remaining 5.28 hectares to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti in 1966, and finally sold to the domaine in 1988. This last deal was financed by the sale and leaseback of the domaine's holdings in Échezeaux and some in Grands Échezeaux.
The vineyards are grouped around the village of Vosne-Romanée, on well drained slopes facing east and south-east. The soil is iron-rich limestone on a base of rock and marl, with vines lying around 800 ft (240 m) above sea level. The average age of the vines is very high - around 44 years - and the vineyards are cultivated organically.
Soil supplements are limited to compost made from crushed vine roots, grape skins and residues from fermentation. To avoid compacting the soil with the use of tractors, horses were re-introduced to cultivate the vineyards of Romanée-Conti and Le Montrachet. Five hectares in La Tâche and Grands Échezeaux are now being cultivated biodynamically whereby the individual vines are treated with special natural preparations and according to a strict lunar timetable. Yields are very low at an average of 25 hl/ha (the Grand Cru rendement is 35 hl/ha). In other words, it takes the produce of three vines to produce one bottle of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti. Yields are kept low through severe pruning early in the season, and green pruning (éclaircissage/vendange en vert) in July/August, with a 'passage de nettoyage' completed immediately before harvest, to cut out substandard grapes. At harvest time, the grapes are sorted into small baskets and individually examined for health on triage tables, before the winemaking begins.
Of its two most sought after red wines a wine writer has stated: "Romanée-Conti and La Tache are masterpieces of equilibrium, associating the masculine and feminine characteristics in order to transcend them in a powerful and racy elixir. These wines reflect to perfection the aroma and tastes of the ripe fruit of old vines and the character of terroir. They attain such a perfection that one could not succeed in identifying the new wood in their complex structure.’
The Domaine has its private supply of oak from the Troncais forests. 100% new oak is used and maturation time depends on the quality of the vintage.
There is no filtration and if racking off the lees is required this is done by gravity from cask to cask, never pumped. If the wines need to be fined, then fresh eggs are used. The wines spend sixteen to twenty months in wood before bottling. Both assemblage and bottling are done by gravity and usually cask by cask.