Wednesday, October 2, 2013

A Painted Winetasting at Weingut Georg Mueller Stiftung in Hattenheim (Eltville), Rheingau, Germany

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller at Weingut Georg Mueller Stiftung in Hattenheim (Eltville) - "Weingut" (Winery) and "Kunstkeller" (Art Gallerie)

Weingut Georg Mueller Stiftung in Hattenheim (Eltville), Rheingau, is a member of the VDP – the association of German elite wine producers and makes excellent wines under the leadership of owner Peter Winter. Jointly with his wife Elvira Winter, Peter Winter also owns an Art Gallerie in Wiesbaden (Galerie Winter). When Peter Winter, who was the CEO of a leading German wine merchant for many years, retired from this job and bought Weingut Georg Mueller Stiftung, Galerie Winter branched out and established “Galerie Winter im Weingut Georg Mueller Stiftung”. The old wine cellar of Weingut Georg Mueller Stiftung was transformed in a gallerie with fascinating modern art work (see belwo). In addition, Galerie Winter im Weingut Georg Mueller Stiftung organizes periodically art exhibitions at the winery. Currently (until April 30, 2014), the exhibition “Painted Winetasting” by Nina Stoelting is on display. I attended the opening reception on September 21, 2013 at Weingut Georg Mueller Stiftung in Eltville.

For an earlier profile of Weingut Georg Mueller Stiftung see:
A Combination of Extraordinary Wine and Art: Peter Winter's Georg Mueller Stiftung Estate in Germany

Nina Stoelting and a Painted Winetasting at Weingut Georg Mueller Stiftung

The exhibition presents 10 paintings in which Nina Stolting tries to transform the aromas of wine into paintings via different structures, surfaces and colors. All 10 painted wines consist of a number of individual paintings, up to 8 different paintings for one wine. Not only individual grape varieties like Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir are painted, but also specific wines, like a 2010 Hattenheimer Nussbrunnen Riesling. They cost between Euro 2500 (Cabernet Sauvignon, 2004) and Euro 6200 (Pinot Noir, 2002).

Pictures: Opening Reception of a Painted Winetasting by Nina Stoelting at Weingut Georg Mueller Stiftung in Hattenheim

Weingut Georg Mueller Stiftung

Georg Müller, the co-owner of the famous Eltville sparkling wine cellar, Matheus Müller, established the estate towards the end of the 19th century. In 1913, he donated the estate to his home community of Hattenheim: with the stipulation to use the profits for the benefit of the needy in the community. Thus, the Wine Estate became the Georg Müller Stiftung, owned and run by the local government.

Pictures: Christian G.E. Schiller and Peter Winter at Weingut Georg Mueller Stiftung

Things changed dramatically in 2003, when the local government decided to privatize the estate, which had produced good wines until the 1970s, but since then had deteriorated. Peter Winter purchased the Estate and – after many decades of a “Dornroeschenschlaf” - revived it, obviously with sizable financial investments and his enthusiasm and dynamism. Part of the credit also goes to Alf Ewald, the energetic young winemaker, he hired.

Peter Winter

When you spent an afternoon at Peter Winter’s Weingut Georg Mueller Stiftung in Hattenheim in the Rheingau, you are a bit reminded of Donald Hess. Donald Hess and Peter Winter appear to be on the same journey, that of wine and art.

Picture: Peter Winter, Annette Schiller and Madeleine Jakits, Editor-in-chief of the leading German Food and Wine Journal Der Feinschmecker, in Berlin at the 100th Birthday of the VDP. See also: A Grand Ceremony in the Berlin Cathedral on the Occasion of the 100th Anniversary of the VDP - the Elite Winemakers of Germany

Peter Winter’s journey started in 2003, when he purchased the Weingut Georg Mueller Stiftung. Before that turning point in life, Peter Winter was for over 40 years in various key positions in the German wine industry. Importantly, for 18 years he was the Chairman of the Board of one of the ten largest wine companies worldwide. He is also President of the German Wine Exporter Association and teaches at the University of Geisenheim.

