Originally a priory of Benedictine monks who cultivated grapes for service at dinner and at religious ceremonies, practices gradually evolved by the 18th century to establish sales of the wine under the name Le Prieuré de Cantenac.
After numerous owners and numerous name changes, the estate was bought in 1951 by Alexis Lichine (only 11 hectares of untended vines remained) and was renamed in 1953. The following year Cantenac wineries were entitled to use and label under the appellation of Margaux. Sacrificing quantity for quality, trades in portions of desirable land at a loss of two to one were made with third growth neighbours Palmer, Ferrière, Kirwan, Giscours, Issan, Boyd-Cantenac and second growth neighbours Durfort-Vivens and Brane-Cantenac, adding up to 47 acres (19 ha) of vineyards by the mid-1960s. With an aim to produce a wine well beyond its classification, Lichine undertook extensive replanting, repairs and investments and brought in oenologists Emile Peynaud and Patrick Léon to advise on vat selection. By the 1970s the estate amounted to 58 hectares dispersed across the communes Cantenac and Margaux.
After Lichine's death in 1989, the estate was run by his son Sacha for several years, with oenologist Michel Rolland acting as consultant, until the estate was sold to the Groupe Ballande in 1999. The winery currently consists of about 77.5 hectares (192 acres) planted with 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot and employs Stéphane Derenoncourt as its consulting oenologist. The soils of Château Prieuré-Lichine are essentially made up of gravel deposited by the river during successive glacial floods in the Quaternary era. Streams resulting from the floods then cut up these sedimentary soils into well-drained mounds, which today look out over the Gironde estuary.