Thursday, November 4, 2010

Where the SAP Bosses Buy Their Wines – Weingut Bernd Hummel in Baden, Germany

Picture: Bernd Hummel

Picture: Christian G.E.Schiller with Bernd Hummel and Otto Baison (Weingut Baison, Hochheim)

Former SAP Boss Dietmar Hopp buys his red wine at Weingut Bernd Hummel in Malsch, I was told. Weingut Hummel is one of the top Wine Estates in the Kraichgau in the northern part of Baden, Germany.

I toured – with the Weinfreundeskreis Hochheim – recently the Kraichgau. We visited, among others, Weingut Bernd Hummel.

The Weinfreundeskreis Hochheim was honored to have Otto Baison, the Senior of Weingut Baison in Hochheim, on the trip. Weingut Baison received international recognition earlier this year by winning a "best of Riesling 2010" award. See here.

SAP and Dietmar Hopp

SAP AG is a German software development and consulting giant. It is headquartered in Walldorf where 38000 of its 65000 employees work. SAP is the largest software enterprise in Europe and the fourth largest software enterprise in the world. The company's best known product is its SAP Enterprise Resource Planning software.

SAP was founded in 1972 as Systemanalyse und Programmentwicklung by Dietmar Hopp and five other former IBM engineers. Dietmar Hopp was born in 1940 in Heidelberg. He was the CEO of SAP AG from 1988 until 1998, Chairman of its supervisory board from 1998 until 2003 and member of the board from 2003 until 2005.

In 2006, Dietmar Hopp transferred 70% of his wealth (about €4 billion) to a charitable foundation, Dietmar-Hopp-Stiftung, which supports sports, medicine, education and social programs. Recently, Dietmar Hopp became known as financial backer of the German football club TSG 1899 Hoffenheim. When Dietmar Hopp, who had played in the club's youth setup, started supporting the club in 2000, Hoffenheim was playing in the eighth division of German football. Today, Hoffenheim is in the First Bundesliga. Dietmar Hopp also spent €60 million to build a new stadium near Sinsheim for the club.


Baden is Germany’s most southerly and - with 16,000 hectares (39,300 acres) under vine – third largest wine region. Despite its size and the quality of its wines, it is not well known outside of Germany, because it exports very little.
From north to south, Baden spans approximately 200 kilometers, and is primarily situated on the right bank of the Rhein river. On the left bank is Alsace in France. Lying primarily in the Rhine rift with the protection of Vosges Mountains to the west and the Black Forrest to the east, Baden’s climate is the warmest in Germany Baden is divided into nine districts.

Picture: Germany's Wine Regions

1. Tauberfranken, in the northeastern outskirts of the region and neighbouring Franconia. The wines are similar to the wines of Franconia, and are sold in the round Bocksbeutel bottle.

2. Badische Bergstrasse, the vineyards is a continuation of the small region Hessische Bergstrasse. This district is situated around the city of Heidelberg.

3. Kraichgau, just to the south of Badische Bergstrasse, and north-east of the city of Karlsruhe.

4. Ortenau, from Baden-Baden to just south of Offenburg is one of the more well-known districts.

5. Breisgau, from just south of Offenburg and to Freiburg. It has the highest average temperature and the number of sunshine hours of the region.

6. Kaiserstuhl, a cluster of hills of volcanic origin northwest of Freiburg with characteristic terraced vineyards.

7. Tuniberg is situated on flatter land just south of Kaiserstuhl and west of Freiburg.

8. Markgräflerland stretches from Freiburg to the Swiss border at Basel, and is known for its easy-drinking Gutedel wines.

9. Bodensee is situated in the southeastern outskirts of the region, on the northwestern shores of Lake Constance.

Baden is known for its Pinot wines, both white and red,which account for more than half of Baden’s wine output. Riesling plays only a minor role. By far the most commonly cultivated single variety is Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir) with nearly forty percent of the total vineyard area. Muller-Thurgau, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Pinot Blanc, and Chasselas are the main white varieties cultivated, but none more widely than Muller-Thurgau.

In Baden - like in Wuerttemberg - the wine industry is dominated by wine co-operatives; they account for 85% of the region's production. This explains the low export share. Private winemakers are the exception.


Like a sea of gently undulating waves, the rolling hills of the Kraichgau rise and fall between the banks of the Rhein and the Neckar rivers, stretching from Karlsruhe in the south to Heidelberg in the north. Its climate and fertile soils make it a prime agricultural country. The vineyards and fruit orchards of its Neckar river region and the asparagus and cereal crops of its Rhein river region are among Germany’s most abundant. The region’s second-largest city, Bruchsal, with its 18th century Baroque palace is, in fact, Europe’s largest asparagus producer. Wine has been made in Kraichgau since Roman times. In the region’s historic town of Bretten one of Martin Luther’s closest confidants, Phillip Melanchthon, was born.

Wein- and Sektgut Bernd Hummel

Wein- and Sektgut Bernd Hummel is located in Malsch, in the northern part of the Kraichgau. The vineyard area totals just 10 hectares, with holdings in the Ölbaum and Rotsteig sites. But Weingut Bernd Hummel also buys fruit from other growers, equivalent to 50.000 bottles.

Pictures: Bernd Hummel at the Wein- und Sektgut Hummel

Bernd Hummel led the cellar tour and the tasting. He is - like me - an economist by training, with a passion for wine. Maybe this is the reason, why I like this Wine Estate so much. Bernd got into winemaking through his wife, whose family was growing grapes -like so many in the Baden wine region – for the wine co-operative. He took over the vineyards of his father- in-law and a established a winery 30 years ago. He has been very successful and now ranks – with 2 Gault and Millau Grapes – among the top wineries in the Kraichgau.

His portfolio comprises red and white still wines, sparklers and brandies. Red wine accounts for a little less than half of his wines, with Pinot Noir in the lead. Bernd Hummel is open to new trends and was the first one to plant Cabernet Sauvignon in northern Baden 20 years ago; Merlot followed 10 years later.

The top red wines are matured exclusively in new barriques, all of French oak, and at varying toasting levels. Bernd Hummel uses in good years up to 300 barrels. Bottle-fermented sparkling wines as well as brandies are also produced.

In terms of prices, the wines start at Euro 6.90 for a Riesling and at 7.90 for a Dornfelder in the 0.75 liter bottle. They go up to Euro 54.00 for a 2005 Spaetburgunder Auslese trocken, barrique. All his wines are fully fermented and dry, or noble-sweet. He does not produce sweet wines by stopping the fermentation or adding sterilized juice. Currently, Bernd Hummel does not have any noble-sweet wines in his portfolio.

Bernd Hummel sells 85 % of his wines directly to the consumer. The remainder goes to a few restaurants and retailers. Nothing is exported.

We started the cellar tour with a 2007 Chardonnay Sekt brut, methode traditionelle, which impressed me very much and reminded me of a Champagne. Bernd Hummel produces his Sekts all by himself and lets them age for at least 30 months.

Picture: The Cellar for the Sparklers

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  1. Videos mit dem sehr sympathischen Bernd Hummel gibt es hier:

  2. I can higly recommend the videos of the "Weintrompeter" for those who understand German.