Alexandre Gillioz

Les Fils Maye,  Valais, Switzerland

30
Hectares
17
Grapes
23
Wines
Training, improving, surpassing oneself: for Alexandre Gillioz, the wine taster must train like a sportsman.

A word about the team: who does what in the domain?

A total of 30 people are 100% committed to Les FiMaye. There are five closely linked teams: vineyard and oenology, sales, oenothèque and administration. As far as I am concerned, I am responsible for oenology. As head of viticulture, Roger Remondeulaz manages 30 hectares of vineyards and 30 hectares of fruit trees.

Alexandre Gillioz

At the age of 15, Alexandre Gillioz began an apprenticeship as a wine merchant. He then entered the Haute Ecole de Viticulture et d'Oenologie de Changins. At the same time, he worked for 6 years in the canton of Vaud and did his military service. He then obtained his federal wine merchant's certificate. In 2006, he began working for the Fils Maye as a wine merchant and oenologist. Overnight, he replaced his predecessor and became responsible for the winery in 2013.

Can you describe the atmosphere?

There are young and old colleagues, and everyone gets along very well. Once a year, we go on a company outing. Last time, we visited La Brévine, the coldest village in Switzerland. Except that the weather was very nice. The myth was broken (laughs). We tasted the famous "Green Fairy". We added water coming directly from La Brévine source to the absinthe. I have very good memories of it.

What is special about Les Fils Maye’s vineyards?

In Valais, we are fortunate to have an extremely generous land and an ideal climate. Vineyards grow on soils of rare complexity. With robust and gnarled vine stocks, our vineyards are arranged in terraces. They lean against steep slopes which are tamed by imposing dry stone walls.

Can you tell me an anecdote about the Clos de Balavaud?

It is an emblematic place in the Valais region and a renowned grand cru. This appellation is regulated by the cantonal ordinance on vines and wine. In order to meet the required criteria, we have undertaken an eco-responsible approach by planting shrubs to fill in the spaces that were not delimited by the dry-stone walls. This is how Clos de Balavaud was born.

If you were a grape variety, which one would you be?

Petite Arvine. I like this wine when it is rather dry with two or three grams of sugar to balance acidity. It is powerful, lively, expressive, fruity and sparkling. It gives joy and puts stars in our eyes. Appreciated in Switzerland, it deserves to be known beyond our borders. But if that happens, we won't have enough of it in Valais (laughs).

If I were to ask your colleagues and relatives, what would they say about you?

My colleagues would say that I am sensitive and rather discreet. Not quite like Petite Arvine (laughs). They would say that I sometimes lack expression, but that I know where I'm going. My friends find me extreme because I always want to go all the way and be the first. An endurance sportsman who likes to party and see a lot of people, but also to be alone in the Valais Alps.

A good oenologist must seek out the best terroirs and the best winegrowers.

Why did you decide to go into oenology?

I am the son of a winegrower. As a child, I used to taste the must when it came out of the press. I used to help with bottling. My internship as a cellar master with Les Fils Maye particularly marked me. There were so many different wines, everything was impressive. I learned intriguing techniques of wine transformation. Since then, I have found that the best products are fermented.

What does being a good oenologist mean to you?

A good oenologist must seek out the best terroirs and the best winegrowers, in order to have top-quality grapes and to transform them into wine in the respect of tradition. It's important to listen to people's feelings. I make wines for consumers, not for myself. You have to go all the way and surround yourself well. Be on the lookout for new technologies and do tests before launching out.

What makes you thrilled in your job?

There is not a year where the vinification process is the same, as we always depend on the weather. You have to be awake, reactive and use your experience. I am always curious to know what people will think of the new vintage. I like to find out what the consumer wants and do according to his desires. What also thrills me is the contact with the winegrower. They are two different but complementary professions.

What is the greatest challenge you have had to face at Les Fils Maye?

From one day to the next, I became head oenologist at Les Fils Maye. I replaced my predecessor at the end of the 2013 harvest. I was 32 years old. It was stunning. Along the way, I had to take over the 2013 vintage and take care of everything. The same month, I took over the presidency of a ski club. And to top it all off, my daughter Lucille was born.

Les Fils Maye

Les Fils Maye

Valais,Switzerland

Alexandre Gillioz

Hectares
30
Hectares
Grapes
17
Grapes
Wines
23
Wines

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