Thursday, March 27, 2014

Germany’s Top 19 Winemakers - Der Feinschmecker WeinGuide 2014

Picture: Philipp Wittmann, Weingut Wittmann, and Wilhelm Weil, Weingut Weil

Der Feinschmecker, the leading German wine and food journal, presented its new ranking of the German wine scene in the Der Feinschmecker WeinGuide 2014.

The Der Feinschmecker Weinguide 2014 includes the 900 top winemakers of Germany; 19 of them are in the top category of 5 F’s. The Der Feinschmecker uses a scale of 1 to 5 F’s.

For previous years see:
Germany's Top 18 Winemakers - Feinschmecker WeinGuide 2013
Germany's Top 16 Winemakers - Feinschmecker WeinGuide 2012 
Germany's Top 16 Winemakers - Feinschmecker WeinGuide 2011
Germany's 15 Top Winemakers - The Feinschmecker WeinGuide 2010

Promotions and Demotions

1 winemaker was promoted to 5 F's: Weingut Meyer Näkel in the Ahr Valley. Nobody was demoted.

19 Top Winemakers

Here are those winemakers that got in the Feinschmecker Weinguide 2014 the maximum number of 5 F's, grouped by wine region.


Weingut Meyer Näkel

Weingut Meyer Näkel was established by the marriage of Paula Meyer and Willibald Näkel. Although Willibald Näkel only cultivated 1.5 hectares of vines he was already a pioneer for the then rather unusual dry red wines from the Ahr valley. Today’s 15 hectares estate is managed by his son Werner Näkel, his wife Claudia and their daughters Meike and Dőrte.

Pictures: Doerte Naekel and Christian G.E. Schiller at a Dinner in Hattenheim, Rheingau

Kuenstler, Meyer-Naekel, Wirsching – Winemaker Dinner at Kronenschlösschen in Hattenheim, Rheingau, Germany




Rudolf Fuerst

Weingut Rudolf Fuerst has the reputation of being a specialist for red wines, Spaetburgunder and Fruehburgunder, which account for 60% of the production; but brilliant dry wines are also produced. 18.6 hectares.

Horst Sauer

Weingut Horst Sauer is well known for his noble-sweet wines, but the Sauers also produces top dry wines, from Silvaner and Riesling. 16.5 hectares.

Hessische Bergstrasse





Fritz Haag

Weingut Fritz Haag produces a broad range of styles, from dry to lusciously noble sweet wines. Weingut Fritz Haag is owned and run by Oliver Haag. In the US, it is available through Loosen Bros. (Ernst Loosen). 16.5 hectares.

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller and German Winemaker Oliver Haag, Weingut Fritz Haag, in Seattle

The German Winemakers at the 4th Riesling Rendezvous in Seattle, USA


A wine estate in the Ruwer Valley, with a long tradition and an exciting history, now led by Christoph Tyrell; he has focused on carefully crafted dry wines. 19 hectares. A couple of months ago, a press release indicated that Christoph Tyrell, who has no children and who is on his mid-60s, has arranged the succession of the Karthaeuserhof with his cousin Albert Behler. Albert Behler lives in New York City, where he is President and CEO of the Paramount Group, one of the largest privately-owned real estate companies in New York City. 19 hectares.

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller with Christoph Tyrell, Karthäuserhof, in Mainz, Germany.

For more, see:
The Karthäuserhof in the Mosel Valley: An Eventful History – From Grenoble in France to New York City in the US

Dr. Loosen

Run and owned by one of the most entrepreneurial German winemakers, Ernst Loosen; in addition to producing outstanding wines in Germany, he makes the famous Eroica in Washington State (jointly with Chateau Ste. Michelle) and has started to produce wine, notably Pinot Noir, in Oregon. 22 hectares.

