The Phare de Verzenay was the brainchild of Joseph GOULET, (son of Modeste GOULET, founder of the Goulet-Turpin branch of the family).
Lit up at night, the lighthouse illuminated all of the neighbouring vineyards — it was impossible to miss. The name GOULET was written on the borders of the building’s six sides so you could see the name whichever way you approached.
An elegant restaurant was installed in the adjoining buildings (now long since disappeared) and a popular guingette (bar) was added to meet demand from the growing numbers of visitors. In no time at all, the phare had become favourite meeting place for locals.
But the fun ended with World War I. The light went out and would remain so for several decades.
Acquired first by the House of Heidseick, then by the Mumm Group, (like the famous Moulin de Verzenay nearby) the lighthouse was then handed over in 1987 to a local group that wanted it for a Museum of the Vine, an ambitious project that lasted from 1994-1999, the year when the museum opened its doors to the public.
In 1999 the lighthouse loses the name of its creator.
The name GOULET was deleted in the course of renovation, apparently to satisfy the contractual requirements of the seller. It was part of the deal that the cultural and touristic character of this place should exclude any commercialisation of Champagne.
A visit to the museum explains the differences between Champagne terroirs, in terms of their historical, geographical and human distinctions. A mural explains the evolution of vineyard crafts since phylloxera. The visitor is shown the annual cycle of work in the vineyard, and the beginning of wine making as practised in each Champagne House.
The Lighthouse-Museum Moulin de Verzenay (propriété Mumm) looks over the vineyard landscape of the Montagne de Reims.