Didier Joris is a legendary figure in the Valais, where the history of wine would be unthinkable without him. He grew up in a farming family that initially concentrated on raising cattle. To this very day, Didier still raves about «his Queens», the Hérens fighting cows. It was only during the 1960s and 1970s that the Joris family began to terrace slopes to plant vines and cultivate vineyards.
As the family did not have much expertise in this sector at that time, young Didier attended the Agricultural College of Châteauneuf. From there he went on to complete an internship in Germany, where he not only gained experience in viticulture, but also as a baker, butcher and in wine laboratories. After qualifying at Changins, he began working as a lecturer and researcher at the College of Oenology and Viticulture at the age of 21. He taught such greats as Marie-Thérèse Chappaz, Jean-René Germanier, Denis Mercier, Marie Bernard Gillioz and numerous other talents.
White wines from Didier Joris
Red wines from Didier Joris
from Didier Joris
In 1982, he opened his own laboratory in Chamoson, which caused quite a commotion within the Valais wine world. The major cooperatives such as Provins were not happy at the fact that he was supporting self-producing wineries. In 1987, the then Chairman of the Board of Directors of Orsat in Martigny (Pascal Couchepin, who would later become a Federal Councillor) appointed Didier Joris as Technical Director of Orsat. In addition to his activities in Changins, he continued to run his laboratory in Chamoson, while also holding numerous mandates as an oenological consultant. He contributed to shaping several great Valais wines, was the forefather of famous assemblages and was even involved in the creation of a winery in Cahors, while acting as oenological consultant to an 800 hectare estate in Bulgaria. That 24/7 workload ultimately became so intense that he decided to call a time out early in 2000.
Consequently, Didier Joris concentrated on his own wines, downsized the laboratory and retained only a few of his consulting mandates. He owns 3 hectares of vines in Chamoson which he cultivates «organically» rather than according to «biodynamic principles» because, in his view, these interfere excessively with microbial life in the soil, for example by ploughing. Didier Joris is deeply convinced that «We must promote biodiversity, pull out weeds by hand and only mow between every second row of vines, so that the insects have a chance to escape safely».
According to Didier Joris, the complete transition of a vineyard to organic cultivation takes 15 years. In the first few years, conversion means investing 30-40% more effort for 25% à 30% less yield.
In the past, while working for Orsat, he was not allowed to market his own products. He therefore sold his few barriques of Chardonnay and Syrah exclusively to top names in gastronomy. Nowadays, Didier Joris delights numerous private customers with his wines. He cultivates typical Valais specialities such as Heida and Petite Arvine, but also international varieties such as Merlot and Cabernet Franc, plus new varieties such as Galotta, Divico as well as the «white Diolle», which was long considered extinct. But the undisputed star in his range is and remains the Syrah variety, which he vinifies in two versions originating from two distinct terroirs. All red wines are fermented spontaneously, while for his white wines, Didier Joris uses selected organic yeasts to avoid any discordant notes.
André Clouet / Jean François Clouet
We didn’t find the low house, dating from the 17th century, straight away, even though the village of Bouzy is not very large. Modest buildings are grouped around a courtyard, behind which a vineyard lies, similar to a clos.
The Karthäuserhof - The cradle of world-famous Rieslings, ever since 1335.
The Karthäuserhof is a magical spot. Not just because of its idyllic location but also because it is the eighth oldest winegrowing estate in the world and for centuries the cradle of world-famous Rieslings. It was founded in 1335 by Carthusian monks who received the estate as a gift from Prince-Elector Balduin of Luxembourg and operated it as a winery until secularisation. Since 1811 the Karthäuserhof has been owned by the same family, now in the seventh generation.
Domaine de la Commaraine
The beauty behind the walls of Château Commaraine
The Burgundian municipality of Pommard has a classic, historic ambience with most of the buildings and walled vineyards (clos) intact, exuding a peaceful and tranquil atmosphere. The small, romantic village square conveys a slightly exotic feeling to its visitors – an unusual sensation in rural Burgundy indeed!