After a two-year apprenticeship with Claude Rosset, the Agricultural School of Marcelin conferred upon me in 2013 a 'Certificat Fédéral de Capacité’ patent in Viticulture.
This led me to Changins, Switzerland's renowned school for Viticulture & Oenology. But rather than enroll in the Bachelor course to become an Oenologue ('winemaker'), I opted for a combination course in Viticulture & Oenology, leading to a ‘Brevet’. While at Changins, I occasionally worked with Reynald Parmelin.
I am actually a third generation winemaker, as my grandfather Othmar Ernst used to make wine. My mother Isabel, was working in their vineyard in Flurlingen, during the bombing raid on nearby Schaffhausen. It was Hans Freitag who passed on to me his passion for agriculture. During the 1970s, I was fortunate enough to be able to help him on his farm, with the cattle and in the fields. Freitag passed away in 2015.
The first wines I produced were named after my mentors in the agricultural, viticultural and winemaking worlds. Some wines were named after persons who inspired me or who contributed to raising the profile of Swiss wines in a significant way. The explanations are attached to the wines for sale in the Shop, (under "Detail").
Upon taking over the family winery at the end of 2014, I opted for a viticulture that is more respectful of the environment and decided to stop herbicides and pesticides. By now we have completely converted to organic farming. Furthermore, I follow the bio-dynamic principles laid out by Rudolf Steiner and passed on to me by Pierre Masson and Philippe Suardet The vines receive maximum attention. All major tasks are undertaken by hand : pruning, de-budding, green harvest, harvest and of course the application of biodynamic preparations.
Proper tillage of the soil beneath the row with natural grass cover favor a good development of soil-life.
The vines are protected against diseases in addition to sulphur and the Bordeaux mixture, with applications of bottlebrush, wicker, willow barks, nettles, valerian and silica.
Thus our ecosystem is getting resilient.