The first vines were planted in this area in the 14th Century by the Popes of Avignon. Pope John XVII, one of these popes built a Summer residence on the summit of the village – hence the name, Chateauneuf du Pape (Newcastle of the Pope). During the religious wars (circa 1562) the chateau was set on fire but not totally destroyed until 1944, when Germans troops blew it up as they were making their retreat, at the end of World War 2. The only part of the Chateau that remains are two huge walls that help to give us an idea of the size of the Chateau. Today, the wine produced in this village and bears its name, is probably the best known of the Côte du Rhone wines.