The cellar was founded in 1949, under the name of « Cave Cooperative des Coteaux de Gaillac et du Pays Cordais ». The agricultural services, the agricultural engineering and the bank Credit Agricole of Tarn, helped to support the project administratively and financially and wanted to develop it as a first “pilot cellar”. This supported the wine making activity, but also helped to develop the sales of wine bottles. The first production took place in 1951: 80 vintners contributed to the production of 13 000 hectolitres.
In 1956, a new branch opened in Cunac. In 1959, the production reached 30 000 hectolitres, about 2/3 of the production of the AOC. It was joined successively by two other cooperatives: The Natural Sparkling wine of Gaillac in 1968, too small to be viable economically and the cooperative of the Pays Cordais in 1974 who was facing difficulties at the time. This last cooperative brought about a hundred vintners more and 20 000 hectolitres of vat.
In 1988, the cellar was accounting for 641 vintners and its capacity of production was about 167 000 hectolitres. In 2016, the members totalled about 100 vintners and the capacity was reaching 60 000 hL.
Maison Labastide is the continuation of the vintners’ work. Its mission is to bring a benefit to its members, comparable to the work they could achieve on their own. This can benefit in different aspects, to impact the quality of life, the use of durable tools, the wages etc.
Its purpose is to bring services, transform and sell products coming from the vineyards and give access to the market. To do so, the members bring the totality of their grape production to the cellar. Maison Labastide has then the objective to produce wine products, develop their brand image and sell the wines as products of terroir. These wines are then sold direct to consumers or retailers.
Maison Labastide also sell wine in bulk as raw material for professionals that can be transformed or re packed in order to re sale the wines that are produced. The first purpose of the cellar is economical. As a commercial structure, it has to answer the market needs and expectations selling the totality of its members’ production.
On a social side, its main purpose is to maintain a viable economic activity for its members. They are the energy of the vineyard and the strength of the cellar.
On a technological point of view, it has to invest in material and human resources to guarantee the consumer with the fine example of a high quality product, healthy and authentic as well as preserving the environment.
Finally it contributes in highlighting the cultural heritage and the vineyard thanks to the maintenance of the landscape cultivating the vines and several local partnerships with the Toulouse-Lautrec Museum, the towns of Labastide de Lévis, Albi and Cordes.
The architecture of the first cellar is attributed to Paul Brès, who also designed about thirty cellar in the Hérault region since the 30s. We can observe in the cellar a signature to its style also highlited in Aigne (1951), Quintillan (1951), or Cournonterral (1947) such as the visible stones, the concrete diaphragm arch, arrangement of volumes and positioning of the pediment that gives its majesty to the building.
The cellar was extended towards the rear a few times. The third extension was made in the North direction and is built against the original building continuing on the same curvature of the arch.
The extension in this direction seems to have been planned since the build of the original building, as platforms are oriented in this direction from 1949. An entire part of the building has then been built in the North direction: this was hosting the first bottling line of the cellar before being converted into a winery with stainless steel tank. This part also hosts the small capacity isothermal tank for the production of Gaillac Perlé.
Those vats have been built by the company G. Pépin fils aîné, company of the Gasquet group, established in Bordeaux whose plaque has been displayed. The West wing was firstly a storage place with an expedition dock: it was rebuilt in 1999 to host a shop, behind which we can find the barrel cellar and a storage place. The expedition dock has been rebuilt in the east part, in the new building in 1998. The site had to be developed in the East where new vats were built in the 70s to answer the storage needs. In 1994, a new bottling line was established.
In 2014, many facilities are built in order to start tourism activities and visits.