Cave Jean Rene Germanier - Humagne Rouge
Jean-René Germanier is regarded by many as one of Switzerland’s top wine producers.
Founded in 1886, making it one of the oldest Swiss wineries, this family owned company is now headed by 3rd generation Jean-René and his nephew Gilles Besse.
Today they continue the family tradition of wines and spirits with the same passionate and untiring pursuit of quality. They produce wines that have earned them a place alongside the best winemakers in Switzerland while devoting their efforts in particular to the native varieties and wines characteristic of the unique terroir of the Valais.
The boutique winery produces unique, award-winning wines such as Cayas, Mitis and Cornalin Champmarais which are enjoyed at the best tables in Europe.
With an average age of 35 years the vineyards themselves guarantee ample structure in the bottle.
"We believe that the cultivation of vineyards must be conducted in such a way as to produce the best possible grapes with maximum respect for the environment. For this reason we were among those who pioneered methods of integrated production, which guarantee carefully moderated use of chemical agents by integrating natural factors. The spider mite for example, is controlled by means of its natural enemy, the typhlodrome mite. Today we are once again in the vanguard of methods introduced to better safeguard the environment through practices such as the greening of vineyards, as part of a transition entirely to certified organic production. We believe this is one of the most important steps towards a sustainable viticulture for the future."
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From 1896 onwards when he harvested his first vintage at Balavaud, Urbain Germanier devoted his life to his vineyards. Later, the torch passed to his three sons, Francis, Paul and Charles whose wines claimed their place among the premiers crus, the best growths of the Valais.
Around 1940 Francis Germanier decided to introduce a table pear variety to the plains of the Rhône valley called Williams, or Williams Bon Chrétien after the English nurseryman who discovered it. In 1945 a severe storm threw the entire harvest to the ground. Faced with this disaster Francis decided to distill the fruit. The resultant eau-de-vie proved extraordinarily aromatic and harmonious. The Bon Père William was born and rapidly established itself as one of the typical specialities of the canton, inseparable from the legendary spectacle of the pear in the bottle. The production of spirits became for many years the most important activity of the family domaine until winemaking returned to predominance in the course of the 1980s.
DNA testing recently determined that Humagne Rouge originated in the Val d'Aosta in Italy (just over the St. Bernard pass from Valais) where it was commercially extinct, but has now been replanted under its original name "Cornalin". The original name is used as the botanical name for the grape so Humagne Rouge is (Cornalin). However, the Swiss had reused the "abandoned" name Cornalin in the 1970's as a more marketable name for the grape (Rouge du Pays).
In Switzerland wines called Humagne Rouge and Cornalin are made from different grapes, but a Humagne Rouge from Switzerland and a Cornalin from Italy are made from the same grapes. You may see people distinguish the separate uses of Cornalin as "Cornalin d'Aoste" and "Cornalin du Valais" but the easiest way is to just know whether the wine is from Italy or Switzerland.
Humagne Blanche (Humagne) is, despite the name, unrelated to Humagne Rouge (Cornalin). The grape the Swiss call Cornalin (Rouge du Pays) is one of the parents of Humagne Rouge (Cornalin), the other being unknown and assumed extinct.