Bottling of Organic Chasselas sur lie

August 29th, 2012 | Posted by greg in Daily life... | Travel

On the long flight back to Hong Kong from my native Valais, my son Clement watched countless movies and cartoon on his screen. As I was seating next to him, I couldn’t help to notice that friendly big orange furry peanut on his screen… he was watching Dr. Seuss’s Lorax.

Empty bottles ready to be filled

In itself, it was 86 minutes of a what some of us would call a very basic plot, typical from Hollywood productions. A young guy cut trees, becomes rich, get carried away with loads of money until there are no more trees to cut and so on… Dr. Seuss published that book in 1972 – that’s 40 years ago. While I don’t necessarily focus on the fact of cutting trees, I liked very much the  “Let it Grow” underlying theme.

A few days before our flight, we were indeed letting it grow at my brother’s Sebastien vineyard.

Vianna at work!

We had the chance to help for the Mise en Bouteille (bottle filling?) of his first batch of organic Chasselas fermented on lees (we call it lie in French). The lees are the yeast and leftover particles of the wine after having filtered it the first time. It is normally removed for the second fermentation, but we can optionally keep it. Fermenting wine on lees gives a special aromatic flavour to the wine. Our family has been making wine for more than 60 years (Pinot Noir, Gamay, Chasselas and soon syrah).

Click here to watch the movie of the bottling, featuring the soundtrack of the Lorax movie for the occasion! 


Inside the vineyard

Gamay grape

Seb had a very hard time cultivating and keeping it all organic in the region where most wine maker use the traditional method. People in the area are very reluctant to change and they openly criticize the fact that a few people try to produce organic wine.

There should be a sign all over the vineyard saying LET IT GROW! And hopefully people would stop spraying herbicide and pesticide in their vineyard for the sake of yield and money.


On that sunny day, we’ve filled 105 beautiful bottles. We tasted it now, but we will really see its full potential a few month later – and I honestly can’t wait to try it then!

Plan-Cerisier; inside the village

Very interesting: You always see in the back of wine bottles “Contains Sulfites” and often wonder what is this. It’s simply sulfuric acid that is added to wine in most wine making today – I know very little winemakers that do without – it “fixes” the wine and prevent it from fermenting further (into vinegar for example), basically it stabilizes the wine – back in the Roman time, sulfuric acid was added by burning leaves inside the wooden barrel prior filling it with wine. (I find it amazing how they figured that one out back in the Roman time!)

The cellar’s door

The grape press from my Grand-Father

glasses are always reachable, hanging up-side-down from the ceiling!


The master himself! My brother Sebastien…

The cork machine


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