In recent years, its wines have come to be recognized as some of the best produced in France. Carved into the banks of the Vienne river, and open to public visits, are the caves, or wine cellars, for Chinon's famous Cabernet Franc-based red wines.
The chateau was the residence of Charles VII, the dauphin of France in the early 15th century. It is the place where the legendary Joan of Arc came on March 8, 1429 to recognize the dauphin and to urge him to declare himself king and raise an army to liberate France from the English.
In 1562 the chateau came into the possession of the Huguenots and was turned into a State prison by Henri IV of France. After that it was abandoned until 1793 when, during the Reign of Terror, the castle was temporarily occupied by Vendeans. Soon though, it was left to decay until Emperor Napoleon III began a partial effort at restoration. Today, it is managed by the Town of Chinon and is a major tourist attraction.