Thursday, October 20, 2016

Tour, Tasting and Dinner at Weingut Zur Schwane in Volkach, Franken, with General Manager/ Winemaker Christian Kallisch - Germany-East Tour 2016 by ombiasy WineTours

Picture: In the Old Cellar of Weingut Zur Schwane in Franken with General Manager/ Winemaker Christian Kallisch

Following the visit of the Richard Wagner Museum and lunch in Beyreuth, we arrived in the late afternoon in Volkach in Franken. Well known in Volkach is Zur Schwane in the center of Volkach, a top hotel with restaurant and a winery. This hotel has a more than 600 year history of catering to guests. It was in 1404 that the Schwan family founded this hotel across from the village church. Weingut Zur Schwane is a member of the VDP, the association of about 200 elite winemakers in Germany.

In the late afternoon, Weingut Zur Schwane‘s General Manager/ Winemaker Christian Kallisch drove with us to the vineyards of Weingut Zur Schwane and showed us the wine cellar. We tasted from barrel and from bottle in the winery and the hotel. We also met owner Michael Pfaff (of the previous generation) and Eva Pfaff-Düker (of the current generation).

Pictures: Arriving at Hotel/ Restaurant/ Weingut Zur Schwane in Volkach, Franken, with Owner Eva Pfaff-Düker

Following the winery tour and tasting, we had dinner at Restaurant Zur Schwane. This restaurant is renowned for its outstanding cuisine and its fabulous wine list showcasing the best of Franken.

We spent the night at Hotel zur Schwane and enjoyed the fabolous breakfast the following morning.

Weingut Zur Schwane

General Manager/ Winemaker Christian Kallisch took us on a tour to the vineyards, the new production facility, the old cellar at the hotel and the tasting area of the hotel.

We stopped 3 times for tastings: At the new production facility, the cellar (from barrel) and in the tasting room. Finally, we had more Zur Schwane wines for dinner at the Zur Schwane Restaurant.

Shortly after the Schwan family established the hotel they started their own winery. In the 1930s the Pfaff family purchased the properties. Today the winery and hotel/restaurant are owned and managed by Eva Pfaff-Düker and Ralph Düker. Within three generations the Pfaff family has turned the old, neglected property to one of the number one places for true pleasure in Franconia. A magical transformation: from an ugly duckling into the beautiful “Schwane”.

The family saga began when Maria and Josef Maria Pfaff became the owners of the historic building in 1934. The original building had been built in 1404, and was then made into an inviting and unique hotel with comfortable guest rooms. With the efforts put forth by the Pfaff family, the wines fruit brandies from the Schwane became widely known in Franconia.

In 1973 Petra and Michael Pfaff took over the newly flourishing property and continued the warm-hearted, sophisticated “Schwane” hospitality. This was officially signed and sealed in 1980, when the “Schwane” became a member of the Romantikhotel group, and the winery became a member of the association of German quality wine estates (VDP) in 1993.

Since 1997 Eva Pfaff-Düker and Ralph Düker have been managing the family business. Their credo is the contemporary interpretation of old traditions.

In the Vineyard

Christian Kallisch: For more than 2000 years grapes have thriven on the shell-limestone slope along the bend of the Main River. The region formed by the meandering Main is a unique terroir which has received a classification as one of the best vineyard locations in Germany. With its steep slopes, mud-covered limestone soil, and constant maritime-continental climate, it is ideal for viticulture.

Pictures: In the Vineyard

Escherndorfer Lump: With its south facing slopes and 60% grade, the wine growing there is rife with power and minerality. There we have planted three varietals: Silvaner, Riesling and Pinot Noir.

Volkacher Ratsherr: The Volkacher Ratsherr – our original slope! A thin layer of clay over a ground of shell and limestone is the foundation for the voluminous wines with the compact fruit from the Volkacher Ratsherr.

Christian Kallisch: The Dükers honor the long tradition by respecting the soil and natural environment. They see every vineyard and each wine as individual and practice a supervised “hand off” approach to allow the wines to develop with as little interfering as possible. 50% of their vineyards is planted with Franken’s signature grape “Silvaner”.

Pictures: First Tasting in the New Storage Facilities

In the Cellar

Christian Kallisch: What begins in the vineyards is completed in the barrels. Maturing in oak is especially important for red wines, as they reveal their aromas in contact with wood and oxygen. White wines, on the other hand, usually mature in stainless steel tanks to retain their freshness and liveliness.

Pictures: In the Cellar


Christian Kallisch: The delightful love affair between Franconia and Silvaner has lasted for over 350 years. Even though the vine originates from the Alps, it has found its perfect conditions here in Franconia. No matter how diverse the environment Silvaner is grown in and developed – it always remains true to itself, full-flavored and strong in character.

Pictures: Tasting from Barrel in the Cellar


Christian Kallisch: With its noble-piquant aroma, Riesling is deemed the king among white wines. German wines have gained international recognition from this stunning varietal, boosting their popularity abroad. This high quality wine only grows under the best climatic conditions and thrives in the sunniest regions.

Pictures: In the Cellar

Pinot Blanc

Christian Kallisch: Pinot Blanc is one of the most important white grape varieties in the entire world. Very often it matures in wood barrels; however we choose a combination of stainless steel tanks and barrels for the best balance. The resulting wine is not only full-bodied and elegant, but crisp and mineral driven as well.

Pictures: Tasting at Hotel Zur Schwane with General Manager/ WineMaker Christian Kallisch and Owner Michael Pfaff

Pinot Noir

Christian Kallisch: When it comes to high demands in quality, Pinot Noir, Riesling’s “red brother” will be your best choice. When grown under perfect conditions, this noble wine will reveal its unique ruby red, full-bodied and velvety Burgundian notes.

Dinner at Restaurant Zur Schwane

We had a wonderful dinner at Restaurant zur Schwane and more delicious Weingut Zur Schwane wines. 

Pictures: Dinner at Restaurant Zur Schwane

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