A new face on the Swiss and Valaisan wine scene, Ilona Thétaz has quickly made a name for herself among the young guard of winegrowers to follow closely. Installed on the heights of Saxon, in the middle of the apricot trees and the sheep, she shapes vintage after vintage of frank and fresh wines, quite as authentic as she is...
|Cultivated grapes||Fendant, Gamay, Arvine...|
|Size||About 5 hectares|
|Our favorites||Tinpéta, Orage de Grains Blancs|
Originally from the Canton of Lucerne, Ilona dreamed of being more of an actress than a winemaker, but it is indeed a training as an oenologist that will lead her to Valais. An apprenticeship at Domaine de Beudon in 2013 alongside Pierre Antoine Crettenand, then a position at the Provins cooperative, and finally flying on her own wings since the 2019 vintage.
It is in a farm perched on the heights of Saxon that Ilona decides to take root, surrounded by hundreds of apricot trees on nearly 4 hectares, cats, chickens and sheep. The name was found, "Ô Fâya Farm", inspired by the Valaisan dialect for sheep, completed with a touch of English, a name that perfectly describes this atypical place, mixing traditions and innovations, isolated far from everything but yet so open and close to people.
In addition to apricots, which Ilona sells as far away as Zurich, she starts to produce wines in 2019, which she still makes at friends' houses before setting up her own wine-making and maturing cellar on her estate, thanks in particular to the help of a campaign conducted on Yes We Farm. Since the beginning of 2021, the farm is certified Bio Suisse, guaranteeing Valais apricots without synthetic pesticides. After having gleaned grapes from her friends for her first trials and vintages, Ilona now cultivates her own vines, mainly in the commune of Fully. Fendant, Gamay, Sauvignon Blanc, Arvine... ripening peacefully on the precious terroirs of the Combe d'Enfer or Tassonières, in the heights of the village.
The wines are elaborated without inputs, with no or little sulfur, without filtration. The wines are free, frank and fresh, bringing a new wind to the region, dressed in magnificent colored labels, designed by Emma, Ilona's daughter, who lives with her at the domain.
A real family affair that you just have to discover!
Across the Saarland, Ilona Thétaz is known for her wines as much as she is for her culinary talents! In 2020, she participated in one of the leading programs of the Swiss television channel SSR, Landfrauenküche. It is in her farm of Saxon that she welcomes the other candidates of the show, in the middle of the sheep and the apricot trees, and wins the affection of the public.