Domaine Belluard

Savoie, France

"Today, for the best typicality of the wines, the main concern of the domain is to grow vines according to the biggest respect of terroir and tradition"  - Dominique Belluard
In the beautiful, rocky Haute-Savoie, you reach the little town of Ayse, where Domaine Belluard is located. The Domaine is one of the leading biodynamic producers in the Savoie. Created in 1947, it stretches for 10 hectares on clay soils with broken-down limestone on the foothills of Mont Blanc.  In 1988, Dominique took over his family’s Estate and has farmed one of the oldest Alpine vineyards: the Gringet, a variety that cannot be found anywhere else around the world, with the mission to elevate this mighty grape. To grow vines according to the biggest respect of the terroir and traditions has always been a priority for Dominique, turning the whole farming process into an organic-dynamic growing since 2001. Winemaking is equally meticulous, meaning only native yeasts are used, no fining, no filtration, and only minimal sulphur added at bottling. For fermentation, Dominique prefers concrete eggs s he believes that the shape promotes a natural movement of the wine inside and this acts as a way to stir the lees without physically stirring them, thus adding texture and overall stability to the wine.

Sadly Dominique died in 2021. He was an extraordinary vigneron who leaves a great legacy.


Organic, Biodynamic and Natural wine. What’s the difference?

To understand this concept and its various ramifications, it is necessary to keep something clear in mind: before the 20th century and the spreading of affordable synthetic fertilisers, all farming was organic. When the shift to the use of synthetics and pesticides happened, it became necessary to diversify traditional organic farming from the new modern farming. 


Simply put, organic farming forbids the use of synthetic fertilisers, synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or genetically modified organisms. The basic requirements are generally specific and engage the farmers not to use any chemical fertilisers and other synthetic products in the vineyard. It does not prevent the vintner from using the conventional winemaking process after harvesting. 


Let’s take organic farming one step further: Biodynamic. The creator of this agricultural system is the Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner, who developed the principles of biodynamics in a series of lectures given in 1924 in Germany. Here lies the foundation of true organic wines, with a strict limit in the use of additives, stringent requirements and at the end obtaining a biodynamic certification.


The previous definitions are usually, and rightfully, associated with it, because most natural wine is also organic and/or biodynamic. But not vice versa!

Natural wine is wine in its purest form, simply described as nothing added, nothing taken away, just grapes fermented. No manipulation whatsoever, minimal intervention both in the vineyards and in the winery. Healthy grapes, natural yeast and natural fermentation, with no filtration nor fining. Sounds easy, right? However, making natural wine is unforgiving and it requires a bigger amount of work than conventional wine. To this day, natural wine has no certification yet.