There is a feeling at the Domaine de la Colombe. If you stop for a moment and wait intently, you sense it as you step through the doors of the family’s centuries-old wood-paneled winery in Fechy. It is a tranquility that feels something akin to peace. And Laura Paccot is no exception.
She is kindness epitomized, her nature gentle even as she occupies herself not only with all of the vineyards of Domaine de la Colombe these days but also with her two small children, one of which is still very small indeed. Laura walks into the tasting room with her smiling six-month-old (sic) strapped to her front. The child is a baby doll replica of Laura- big round eyes, cherubic face, and soft wispy brown hair. They both look at me with those two sets of twinkly eyes, gazes fixed on my obvious out-of-place presence. She passes her sweet little one off to her sister, Marion, and we set off to see the vineyards and talk wine.
I can’t say that she ever stopped smiling as we drove around the plots of her family estate. For Laura, communion happens between the vines and the roots. She explains to me how the old vines teach the new vines how to grow from often decades of experience while the new vines teach the old vines how to be better as the new vivacious version of growth. This is the constant exchange between them as sacred as it is primordial. We drive along the paved roads that snake between the plots of Domaine de la Colombe and just when I think her face can’t smile any harder than it already has, her grin gets even cheekier. “C’est mon Papa,” she tells me as a dusty vintage wagon of some sort slows to a stop next to us. Staring back at us is a weather-worn face lined deeply, but with those same twinkly eyes. Raymond Paccot, the legendary producer who was a pioneer for biodynamic winemaking in Switzerland alongside the likes of Marie-Therese Chappaz and Henri Cruchon, is playfully teasing Laura and her “amie journaliste” with his adorable sarcasm. He quizzes her on her plans for the pruners that are working in one of the plots, her voice unwavering as she gives him her response. “He really wants me to take over and if I need him to, he will babysit the kids while I work! But some days he takes the reigns and tells me to be with my babies.” His faith in her is equally as unwavering as he nods and drives away, clouds of dust billowing through the row of vines behind him. It strikes me right then that the communal exchange between young and old extends beyond the vines- the generational flux is ubiquitous in Fechy it turns out.
Laura is not unique in this part of Switzerland that she comes from a winemaking family. What is unique is that she comes from two. Her mother’s family is Pio. We are standing in her mother’s vineyard and she says to me, “winemaking is the best job in the world.” Gingerly touching one of the leaves of her mother’s plot as she would the hand of one of her children she tells me with admiration thick behind her words, “this is my favorite one.”
When you are with Laura, you feel as though she has nowhere else to be knowing full well that two small humans and vineyards full of grapes await her undivided attention. Even driving, she is constantly turning to make eye contact with me as we cruise around Fechy in her giant mini-van, cup holders full of sippy cups, and a backseat full of car seats. She doesn’t need to watch the road, familiarity with the path something akin to the back of her very own hand. At 32 years old, as demure as she is focused, Laura frames her hand across her brow shielding the sun as she commands a field full of pruners telling them specifically how she wants the vines trimmed.
We get back to the winery and she points up at an antique tiled square hanging on the wall.
It is their family coat of arms. And in the center, a dove.
Over the years the logo of Domaine de la Colombe has evolved but one thing has remained constant to this day. That very same dove, la colombe, on every label of every bottle.
Raymond, Violaine & Laura Paccot
Route du Monastère 1
CH – 1173 Féchy
Tél. : +41 (0)21 808 66 48
Fax : +41 (0)21 808 52 84