Monday, October 14, 2013

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

Christian G.E.Schiller with Bernhard Pawis at Weingut Pawis in the Saale Unstrut Region

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

With 3 grapes (out of 5) in the Gault Millau WeinGuide, Weingut Pawis is one of the leading wine producers in the Saale Unstrut region and the former East Germany.

Over the past years, I have met and visited Bernhard and Kerstin Pawis a number of times - the last time during the 2013 German Wine and Culture Tour by ombiasy, which included a tour of Weingut Pawis and dinner with paired wine tasting. See here: German Wine and Culture Tour by ombiasy, 2013

For an earlier profile posting about Weingut Pawis, see here:
Weingut Pawis in Saale Unstrut, Germany (2011) 

Weingut Pawis

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 a wine 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 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.

Pictures: Bernhard and Kerstin Pawis in 2001 and today

The VDP membership put Weingut Pawis on Germany’s wine map and the winery Bernhard and Kerstin had constructed 8 years ago reached capacity limits. Bernard and Kerstin 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.

Pictures: Weingut Pawis

Weingut Pawis sells about 1/3 of its production in the western part of Germany. This is unusually large, but having met Bernhard and Kerstin Pawis, seen the hip tasting room and tasted the Pawis wines, I can see why Bernhard Pawis is much more successful in the western part of Germany than his colleagues. But he does not export anything “and this will remain so” said Bernhard.

Pictures: Annette and Christian Schiller and Bernhard and Kerstin Pawis at Weingut Pawis

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 and Kerstin are very much into modern art and the Estate also houses a gallery with monthly changing modern art exhibitions.

Picures: Annette Schiller and Bernhard Pawis, Weingut Pawis at Kloster Eberbach, Rheingau


The vineyard area totals 11 hectares, with holdings in the Edelacker, Mühlberg (both 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.

Pictures: Annette Schiller and Kerstin Pawis looking at Freyburg and its Vineyards


In terms of winemaking philosophy, Bernhard explained that he is following sustainable vineyard practices. The wines are made primarily in a bone-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 brandies.

Picture: Weingut Pawis

Wine Portfolio

The Pawis wines are grouped with the aim of complying to the new VDP classification system. But the transition process is not yet over. Muehlberg and Sonneneck will both become an 1. Lage vineyard, while Edelacker will be a Grosse Lage.

Picture: Pawis Wines

VDP.Gutswein – weiss (white): Half a dozen entry-level white wines, in the Euro 7 to Euro 9 range.

VDP.Ortswein – Half a dozen wines around Euro 12.

VDP.Erste Lage – 3 wines (all Edelacker) for around Euro 14.

VDP.Grosse Lage – Half a dozen ultra-premium wines including a 2012er Edelacker Riesling Grosses Gewächs for Euro 22 and a 2011er Edelacker Weißer Burgunder Auslese for Euro 21.

VDP.Gutswein – rot (red): Half a dozen red wines starting at Euro 8.50 and including a 2011er Blauer Zweigelt (Barrique – 9 months) for Euro 17,80 and a 2011er Spätburgunder (Barrique – 9 months) for Euro 19.80.

Edition Weinhaus Pawis: Entry level wines made in his cellar with fruit bought from “collegues”, as Bernhard puts it.

Sekt-Flaschengaerung: Bernhard also produces a Sekt, brut nature, made in the méthode traditionnelle (about 1000 bottles), with all phases of the production in-house.

Brandies – Half a dozen brandies including a 2011er Birnenbrand Jeanne d'Arc for Euro 18.

schiller-wine - Related Postings

German Wine Basics: Sugar in the Grape - Alcohol and Sweetness in the Wine

German Wine and Culture Tour by ombiasy, 2013

Weingut Pawis in Saale Unstrut, Germany (2011)

JJ Pruem Goes Supermarket: Meeting Katharina Pruem and Tasting the Incredible JJ Pruem Wines at Wegmans

The Focus on Dry German Riesling – Daniel Hubbard Presents the German DSWE Portfolio to the German Wine Society (Washington DC Chapter)

The Wines of Franz Kuenstler from Hochheim, Rheingau, Germany

The World of Riesling in Seattle - Fourth Riesling Rendezvous in Washington State, USA

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