Born in Vosnee Romanée in 1922, Henri attended Dijon University and earned a degree in oenology. In 1945 he made a deal with the Camuzet family to farm their land in return for 50% of the grapes which he sold under his own label. Both parties found this agreeable because this agreement lasted right up until 1987.
During this period Henri was also acquiring small parcels of land in his own name and in particular plots in the premier cru vineyard Vosne-Romanée Cros Parantoux. Although it might be fair to describe Henri Jayer's wines in general as iconic, it is Cros Parantoux that perhaps deserves to be called legendary. After tasting the 1978 Cros Parantoux a co-owner of Domaine de la Romanée Conti announced that this was the quality of wine that they aspired to make.
In 1996 French law meant that he must either retire, or lose his pension. Having no children that were interested in taking over the Domaine, he transferred his vineyards to his nephew Emmanuel Rouget, although unofficially assisted in production until 2002. Henri's last vintage that he produced under his own label was 2001.
Henri Jayer died of Prostate Cancer in 2006. His wines are some of the most sought after wines in the world.