Domaine Jean-Yves Péron

Conflans, Savoie, France

Simply put, without Jean-Yves Péron La Cabane would not exist in Hong Kong. Thanks to the long friendship with him and the desire to make people in other part of the World discover his wines, we started our business.

Out on the slopes of Haute-Savoie, nestled in the Alpine village of Conflans, the Savoyard winemaker Jean-Yves Péron established his domain, working only with local grapes following biodynamic farming. Unlike the neighbour region of Jura, terribly well-known for its long winemaking history, Haute-Savoie still remains much to be discovered. With the constant rocky outline of the Alps, this area is adventurous for winemaking, although here we find a few, and very peculiar, local varieties: spicy Mondeuse for the reds, crisp Jacquere and Chasselas, richer and more honeyed Altesse and Roussane for the whites.
Studying oenology in Bordeaux and working with winemakers around France and around the world, in 2004 he came back and started to collect small parcels planted with old vines of local varieties. Now he manages around 1.5 hectares of tiny parcels which he vinifies separately – the Jacquere, Altesse, Rousanne and Mondeuse vividly expressing the details of the soil and the coolness of the alpine climate. The whole estate lays on unstable soils, mostly composed of schists. The vines are relatively old, aged between 30 and 120 years old. Wild flora grows all around, making them stronger and more lively. Jean-Yves chooses to ferment in whole bunches for his white and red grapes but for varying amounts of times. He is incredibly meticulous in the cellar and the results in his wines are extraordinary.  All undergo some carbonic maceration and a regime of pigeage and skin maceration. "Pigeage" is the term for punching down the cap of grape skins that forms on top of the wine during fermentation, a process that imparts colour and tannins to the wine. His ultimate goal is to represent the Alps' grapes, in the largest sense of it, being the spokesman for this territory.

While Jean-Yves works organically and biodynamically but doesn’t see the need for any certification, preferring to let the wine speak for itself. The estate is divided into several micro-parcels containing Mondeuse, Jacquère, Altesse, and Roussanne.


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.