The Wine and Art Cellar

The cellar has become in part a museum. In addition to fulfilling its traditional role as the place to stock and age wines, the cellar is also a show room for modern art.

Pictures: Annette Schiller and Elvira Winter at the Painted Winetasting Opening Reception

Most of the modern art exhibited in the cellar was produced specifically for the wine cellar. The climatic conditions in the cellar needed to be taken into account in creating the art. Consequently, the sculptors and painters typically worked with stone, metal, silicon or plastic and painted behind glass, Plexiglas or on MDF panels.

Pictures: In the Cellar of Weingut Georg Mueller Stiftung

It is a fascinating setting down there in the cellar: a large space of about 1000 m2 and 250 years old. It can be used for various purposes, including receptions and wine tastings.

Alf Ewald

Alf Ewald is the architect behind the excellent George Mueller Stiftung wines. He was awarded the “young vintner of the year” prize in 2003. In terms of winegrowing and winemaking philosophy, Alf Ewald points out that as much as possible is done by hand. Grapevine pruning, the early removal of eyes, targeted defoliation and thinning significantly reduce quantities, which greatly increases the intensity of the aroma and the natural sweetness through a much improved leaf to fruit ratio. Soil management is based exclusively on an ecological approach. Fertilizers are avoided through the targeted use of special herbs. In the cellar, Riesling is produced in individually temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks. The red wines are matured in barrique barrels. It is important - says Alf Ewald - to protect the product by ensuring cool fermenting temperatures, avoiding unnecessary pumping and, first and foremost, by using the force of gravity. Overall, the goal is to produce top-quality wines while respecting the environment, culture and fellow human beings.

Pictures: Alf Ewald

Alf Ewald left Weingut George Mueller Stiftung the day before yesterday, on September 30, 2013. His successor is Tim Lilienstroem.


The estate covers an area of approximately 12 hectares with excellent vineyard locations such as Schützenhaus, Engelmannsberg, Hassel, Wisselbrunnen, Nussbrunnen or Heiligenberg. Of the vineyards on the wine-growing estate approximately 80% grow Riesling and approximately 15% grow Spätburgunder in an environmentally sustainable way. Frühburgunder, Müller Thurgau, Auxerrois und Ehrenfelser are grown in the remaining vineyards.

The Wine Portfolio

The wine portfolio includes about 2 dozens of wines. There are a number of entry-level (Estate) wines and single vineyard wines. The wine portfolio includes Grosses Gewaechs wines as well as fruity-sweet Spaetlese and Auslese wines. Some wines, including a Pinot Noir wine, are marketed under the PW Selection (Peter Winter) label. Finally, the wine portfolio also includes sparkling wine and a brandy.

Picture: The Wines of Weingut Georg Mueller Stiftung

Donald Hess

Whenever I visit Weingut George Mueller Stiftung, I am reminded of Donald Hess. Both share a passion for wine and art. Donald Hess from Bern, Switzerland, started his astonishing journey of buying and establishing wineries and art galleries around the globe in 1978, when he was in his early forties already.

Pictures: Donald Hess' Glen Carlou Estate in South Africa, including Wine Cellar and Art Exhibition

See also:
Wine, Art and Food: Donald Hess’ Glen Carlou Estate in South Africa

Over the past decades, he has bought or established several wineries all over the globe, in the US, in Argentina, in South Africa, in Australia and the US. Today, Hess Family Estates own six New World cellars and vineyards. Donald Hess is also into art. His Napa Valley collection opened in 1989 in the original winery built in 1903. The Museum at the Glen Carlou Winery outside Paarl South Africa opened in 2006, and his latest passion in Bodega Colomé, not only has an art gallery but also has a stunning hotel.

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German Spaetlese Wines can come in different Versions. I have counted five.

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