Anne-Claire Schott took over the family estate Schott Weine in 2016, a winery located in the northwestern part of Switzerland close to France. A third-generation winemaker, Schott is committed to biodynamic winemaking and minimal interventions for the vineyards and wines.
With a degree in art history, she brings a new fresh vision with a motivation to bridge the gap between art and wine, and to create an intellectual and emotional response from the drinker with her natural wines. For the over-made Bordeaux wine, however, she’s not a fan. In the interview, she delves into the concept of typicity for a grape variety, and the virtues and philosophy of natural wine.
How many years have you been aged so far?
I am 33. I took over the family owned winery four years ago.
What led you to wine?
The place where I was born. Then my inner wish to work in harmony with nature and the seasons. But keeping a traditional cultural good alive is also very important to me, doing something for nature and our landscape. Another point is being able to work independently and taking decisions that follow my heart. Finally, I am fascinated by creating a product from its source to the final symphony of all the work and thoughts I put into it.
What’s your pet peeves about wine?
There is too much industrial wine which has to taste always the same. I don’t like talking about a typicity of a grape that has to taste the same all over the world to be considered as “good”. Why must for example a Sauvignon Banc taste everywhere the same?
I really don’t appreciate Bordeaux wines. They are too over-made and there is way too few organic producers there.
Describe what’s an alcohol-free day like for you?
It’s a day when I take time for myself, doing yoga. Working too much, there is no free time for a glass of wine. When I taste wine during work I never drink it. Drinking wine is for me a thing I do only during free time, after work.
What’s your secret passion?
I don’t tell secrets:)
Well, I think it’s the biodynamic production, philosophy and way of life. It’s something like following your intuition, your heart and your feelings on all levels of life and work.
I also live and work with the phases of the moon and the constellations of the planets. I think the universe is amazing and it allows me to listen very closely to plants and nature.
What kind of wines are in your wine fridge?
Only natural, biodynamic and sulphite-free wines from European winemakers mostly and winemaker friends with whom we exchange bottles.
What’s the weirdest wine you’ve tasted so far that you actually liked?
Chilled red wines that actually sparkle a little bit. That’s when I discovered red natural wines.
If you can recommend one wine to any leader in the world, who would it be and what would you recommend?
I would recommend an orange wine, biodynamically grown, unfiltered, no additives, no sulphites, made from Gewürztraminer or Pinot gris grapes.
A true wine, which lives, changes, and is different everyday – which releases emotions and connects to nature and displays how precious she is. A wine that shows how various, diverse and unique life is and that everything and every moment is unique. Nothing is twice the same.
A wine that remembers to take care of our planet, to hold on in the present moment, stop consuming and growing eternally. Being happy with what we have.
A wine that makes you think about really important things in life. I recommend it to all leaders who can take decisions with impacts on this planet.
If you can drink any wine in the world, which wine would you like to have?
An orange wine – which I never tasted before- biodynamically grown, unfiltered, no additives, no sulphites made from an aromatic white grape.
A wine which lives, changes, is different everyday – which releases emotions. I love to discover new wines, it’s very inspiring and opens new perspectives on taste, philosophy and feelings and there are so many great producers I wish to know out there.
If you are a wine, how would you imagine your tasting note would be like?
I think I would be a wild, natural wine, which breaks all conventions, traditions and rules, but which has a hidden face that unveils a surprising very smooth and deep balance. It may be a wine that opens perspectives we don’t unusually explore. And it would be definitively a wine that is the direct expression of the winemaker’s heart and her vineyards.
What makes you happy?
Working with nature, being connected to earth and universe. Being able to feel plants and following my heart. Creating a wine that carries many messages that confronts people – and the most beautiful is when the people are able to feel and understand my message.
If you can only drink one wine for the rest of your life, what would it be?
My own natural and sulphite-free Pinot Gris orange – in thankful honor to my vineyards and grapes to celebrate that incredible harmony and relationship to them. Catching that love and feeling one last time.
And if there is not my wine, a wine I never had as described in answer nine.