Domaine Bernard Defaix

The fourth generation from a family of vine-growers, Bernard Defaix started with two hectares in 1959. At that time a method to protect the vineyards against spring frost was discovered and the vine-growers could now be sure to have a minimum of harvest every year and began to develop a more stable trade and living.

Bernard two sons took over in the 1990’s and have been managing the domain for twenty years

  • Sylvain vinifies and supervise the cellars.
  • Didier takes care of the vineyards and the general management of the domain.

Helene, Didier’s wife, looks after the administrative and the commercial part.





The vineyards stretches over 27ha of Chablis 1er cru Cotes de Lechet, les Lys and Vaillons as well as Chablis ac villages and Petit Chablis.

In 2009 the vineyards were officially converted into organic farming and received the official Ecocert certification.

It was a natural evolution since for many years, farming had already moved forward a more sustainable and ecological way.

Ploughing is done to maintain the soil and to burry the weeds.

Only sulphur and copper is used for the vineyard protection and therefore it has to be used as properly as possible in order to reach the best efficiency without spraying too much nor too often.

Considering this new context, the winery focus on the plant to get back to its central role and helping it to fight against parasites. Didier also uses various preparations borrowed to the biodynamic approach: the 500P (horn manure) for the soils vitality, the 501 to stimulate the foliage and the photosynthesis as well as other “herb tea”.


As Didier Defaix puts it “we are getting closer to the working situation of our parents when they started, yet with two important advantages. On the one hand, we use a much higher-performance material and now have forecast tools for the weather and to evaluate the pressure of the diseases.”


In order to make good wines, you need good grapes.”


That’s why the first step for successful wine making is the work in the vineyard. The training of the vines on organic farming with a very rigorous follow-up enables the grapes to reach their peak level of maturity and expression.

The grapes are machine harvested in order to have a better flexibility of work and brought rapidly to the winery where they are immediately pressed.


In the harvesting bins, there is a chamber at the bottom to collect the juice and separate it from the harvest in order to avoid oxidation. Then, the harvesting bins are emptied on a conveyor belt that “feeds” one of the presses. With this system, Defaix can refine the sorting, and the grapes are absolutely not triturated. The gentle pressing allows them to sort the best juices. Finally, on the new press, the bottom collecting the juices has reduced dimensions so that the surface contact between air and juice is as small as possible.


The alcoholic fermentation and then the malolactic fermentation are both done in stainless steel tanks or in oak barrels according to the cuvées. The wine stays on its fine lees during 8 to 12 months; it depends on the characteristics of each vintage and each cru. During this time, the lees can be regularly moved to give more fat to the wine if the vintage needs it. In barrels, we move the lees by batonnage; in tanks, we do that by pumping‑over without contact with air.

Racking generally begins in March with the Petit Chablis and ends during summer for the premier crus. To ensure a soft clarification, the wines are fined. Then they go thru a light filtration before bottling.


The goal is to preserve and enhance the characteristics of each vineyard and to let them express themselves into our precise, pure and mineral wines.” Héléne Defaix.