Domaine Jean-Pierre Herr, Yann Herr, Alsace
Past and Present
The Herr family have established themselves in the villages of Heiligenstein and Gertwiller, 20 miles south of Strasbourg, since 1870. Nowadays, Yann, the actual owner, works diligently towards new highs, solely driven by his will to let his wines express their terroir without chemistry.
For a long time, his family lived off polyculture such as green beans, beets, cattle and also grapes for wine. They planted a vast number of the varietals allowed in Alsace (Riesling, Pinot Gris, Sylvaner, Gewurztraminer, …) and the very one from and only found in Heiligenstein: Klevener.
The family was always dedicated to enhancing and respect their terroirs by working only with their hands without applying extensive farming techniques.
In 1963, Yann’s grandfather bottled his first vintage out of his 3 hectares (7.5 acres) vineyard. Later, his father carried on the same approach by never buying clones and avoiding as many times as he could any synthetic product: plowing manually his land and working by hand were his daily routines.
Early 2000’s, Yann joined his father in an estate which had grown up to 10 hectares (25 acres). Yann is driven by the understanding and showcasing his terroir, which can only be achieved by learning and not corrupting with chemical agent his estate. He insisted to obtain the organic certification and lower the yield to even deepen the quality on their wines. By doing so, the nutriments and minerals from the soil are more concentrated in a smaller quantity of grapes. When Yann took over his family estate in 2019, he sized down his operation to only farm 3.4 hectares (8 acres) and leased the other 17 acres. By doing so, he will go deeper into his dream: crafting biodynamic jewels.
Yann’s thirst for learning and improving his wines lead him to training and applying biodynamic farming methods. He does not care for the marketable approach of it and never really promote that side of his vineyards. What matter the most for him is to bring and educate wine enthusiasts into how delicious his wines are and why it is logical: you can only craft good wines with healthy vines. Yann also does not pick the easy way to evolve into a biodynamic vineyard. He will be starting the process of getting his certification through “BIODYVIN”. The entity is made of biodynamic veteran vintners. They are the only ones that come and investigates the candidates’ vineyards, farming techniques and wine making processes and are very thorough. It takes a minimum of 3 years to go through the whole process and only a little number are granted with this prestigious certification every year. It is done by peers and not profitable corporations.
Yann is applying to start the process in 2022 and he has his mind set on it for 2025. A strong contender for the emblematic region of Pinot Gris and Riesling.