Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Weingut Pawis (Saale Unstrut): Estate Tour and Wine Tasting with Kerstin Pawis – Germany-North Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

Picture: Tasting the Wines of Weingut Pawis with Bernhard and Kerstin Pawis at Weingut Pawis, Saale Unstrut

The Germany-North Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014) took us to 3 exceptional winemakers in the Saale Unstrut region. One of them was Weingut Pawis, a member of the VDP, the association of elite winemakers in Germany. What Bernhard and Kerstin Pawis, born and raised in the GDR, have created in the past 15 years, is remarkable.

See also:
Germany-North Wine Tour by ombiasy, 2014
Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy, 2014
German Wine and Culture Tour by ombiasy, 2013

Kerstin gave us a tour of the estate, which allowed us to look at the vineyards from a distance. We then sat down in the tasting room and enjoyed the outstanding wines of Bernhard Pawis, who joined us towards the end of the tasting.

See also:
Weingut Pawis in the Saale Unstrut Region - A Profile, Germany
Weingut Pawis in Saale Unstrut, Germany (2011)

The Saale Unstrut Wine Region

The Saale Unstrut wine region is Germany’s most northern wine region, in the valleys of the Saale and Unstrut rivers, around Freyburg and Naumburg. With 730 hectares of vineyard area, it is one of the smaller wine regions in Germany. The oldest record of viticulture dates back to the year 998 during the reign of Emperor Otto III.

Located in the area of the former German Democratic Republic (GDR), Saale-Unstrut has become a thriving emerging wine region after the Berlin Wall came down in 1989 (as Sachsen, the other wine region in the area of the former GDR; Sachsen is half of the size of Saale Unstrut).

Pictures: At Weingut Pawis

Most of the region's vineyards are situated in the State of Saxony-Anhalt, with the remainder in the State of Thuringia and in the State of Brandenburg (the "Werderaner Wachtelberg" near Potsdam). The vineyards are located on the hillsides lining the Saale and Unstrut rivers. It all looks very attractive, with steep terraces, dry stone walls and century-old vineyard cottages, interspersed with meadows, floodplains. High above, are defiant castles and palaces. Culture, history, nature and wine are combined here perfectly.

Saale-Unstrut is the northernmost of Germany's wine regions, and is therefore one of Europe's northernmost traditional wine regions. It lies to the north of the 51st degree of latitude, which was considered to be the limit for viticulture before global warming. Also, the weather is more variable than in the regions to the west.

White grape varieties make up 75% of Saale-Unstrut's plantations. The most common grape varieties are the white varieties Müller-Thurgau and Weißburgunder (Pinot Blanc). The wines tend to be vinified dry and have a refreshing acidity.

Pictures: Looking at the Weingut Pawis Vineyards with Kerstin Pawis

Weingut Pawis

Weingut Pawis is located in the historic Zscheiplitz Estate, close to Freyburg. It is a gorgeous set-up, but as Bernhard Pawis told us, the renovation of the Estate was a major undertaking.

Bernhard Pawis is a trained winemaker, who got his education in the former German Democratic Republic. Shortly after the Berlin Wall came down in 1990, Bernhard’s parents - Herbert and Irene Pawis– bought 0.5 hectares of vineyard land and founded a small winery cum wine tavern (Strausswirtschaft). They sold the wine they produced in tavern on their premise. Bernhard had a day job, but helped his parents after work. Business was good, so when his father died in 1998, Bernhard decided to quit his job take over his parents’ winery. He constructed a modern winery in the center of Freyburg and enlarged the winery’s vineyard land through purchases and long-term lease arrangements. In 1995, Weingut Pawis produced 5.000 bottles, five years later 2000 50.000 bottles. Not only quantity improved, but also the quality of the Weingut Pawis wines and in 2001, Weingut Pawis was invited to join the VDP, Germany’s association of elite winemakers.

Picture: Art at Weingut Pawis

The VDP membership put Weingut Pawis on Germany’s wine map and the winery Bernhard had constructed 10 years ago reached capacity limits. Bernard moved again, this time to something grand, the historic Estate Zscheiplitz. The former feudal Estate Zscheiplitz was completely run-down and required a major renovation effort. Bernhard pushed ahead with it, overcoming many obstacles. Since May 2007, the Weingut Pawis is based at the Zscheiplitz Estate in Freyburg-Zscheiplitz.

The vineyard area totals 14 hectares, with holdings in the Edelacker, a VDP.Grosse Lage (Grand Cru), Mühlberg (Freyburg) and Sonneneck (Naumburg). The area is planted with the white varieties Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Müller-Thurgau, Silvaner, Bacchus and Kerner, and with the red varieties Dornfelder, Portugieser, Pinot Noir and Regent. The white varieties account for 80% of the portfolio.

In terms of winemaking philosophy, Bernhard explained that he is following sustainable vineyard practices. The wines are made primarily in a dry style, using temperature-controlled fermentation. The premium wines are matured in barriques made from the Trias oak found in the region. When vintage conditions permit, noble sweet wines are also made. The estate also produces bottle-fermented sparkling wines and grappa-style spirits.

Pictures: Tasting at Weingut Pawis with Bernhard and Kerstin Pawis

Weingut Pawis sells about 1/3 of its production in the western part of Germany. This is unusually large, but having met Bernhard Pawis, seen the hip tasting room and tasted his wines, I can see why Bernhard Pawis is much more successful in the western part of Germany than his colleagues.

The tasting room and the garden serve on weekends as a wine tavern during parts of the year (Strausswirtschaft). Also, winemaker dinners take place here. Bernhard is very much into modern art and the Estate also houses a gallery with monthly changing modern art exhibitions.

What Kerstin Pawis Poured


2013 Grüner Silvaner trocken
2013 Müller-Thurgau trocken
2013 Bacchus trocken
2013 Grauer Burgunder Muschelkalk trocken
2013 Riesling Buntsandstein trocken
2013 Riesling Quartz trocken

The Saale Unstrut and Sachsen VDP decided to drop the Ortswein category and to go for a 3-tier classification system.

VDP.Erste Lage

2013 Freyburger Mühlberg Grauer Burgunder trocken
2013 Freyburger Edelacker Weisser Burgunder trocken
2012 Freyburger Edelacker Weisser Burgunder Barrique trocken

VDP.Grosse Lage

2012 Edelacker Riesling GG
2012 Edelacker Grauer Burgunder GG
2012 Edelacker Riesling Eiswein


Thanks Bernhard and Kerstin Pawis for a great afternoon.

Picture: Annette Schiller and Bernhard Pawis

schiller-wine: Related Postings

Germany-North Wine Tour by ombiasy, 2014

Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy, 2014

German Wine and Culture Tour by ombiasy, 2013

Weingut Pawis in the Saale Unstrut Region - A Profile, Germany

Weingut Pawis in Saale Unstrut, Germany (2011)

No comments:

Post a Comment