Frederic Rochaix & Famille

Cave & Domaine Les Perrières,  Geneva, Switzerland

100
Hectares
13
Grapes
18
Wines
Frédéric Rochaix runs the Domaine Les Perrières together with his siblings. They are the 8th generation of winemakers at Domaine Les Perrières.

In your opinion, what are the traits that make a good winemaker?

The most important thing is passion. It may sound obvious, but when you go through a really difficult time you realise that the only thing able to motivate you is the love for what you do. This gets you up in the morning, keeps you going when you get knocked down, and brings you satisfaction at the end of the day.

The Rochaix family

The eighth generation of the Rochaix family consists of three brothers and a sister, three of whom work at the winery (Sandrine, Fabian and Frédéric), while the fourth (Emmanuel) lives in Tokyo where he combines his regular work with representation tasks for Domaine Les Perrières.

Frédéric takes care of marketing, commercial activities and management. After graduating from the Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne in 2013, he worked in finance for five years, after which he decided to take over the winery's commercial direction. It was a natural movement for him, as the management of the family business is a challenge that can be difficult, but also allows him the opportunity for self-realisation. His experience in industries different from wine enabled him to broaden his vision and increase his ability to deal with different managerial topics.

Do you have any passions outside of work?

Yes, I am an epicurean: I love food and food-pairing. I try to make a trip to a high-end restaurant once or twice a year. It’s my guilty pleasure. I also enjoy sport, it is an occasion to clear one’s mind. I have played rugby for most of my life, but right now I prefer running and fitness.

You follow Production Intégrée standards, right?

We have been following an eco-responsible cultivation in line with the principles of Production Intégrée (“integrated production”) for more than 30 years now and our mindset is to keep advancing in our sustainable practices. Ecological aspects are always taken into account in our decision-making. Our aim is to minimise intervention and promote biodiversity. We avoid unnecessary treatments and opt for bio-certified ones when possible. We also keep beehives and tree houses for migratory birds on our estate, and we have parcels devoted to “ecological compensation”, which mean they remain free of any crop in order to foster biodiversity.

What about exports?

Export is not our priority as there is enough demand at Swiss level to sell our wines. Also, from an ecological point of view it makes perfect sense to favour local economic circuits. However, we do export a small amount of our wines for visibility. We want to make our work, our products, and our Swiss wine known internationally. Japan is one of the main markets we work with. My brother lives there and is in charge of the operation. Japanese culture shares our appreciation for excellence and tradition. It makes a lot of sense for us to address an international audience that shares our values.

The Geneva region is gaining clout in Switzerland, but is still unfamiliar to many – and deserves more recognition. People are always positively surprised by our wines.

You have received many awards for your wines, is there one you are particularly proud of?

We recently were awarded eight gold medals and two trophies at the Sélection des Vins de Genève 2020, a competition that is very important for us because all the jury members are locals and come from the trade. Whether they are winemakers, journalists, or winegrowers' associations – they know the wines of Geneva very well. I am particularly proud of the two trophies: the prize for the best sparkling wine in the canton and the "tradition" trophy, awarded to the winery that obtains the highest average with its Chasselas (white) and Gamay (red), the two most planted grape varieties of Geneva.

You have a deep bond with the village of Peissy. Is it important for you to demonstrate the importance of terroir?

Absolutely. I must mention, however, that there are so many variables in wine production that two wines of the same terroir –if managed by two different winemakers – will never be the same. Peissy is an important part of our history. We are six wine estates in the village, and we often organise common events. We see them as an opportunity to promote our village and our territory. There is camaraderie amongst us, we know that we are stronger together.

Many wine lovers don’t know about Geneva wines. What do they need to know about them?

The Geneva region is gaining clout in Switzerland, but is still unfamiliar to many – and deserves more recognition. People are always positively surprised by our wines. Geneva is the most diversified canton in terms of grape varieties, and we have rich and fertile soils. These two factors combined allow for the production of a large range of wine styles. Besides, being lesser known, we are at a very interesting price point for consumers. Swiss wine connoisseurs are starting to discover Geneva wines, to our great joy. They have everything to conquer the public, and the world should know! But of course, the best thing is to come and see it for yourself.

Do you receive many visitors?

We host many events: open-cellar days, live music concerts… we even have a riddle course that takes place in the vineyard. Wine is not only a product, but also an experience. People do enjoy approaching wine in a different way and being entertained, and our idyllic scenery, only 15 minutes away from the city, is certainly an asset. That’s why, despite having quite a complete wine tourism offer, we still aim at growing it in the near future.

You are also active on social media, what is the importance of these digital platforms for your business?

Communication evolves and we need to remain dynamic and innovative to adapt to changes. Thanks to social media we can reach new audiences and enrich the consumer experience. When you have a bottle in your hand you are faced with a finished product, but many things happen before it gets there (laughs). The consumer wants to know the ins and outs of the story. They want to know why, how, for how long, etc., and social media allows us to explain all these aspects.

What is your favourite wine and which dish goes best with it?

I am often asked that question (laughs). Actually, it depends on the season. I love to drink Sauvignon Blanc in summer, for its fragrant bouquet, its harmony in the mouth, its balance between acidity and freshness. It is a wine that pairs well with fish. As we approach the cold season, we enter the Gamaret period: this indigenous Swiss variety (a cross between Gamay and Richensteiner) pairs very well with tasty meats, especially game.

Cave & Domaine Les Perrières

Cave & Domaine Les Perrières

Geneva,Switzerland

Frederic Rochaix & Famille

Hectares
100
Hectares
Grapes
13
Grapes
Wines
18
Wines

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