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Today, I bumped into Jérémie Burgdorfer…

While preparing for the second-hand pop-up store “Mes Pulls Font La Manche,” I bumped into one of the Angels of the Paradis wine estate: the new general manager, Jérémie Burgdorfer. Jérémie was born and raised in Paradis (lucky him!) before venturing into the world of HR and co-founding the communication agency Buxum.

 

During the grape harvests, his father Roger taught him the trade; a profession he grew fond of. The transmission didn’t happen overnight; much like the land, cultivating this skill was necessary before reaping its rewards, then the wine.

 

How was Paradis created?

My parents, Rosette and Roger, met at the village post office in Satigny. My mother was temporarily replacing someone, and my father was a vineyard worker. My father learned the trade of viticulture and nursery gardening from my grandfather. Initially, when my parents created the Paradis estate, a small part of the vineyard came from my grandfather, but the main activity was the nursery. The fields surrounding the path to the estate used to be the nursery with its grapevines. The estate was responsible for grafting at that time.

The Right Bank (790 ha according to Genève Terroir) including Satigny where the Paradis estate was established, is Switzerland’s largest winegrowing municipality. Rosette and Roger built their first working tool in 1983: a 35m2 dwelling and a 60m2 storage area. It wasn’t until 1987 that Paradis had a cellar, a grafting room, and two storage cellars. The nursery completely gave way to the vineyards in the early 2000s, but Roger, who was president of the Swiss nursery gardening federation, remained heavily involved in the field.

 

Today, Paradis is…

35 hectares of vineyards and a production of 300,000 bottles per year. Initially, we cultivated 1.5 hectares of vines. We don’t own the land for generations, so a large part of this area is not our property. These are vineyards that we rent from families who own the land but do not work it. This is quite common, especially in Valais.

 

But why Paradis?

Today, we recognize the positive force that the term “Paradis” evokes, but it wasn’t the case while growing up there. My father was born in a house in Satigny rented by my grandparents, which still exists and is called the Paradis house because it’s registered on the Chemin du Paradis. It’s the only house on that path. So, he named the estate Paradis after his childhood home, where he lived for his first 20-25 years.

 

Is this your Paradis now?

It depends on one’s concept of paradise; there are challenging days and complicated moments, like anywhere else, but it’s my form of paradise. It’s an environment where you feel serene, where you’re proud of what it is and it urges you to be a little better every day. So, yes, it’s a form of paradise. I am the first generation to take over because the generation before me created it, so having someone take over is a very new dynamic. As the successor, I’m directly impacted by the genesis, by the essence of the company because I experienced it when I was little. It’s a fantastic transition to life, but it also presents many challenges.

 

Perpetuating Paradis was an obvious decision?

I’ve always found it hard to follow the beaten path. And inevitably, when your parents have a business, especially an agricultural one, in our culture, it’s often expected that the next generation will take over, so there’s a bit of this inevitability. But for me, I didn’t like the fact that if I wanted it, I could have it.

My sister and I have always participated in the estate’s life according to our age. As a child and teenager, the October vacation week was spent harvesting. My father also entrusted me with a plot of grenache, which still exists, and I learned to cultivate it. As an adult, I used to come and work with my father on Sundays, and these moments added a bit of romance to this universe. However, I needed to gain professional experience elsewhere, and especially, I didn’t want to be “the son of.”

By doing something else, the desire to come back emerged. The desire to perpetuate a beautiful story. When I made this decision, I didn’t know in what form I would perpetuate this story, and I was living this independent side with Buxum in a completely different environment and context. So, the transmission transition happened gradually with my father over 3 years. And for the past 18 months, I’ve been completely involved in the operational side of the estate.

 

Jérémie used to tell his father: “I don’t think I would have pursued this profession if my family didn’t have an estate and if my family didn’t grow up in it,” because the passion for this land-based profession wasn’t love at first sight. The passion grew with time, transmission, work… and a return to roots. To taste a bit of this Paradis, passed down to Jérémie, there’s an online shop and distribution to places like Nicolas, Globus, or Manor. You can also enjoy Paradis in restaurants such as Café De Peney or wine bars such as Qu’Importe.

Otherwise, one must visit the estate (and who would refuse to visit Paradis???) where tastings, events, and tours punctuate the Angels’ daily routine.

 

It’s customary to end Big Interviews with a questionnaire, here it is:

A place that represents you
The Paradis house.
Your official canteen
I’m very fickle… but I return with pleasure to Café de la Paix.
Dark or milk chocolate?
I’m in the process of changing… it used to be milk, but it’s turning dark (laughs).
Your cherished object
My piano.
Your Robinson Crusoe book
“The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green.
The movie you’ve watched 40,000 times
No, I don’t have a movie like that, but I have a tennis match, Federer vs. Safin in the semi-finals of the Australian Open in 2005.
An artist on your playlist
I can’t name the song, but I’ve recently listened to Irma.
An Instagrammer you follow wholeheartedly
@Nielsacks


Photographiy
© Didier Jordan

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