To say that Guy Revaclier loves the vine is an understatement! Even his pets are named after grape varieties or wines: Nebbiolo, Pinot, Alba, Malbec… Dogs or cats, they all bear witness to this passion for grapes and their derivatives. When asked which Cave de Genève bottle he prefers, the winemaker is immediately curious and greedy: “I’m open to everything. Over the last thirty years or so, we’ve seen a lot of progress. Whether in blends or pure varietals, the quality is there. So every bottle we open is a wonderful discovery.
Learning the trade on the job
Guy Revaclier doesn’t make his own wine at Bourdigny. It’s a choice! He delivers his entire harvest to the Cave de Genève. “It would have required a lot of investment to get started…”. Instead, he pampers his vineyard with genuine happiness. It has to be said that he fell into the pot from a very early age. “I used to spend my free time on the straddle carriers, in the middle of the vines. It’s not an easy job, but I’ve always loved it! When the time came to take over the estate, and his brother wasn’t interested in the venture, he didn’t ask any questions: he just went for it. “I went to agricultural school in the Valais, at Châteauneuf, to get my CFC. That gave me the basics, but I really learned the trade on the job.
The family home has since become his stronghold. “It was my great-grandfather who settled in Bourdigny at the end of the 19th century,” he says. “He then divided his estate between his two sons. More than a hundred years later, Guy Revaclier now lives next door to his “little” cousin, Anne Revaclier, herself a winemaker for the Cave de Genève. This close proximity means they can lend a hand – particularly during the harvest. The man looks after his ten hectares of land on his own. On one side, the crops (wheat, soya, barley or sunflower, depending on the crop rotation plan), on the other, the vineyards! “I can’t do everything. A colleague comes and sows my fields semi-directly. As for the harvests, they are 100% mechanised, which means that three of us can do them…”.
Climate change and ecology
Guy Revaclier grows around ten different grape varieties on his 10-hectare estate: Chasselas, Chardonnay, Viognier, Gamaret, Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling: Chasselas, Chardonnay, Viognier, Gamaret, Cabernet sauvignon, Riesling… So he has a front-row seat to observe climate change in his vineyards. From the grapes suffering from the heatwave to the increasingly early harvest dates (end of August for 2022), there is no shortage of signs. But he has also noticed a shift in attitudes towards a more environmentally-friendly culture.
“No one has any unseeded vines any more. And you can find more and more organic wines in shops and restaurants. Recently, he was even able to take advantage of a demonstration for an automated electric straddle-carrier in his vineyard. The business is changing Yet Guy Revaclier continues to flourish in his vineyard. He appreciates the independence that this profession offers. The rhythm imposed by the vine with its unavoidable cycles. And then there’s always that magical moment when they get to taste the finished product… Pure bliss, of course!