Monday, January 9, 2012

Germany’s Top 100 Winemakers – Handelsblatt online and Vinum 2011

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller with Armin and Caroline Diel. Schlossgut Diel is one of the 12 estates that has been continuously on the list. Visiting Armin and Caroline Diel and their Schlossgut Diel in Burg Layen in Germany

Every year, towards the end, Handelsblatt online and Vinum release a list of the 100 Top Winemakers in Germany, this year for the 26th time. This is a pretty good list of Germany’s Top 100 Wine Estates. Overall, I would say, right on the dot, although there are always wineries where you wonder why they are on the list and other where you wonder why they are not on the list. Handelsblatt is the German equivalant of the Financial Times and Vinum is a wine journal.

Here is a link to the new list of Germany’s Top 100 Wine Estates.

Here is a posting on schiller-wine on the previous year's list.


Here are the winemakers that did were dropped from the list this year.

Weingut Schloss Proschwitz (Sachsen)
Karthäuserhof (Mosel)
Weingut Rosch (Pfalz)
Weingut Clüsserath (Pfalz)
Weingut Biffar (sold) (Pfalz)
Weingut Darting
Weingut Faubel
Weingut Duijn (Baden)


Here are the newcomers and returners.

Weingut Gebrüder Bercher (Baden)
Juliusspital (Franken)
Weingut Siegrist (Pfalz)
Weingut Graf von Kanitz (Rhein¬gau)
Weingut Freiherr von Gleichenstein (Baden)
Weingut Klaus Zimmerling (Sachsen)
Weingut Kranz (Pfalz)

Continued Presence for 26 Years

A dozen winemakers have been continuously on the list for 26 years. I find this very impressive. It is indicated by the number 26 next to their name. Here is the list.

Dr. Heger
Rudolf Fuerst
Toni Jost
Schloss Saarstein
JJ Pruem
Egon Mueller
Schlossgut Diel
Oekonomierat Rebholz
Dr. Buerklin-Wolf

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller with Joachim and Silvia Heger, Weingut Dr. Heger, one of the producers that has been on the list since it first appeared 26 years ago.

Organic and Biodynamic Wine Making

About 20 of the top 100 winemakers follow organic or biodynamic principles in the vineyard, indicated in a separate column. Weingut Battenfeld Spanier and Weingut Kuehling Gillot in Rheinhessen, both owned and run by H.O. Spanier and are two of them.

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller with H.O. Spanier

Dry versus Sweet

The table also gives the share of dry wines in total production for each winery. There are obvious regional differences, with the Mosel region clearly standing out in terms of a large share of sweet wines in total output. For most of the Mosel estates, sweet wines account for 50 % or more of the production, while it is the opposite in all other German wine regions.

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller with Manfred Pruem, Weingut Pruem in the Mosel valley. I met Katharina Pruem recently in the United States. JJ Pruem Goes Supermarket: Meeting Katharina Pruem and Tasting the Incredible JJ Pruem Wines at Wegmans


In terms of size, none of the wineries is large by international standards. About 20 have less than 10 hectares and about 20 have more than 30 hectares. The largest is newcomer Juliusspital with 172 hectar, followed by Dr. Buerklin Wolf with 90 hectares. The remaining 60 percent of the wineries are in the 10 to 30 hectares range.

schiller-wine - Related Postings

German and Austrian Wines in the Wine Spectator Top 100 2010

German Spaetlese Wines Can Come in Different Versions. I Have Counted Five.

Phil Bernstein’s Third Annual German Riesling Tasting with the German Wine Society, Washington DC Chapter - Rieslings With a Touch of Sweetness

Visiting Agnes and Fritz Hasselbach at their Weingut Gunderloch in Nackenheim, Rheinhessen, Germany

Visiting Weingut Josef Leitz in Ruedesheim – Johannes Leitz is Germany’s Winemaker of the Year, Gault Millau WeinGuide 2011

1.International Riesling Symposium

When Americans Drink German Wine - What They Choose

Terry Theise's Top German Wines of the 2009 Vintage

Impressions from the Riesling & Co World Tour 2010 in New York

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

1st International Riesling Symposium, Rheingau, Germany

The Wines of the Roter Hang (Red Slope) in Nierstein, Rheinhessen, Germany

Best German Dry Riesling - Weinwelt German Riesling Awards 2011 (2010 Vintage)

5 Top Wine Makers at Premier Cru Wein Bistro in Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Best German Wines – Gault Millau WeinGuide Deutschland 2012

The 100 Best German Winemakers 2010 – Handelsblatt online and Vinum


  1. Hi Christian,
    please keep in mind that the list is made by a couple of people. It is great to be in there, but it is better to do wines for the customers and not for a specific jury.
    On the other hand, why don't you make a list of your personal best 100 German winemakers?
    If I'm in it, I'll publish it prominent on my webpage, tell it to all of my customers. I just hope you won't charge any licensing fees ;-)

    Please keep up your great work. It's always good to have such a wonderful spokesman for German wine!


  2. Patrick, Weingut Johner will definitely be on my private list of Germany's top 100 winemakers, if I compile one, as would be Weingut Kuehn in the Rheingau and Weingut Kruger Rumpf in the Nahe region, to name a few. If I do a list, I will certainly not charge for it. But it is rather easy for me as I have sufficient other income. Cheers to the Kaiserstuhl. Christian