Raphaël Bérêche began working alongside his father Jean-Pierre at their family domaine, Bérèche et Fils, in 2004. Founded in 1847, Bérèche et Fils has discovered a new breathe of life as Raphaël, the family’s fifth generation vigneron has taken the reins. The combination of innovative work in the cellar along with a turn towards natural viticulture has sprung new energy in the domaine’s Champagne. Raphaël is no longer using chemical herbicides in the vineyards and is now using cover crops and biodynamic techniques to encourage soil and vine health. Raphaël’s love for his family’s vineyards along with his passion for terroir focused Champagne have promoted his mission: “to excel in precision, tradition and respect for life.”
Raphaël is not alone in the journey of growing his family’s domaine. His brother, Vincent, is by his side helping the domaine become more focused on detailed aspects of production like working with cork for the second fermentation instead of capsule. It is the fine details that are slowly turning one of Champagne’s top growers into an iconic domaine.
With vineyards spread across Montagne de Reims and into the left bank of the Vallée de la Marne, the brothers have their hands full. They acquired their first grand cru vineyard in 2012 in Mailly and are growing Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier.
Raphaël vinifies each parcel separately. The grapes are picked and then pressed “in the most delicate way according to the flow of juice in order to get a regular juice extraction. The alcoholic fermentation is slow and continues in small containers.” Raphaël avoids malolactic and the family has slowly been increasing the amount of oak used in their cellar. Each of their wines mature on fine lees and are racked off by gravity. Bottling takes place at the end of May and the bottles are cellared for 2-8 years. All disgorging is done by hand and traditional liqueur is used for dosage.