Sunday, October 25, 2009
Ambitious Rheinhessen Winemakers - "Message in a Bottle Group" (Germany)
Picture: Weingut Wittmann
Rheinhessen is the largest viticultural region in Germany. Every fourth bottle of German wine comes from Rheinhessen. About one third of Rheinhessen’s agricultural area is cultivated with vines, more than 26000 hectares. The high-yielder Mueller-Thurgau accounts for about 1/5 of the vineyards, and Silvaner and Dornfelder both for 1/10. Riesling is on the backburner. Unlike in other German wine regions, where monoculture of the vine is the norm, here the many rolling hills are host to a wide variety of crops grown alongside the grape. Rheinhessen also has the rather dubious honor of being considered the birthplace of Liebfraumilch.
At the same time, Rheinhessen is at this time among Germany’s most interesting wine regions. A lot is happening there. This is not because of the terroir, but because of the people. There is an increasing group of young, ambitious and dynamic winemakers who want to produce and indeed do produce outstanding wine and not wines in large quantities.
Twenty of those have created a network of wine makers and they have given themselves the name “message in a bottle”. Not a lot of words are necessary, just open a bottle of wine from these winemakers and you get the message. It is in the bottle. You do indeed find outstanding wine in the bottles of these winemakers.
They are not only colleagues, but they claim to be also friends. When the “message in the bottle’ network was created in 2002, most winemakers joining the network were not yet well established and were trying to work their way up, except for two: Philipp Wittmann/Westhofen and Klaus-Peter Keller/ Flörsheim-Dalsheim.
„Message in a bottle“ is:
Wein– und Sektmanufaktur Battenfeld-Spanier
Weingut Oekonomierat Johann Geil I. Erben
Weingut Seehof Ernst Fauth
Weingut Villa Bäder