Thursday, September 26, 2013

Government Owned and Run Wineries in Germany - Staatsweingut Weinsberg in Wuerttemberg

Picture: At Staatsweingut Weinsberg

In Germany, the Government owns and runs a number of wineries, including several very large wineries. Germany is a federal state with 3 levels of government: federal, state and local. At the federal level, there is no government ownership in the wine industry, but there is extensive involvement at the state level. In addition, there is government ownership at the local level.

At the state level, there are 2 kinds of involvements. First, there are wine estates that are government owned, but operate like private wineries. There are five such wine estates in Germany and all of them are large. Second, there are government wine estates that produce and sell wine, but also fulfill other functions, notably research and education. The second group I understand is treated like government departments and is accounted for in the national accounts in the government sector.

This posting profiles Staatsweingut Weinsberg. In an earlier posting, I provided an overview about the role of government in the wine industry in Germany; I will quickly summarize my main findings here.

The Role of Government - Government Owned Wineries in Germany

Weinrallye # 67: Politik und Wein - Politics and Wine

This posting is being published as part of the Weinrallye, a monthly blog event in Germany. Participating wine bloggers - mainly in Germany - are all releasing postings today under the same heading – Politik und Wein (Politics and Wine). Weinrallye is the brainchild of Thomas Lippert, a winemaker and wine blogger based in Heidelberg, Germany. Weinrallye #67 is organised by food blogger Astrid Paul from Arthurs Tochter Kocht (Arthur's Daughter Cooks).

Picture: Weinrallye

I am profiling a government owned and run winery in Germany - Staatsweingut Weinsberg, including a short description of the five largest government run and owned wineries in Germany. I recently visited Staatsweingut Weinsberg.

Touring (and Visiting 4 Wineries in) the Württemberg Wine Region (Zabergäu), Germany

The Big Five

Here are the "big five".

Hessische Staatsweingueter Kloster Eberbach (Rheingau and Hessische Bergstrasse)

The Hessische Staatsweingueter Kloster Eberbach, owned by the State Hessen, is Germany's largest wine estate. It serves as an umbrella organization for seven individual wine estates, including 3 wine producing facilities and cellars. The total vineyard area of the 7 estates comes to more than 200 hectares, of which 85% are planted with Riesling, 10% with Pinot Noir and 5% with other varieties.

Most of the vineyard holdings of the Hessische Staatsweingueter date back to the 12th centuries, when Cistercian monks founded the famous Eberbach Abbey.

In the Steinberg, Eberbach Abbey, Rheingau, Germany 

Landesweingut Kloster Pforta (Saale Unstrut)

The Landesweingut Kloster Pforta is located in Saalhäuser in the Saale-Unstrut wine-growing region and owned by the State of Sachsen-Anhalt. Its origins date back to the Pforta Abbey, founded in 1137 also by Cistercian monks. The vineyard area totals 51 hectares.

Saechsisches Staatsweingut Schloss Wackerbarth (Sachsen)

The Saechsisches Staatsweingut Schloss Wackerbarth is located in Radebeul in Sachsen and owned by the Federal State of Sachsen. The vineyard area totals 94 hectares. Some of the vineyards are terraced and on steep slopes, along the Elbe river.

Staatliche Hofkellerei Wuerzburg (Franken)

The Staatliche Hofkellerei Wuerzburg is located in Würzburg in the Franken wine-growing region and owned by the State of Bavaria. The Staatliche Hofkellerei Wuerzburg can look back to a long tradition. Founded in 1128, it is Germany’s oldest wine estate. Initially, it was owned by the Prince-Bishops of Wuerzburg, who were simultaneously bishops of Wuerzburg and dukes of Franken. The vineyard area totals 120 hectares. These holdings are spread over many communes.

Staatsweingut Meersburg (Baden)

The Staatsweingut Meersburg is located in Meersburg at Lake Constance and owned by the State Baden-Württemberg. From its construction in the 1750s until the bishopric was dissolved in 1803 it was the seat of the Prince-Bishop of Constance. In 1802, it passed – along with the Salem Abbey - into the hands of the Margrave von Baden during Napoleon’s secularization. The vineyard area totals 62 hectares, planted with Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Riesling, Müller-Thurgau, Traminer and Regent.

Wine Estates as Government Departments

There are a handful or so wine estates that operate as a government department. These are wine estates that produce and sell wine, but also fulfill government functions, notably research and education. The following 4 of them are even members of the VDP association, Germany’s association of elite winemakers. Staatsweingut Weinsberg, Staatliche Weinbaudomaene Oppenheim, Forschungsanstalt Geisenheim and Staatsweingut Freiburg und Blankenhornsberg.

Staatsweingut Weinsberg

Staatsweingut Weinsberg is a department of the Government of Baden-Wuerttemberg. It is part of a school and research institute, which was initiated and planned by Immanuel August Ludwig Dornfeld (1796-1869), the father of the well known Dornfelder grape variety, and built in 1868 as the "Royal School of Viticulture" under King Charles I of Württemberg (1823-1891), the first viticultural school of Germany.

Picture: Staatsweingut Weinsberg

Today, between 30 to 50 students are at the school with the aim to become a Weinbautechniker (vocational winemaker training). This is a winemaker degree below the bachelor level. The school also trains coopers.

As for research, new grape varieties developed here include Acolon, Cabernet Dorio, Cabernet Dorsa, Cabernet Mitos, Dornfelder, Kerner, and Silcher.

Picture: The Wines of Staatsweingut Weinsberg

Staatsweingut Weinsberg has 40 hectares of vines, some of which are planted in the estate’s solely owned Weinsberger Schemelsberg and Abstatter Burg Wildeck. Riesling, Lemberger and Pinots dominate.

Pictures: In the Cellar

Managing Director of the Staatsweingut Weinsberg is Günter Bäder. Gerhard Wächter is the Winemaker. Annual production amounts to 20.000 cases. The Staatsweingut also produces sparkling wine and spirits. The Staatsweingut Weinsberg is a member of the VDP, the association of German elite winemakers.

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When Americans Drink German Wine - What They Choose

German Wine Basics: Sugar in the Grape - Alcohol and Sweetness in the Wine

JJ Pruem Goes Supermarket: Meeting Katharina Pruem and Tasting the Incredible JJ Pruem Wines at Wegmans

David Schildknecht: Riesling's Gobal Triumph: A Pyrrhic Vistory? - Rieslings globaler Triumph: Ein Pyrrhussieg?

The Wines of Franz Kuenstler from Hochheim, Rheingau, Germany 

The Role of Government - Government Owned Wineries in Germany

One of the Fathers of the German Red Wine Revolution: Weingut Huber in Baden

Wine region: Baden and Württemberg, Germany

In the Glass: A 2007 Pinot Noir from the Gault Millau Shooting Star of the Year - Estate Baron Gleichenstein, Germany

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Touring (and Visiting 4 Wineries in) the Württemberg Wine Region (Zabergäu), Germany

In the Steinberg, Eberbach Abbey, Rheingau, Germany 

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