The house of Leon Beyer is one of Alsace's most important, family-owned wine company. Of course, it is impressive to market some 600,000 to 800,000 bottles a year, of which 80% is exported to at least 50 countries. But there are three things which, in combination with each other, make Leon Beyer quite unique:
But let's start from scratch. The Beyer family has been involved in viticulture since the 1580s. The present firm was founded by Emile Beyer in 1867, followed by Leon Beyer I and II, both of which were the mayor of Eguisheim in decades. Today the firm is managed by Marc Beyer and his son Yann-Léon (see picture below).
Leon Beyer owns just over 20 hectares of vineyards in Eguisheim, which - with simple math - means that about 1/3 of annual production is covered thereby. The additional area is made available by owners who for some reason do not want to make their own wine, sell their grapes to the cooperative or act as contract growers. With this arrangement Leon Beyer has full control over the quality of the grape material. Gradually they pursue the transformation towards increasingly environmentally friendly farming, without the ambition to seek certification.
The firm has consistently positioned itself as a producer of "vin de gastronomie ". Thus they make bone dry wines, where the bigger wines require many years to show their full potential. They manage to ferment the sugar in the mature grapes without making the wines high in alcohol and unbalanced. At the fermentation of the wine, it may be difficult to bring down sugar the from, say, 6 grams/liter to 3 grams/liter. To achieve this, Beyer selects and multiplies yeast from an active vat with particularly high microbial activity, which is then used for inoculation of other vats. Thus, they make a completely natural "boost" of local yeast from their own grapes.
Leon Beyer has a huge inventory of wines waiting to be placed on the market. The wines are kept in a large, underground , vaulted brick cellar under constant temperature and optimum conditions. The top wines, Gewurztraminer Comtes d'Eguisheim and Riesling "R de Beyer" (from Grand Cru Eichberg) and Riesling Comtes d'Eguisheim (from Grand Cru Pfersigberg) is 6-8 years when they are released for sale. This has given Leon Beyer a special position in the market, and neither private customers or restaurants need to tie up time, money and space for storage.
Yes, Léon Beyer is a big firm with local standards. The profile is high and international. But the care, pride and commitment is personal, authentic and deeply anchored in the tradition of the family and of the region. And the wines are really, really good.
Latest visit: 2011