Monday, February 23, 2015

Weingut Karl-Heinz Johner in Baden: Cellar Tour and Tasting with Karl-Heinz and Patrick Johner – Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

Picture: Weingut Karl-Heinz Johner: At the Sorting Table

The visit of Weingut Karl-Heinz Johner was a very special and most entertaining one. First, it was our last stop at a winery in Baden, before driving over to Alsace in France and onto the Pfalz region, in Germany again. Second, on that day, not only our group arrived at the winery, but also grapes from the 2014 harvest and we could have a first hand look at the sorting of the grapes.

Third, Karl-Heinz Johner spends half the time in New Zealand, where he has established another winery – Johner Estate – a few years ago. Thus we did not only have the privilege of tasting the Weingut Johner wines (from Baden/Germany), but also the Johner Estate wines (from New Zealand). Finally, we were hosted by both the senior boss – Karl-Heinz Johner – and the junior boss – Patrick Johner; with the latter, Annette and I spent the 2014 Digital Wine Communications Conference in Monteux in Switzerland a few weeks after our visit at Weingut Karl-Heinz Johner.

Pictures: Arriving at Weingut Karl-Heinz Johner

Patrick and Karl-Heinz Johner

Karl-Heinz Johner’s live as a winemaker is a bit unusual. After having received his oenology degree at the well-known Geisenheim University in Germany, Karl-Heinz Johner spent the first 10 years or so of his professional career making wine in Kent, UK. In fact, he was one of the first, if not the first, to produce English sparkler, which are increasingly gaining international recognition. He then returned to Germany in 1985, created Weingut Karl Heinz Johner and started to make wine in Germany. From the outset, Karl Heinz Johner worked with barrique barrels, which was unusual at the time. These wines were considered by the German wine establishment as so far away from what German wine should be at the time that they could not be marketed as Qualitäts- or Preaedikatswein but only as table wines. Then, he got a bit bored in Germany and decided to venture into winemaking in the New World. He created Johner Estate in New Zealand and now spends a lot of the time there, while he still keeps an eye on Weingut Karl-Heinz Johner in Germany.

Pictures: At the Sorting Table with Karl-Heinz and Patrick Johner

Patrick followed in his father’s footsteps. He was born in the UK and speaks beautiful English. He studied, as his father, winemaking at the Geisenheim University. He then did internships in the Bourgogne and Australia and travelled with his father around the world to eventually establish Johner Estate in New Zealand. He now got married, has a family with young children and is grounded in Germany. He runs Weingut Karl Heinz Johner in Baden as well as the sale operations of the two Johner wineries in Germany. Stuart Pigott included Patrick Johner in his recently published list of the 111 most promising young German winemakers.

Pictures: In the Cellar

Weingut Karl Heinz Johner

Weingut Karl Heinz Johner is in Bischoffingen in the Kaiserstuhl area in the Baden wine region in Germany. The vineyard area totals 16,5 hectares, and is planted with Pinot Noir(5,8 ha), Pinot Gris (4,1 ha), Pinot Blanc (3,5 ha), Müller-Thurgau (1,9 ha), Chardonnay (0,4 ha) and Sauvignon Blanc (0,4 ha).

Pictures: In the Tasting Room

Weingut Karl Heinz Johner has its own classification system. There are no references on the label to vineyard sites. All wines are either table wines or QbA (Qualitaetswein besonderer Anbaugebiete). The best wines come as reserve bottling, marketed as „SJ” (Selektion Johner). All wines are bottled with a screw-cap closure. Patrick Johner is now mainly responsible for the wines of Weingut Karl Heinz Johner.

Weingut Karl-Heinz Johner is a 3 (out of 5) grapes producer in the Gault Millau WeinGuide Deutschland ranking. Annual production is around 100.000 bottles of wine.

The Johner Estate in New Zealand

One of the wine success stories in the past couple of decades is New Zealand. New Zealand’s wine makers have penetrated the global wine market with stunning Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir wines, but also with other grape varieties and sparklers. Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc are New Zealand’s flagship grapes. New Zealand is a relatively small wine country, at about 10% of Germany’s wine output or 2% of France’s output, the world’s largest wine producer.

Pictures: Tasting with Karl-Heinz, Irene and Patrick Johner

The Johner Estate was established in 2001 by Karl Heinz and Patrick Johner. It is outside of Masterton in the northern Wairarapa Valley. Wairarapa is a young wine growing region north of Wellington over the Rimutaka Hills.

The Johners have planted 8 ha of various Pinot Noir clones, originally selected in Burgundy, 3 ha of Sauvignon Blanc and a further hectare of 10 trial Varieties ranging from Pinot Gris to Syrah.

What Karl-Heinz and Patrick Johner Poured

Weingut Karl-Heinz Johner

White Wine

2013 Rivaner Euro 8
2013 Lössmännle Euro 8
2013 Grauer Burgunder Euro 12
2012 Sauvignon Blanc Euro 16
2013 Weisser Burgunder and Chardonnay Euro 16 80% Weisser Burgunder 20% Chardonnay
2011 Chardonnay SJ Euro 25
2012 Weisser Burgunder SJ Euro 25

2012 Chardonnay SJ
2013 Weisser Burgunder SJ
2013 Grauburgunder SJ

Red Wine

2011 Blauer Spätburgunder Euro 18
2011 Pinot Noir Bischoffinger Steinbuck Euro 25
2011 Blauer Spätburgunder SJ Euro 50

Johner Estate

2014 Sauginon Blanc Euro 10
2013 Sauvignon Blanc Gladstone Euro 15

2013 Pinot Noir Wairarapa Euro 12
2013 Pinot Noir Gladstone Euro 18


Thank you very much for a most entertaining tasting and winery tour.


A couple of months later at the Digitale Wine Communications Conference (DWCC) in Switzerland with Patrick Johner.

schiller-wine: Related Postings (Weingut Karl-Heinz Johner and Johner Estate)

Visiting Winemaker and Web 2.0 Guru Patrick Johner - Weingut Karl Heinz Johner and Johner Estate - in Baden, Germany

Germany's Best Pinot Noir Wines - BerlinSpätburgunderCup 2012/2014

German Wine Makers in the World: Karl Heinz Johner in New Zealand

schiller-wine: Related Postings

4 Wine Tours by ombiasy coming up in 2015: Germany-East, Germany-South. Germany-Nord and Bordeaux

Germany-North Wine Tour by ombiasy, 2014

Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy, 2014

German Wine and Culture Tour by ombiasy, 2013 

In the Vineyard and the Wine Cellar (and Lunch) with Robert Schätzle, Owner and Winemaker, Weingut Schloss Neuweier in Baden – Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

Wine Tasting Luncheon at 1 Star Michelin Röttele's Restaurant im Schloss Neuweier in Baden, with Winemaker Robert Schätzle and his Weingut Schloss Neuweier Wines – Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

Weingut Zähringer in Baden: Cellar Tour and Tasting with Winemaker Paulin Köpfer – Germany-South Wine Tour by ombasy (2014)

Weingut Freiherr von Gleichenstein in Baden: Tour and Tasting with Baron Johannes von Gleichenstein – Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014), Germany

Weingut Franz Keller in Oberbergen, Kaiserstuhl, Baden: Cellar Tour and Tasting with Fritz Keller – Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

Lunch at Restaurant Schwarzer Adler in Oberbergen, with Weingut Franz Keller Wines – Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

Wine Tasting at Weingut Bernhard Huber – Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

Visit: Weingut Dr. Heger in Baden – Germany-South Wine Tours by ombiasy (2014)

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