Pictures: Ernst Loosen, Annette Schiller and Christian G.E.Schiller at the Tasting at Weingut Dr. Loosen

Riesling from Germany and Pinot Noir from Oregon: A Winemaker Dinner with Ernst Loosen, Weingut Dr. Loosen and J.Christopher Wines, at Black Salt in Washington DC.
Riesling, Pinot Noir and Indian Cuisine: A tête-à-tête Dinner with Winemaker Ernst Loosen, Weingut Dr. Loosen, at Rasika in Washington DC, USA
Ernst Loosen and Dr. L. Riesling - His Hugely Popular Entry-level Wine Sold Throughout the World;
The Doctor Made a House Call - A Tasting with Ernst Loosen, Weingut Dr. Loosen, at MacArthur Beverages in Washington DC, USA
A Riesling Guru and a Killer Guitarist cum Cult Winemaker: Ernst Loosen and Jay Somers and their J. Christopher Winery in Newberg, Oregon
Wine ratings: Two American/German wines - Eroica and Poet's Leap - on Top 100 Wines from Washington State list for 2009
German American Wines: (1) Pacific Rim Riesling (2) Eroica and (3) Woelffer's Schillerwein
The German Winemakers at the 4th Riesling Rendezvous in Seattle, USA

Egon Mueller - Scharzhof

The legendary Scharzhof lies on the Saar River. Egon Mueller’s fruity sweet and noble sweet, low alcohol wines are a legend. 16 hectares.

Joh. Jos. Pruem

For decades now, one of the really exceptional winemakers in Germany. The aging potential of the Weingut J.J. Pruem wines is legendary. Katharina Pruem is in the process of taking over from her father Manfred Pruem. 21 hectares.

I met Manfred's daughter Katharina Pruem in Washington DC recently and wrote about Weingut JJ Pruem: JJ Pruem Goes Supermarket: Meeting Katharina Pruem and Tasting the Incredible JJ Pruem Wines at Wegmans

Picture: Annette Schiller, Ombiasy PR and WineTours, with Manfred Pruem, Weingut JJ Pruem.

German Wine and Culture Tour by ombiasy, 2013
3 Wine Tours by ombiasy Coming up in 2014: Germany-North, Germany-South and Bordeaux

Sankt Urbans Hof

A rather young wine estate that was established about 50 years ago. It is now owned and run by the founder’s grandson, Nik Weis. Most of the elegant, fine and light wines are exported. 33 hectares.

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller and Nik Weis in Berlin: Germany’s VDP Wine Estates Celebrate 100th Anniversary in Berlin - Overview

Maximin Gruenhaus - Von Schubert

The historic Maximin Grünhaus estate lies at the foot of a long, steep south-facing slope on the left bank of the Ruwer river and is divided into three separate but contiguous vineyards: Abtsberg, Herrenberg, and Bruderberg. The estate belongs to the family of Carl von Schubert. The estate was first documented in 966. The Schubert family purchased it in 1882.

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller and Carl von Schubert in Washington DC

Carl von Schubert from the Maximin Gruenhaus Estate Returned a Favor: With his Wines in Washington DC (and in Seattle), USA

Schloss Lieser

The village Lieser is located next to Bernkastel-Kues. The village’s landmark is the mighty castle “Schloss Lieser”, built in 1875 and inhabited by the Baron of Schorlemer. In 1904 the winery of Schloss Lieser was constructed. Over the years, several changes of ownership led to a decline in quality. In 1992, Thomas Haag, son of Wilhelm Haag, former proprietor of Weingut Fritz Haag, became the General Manager, bought the estate in 1997 and brought the estate of Schloss Lieser back to the top of the Riesling estates in Germany. 10 hectares.


Herrmann Doennhoff

Owner and winemaker Helmut Doennhoff is a Grand Seigneur of German wine. His son Cornelius is in the process of taking over. 25 hectares.

Picture: Tasting with Helmut Doennhoff

An Afternoon with Riesling Star Winemaker Helmut Doennhoff at Weingut Doennhoff in Oberhausen in the Nahe Valley, Germany


Werner Schoenleber has invested a great deal of personal dedication and his promotion to the top rank is definitely warranted. His wines are known to be rich in character and highly esteemed worldwide. 17 hectares.

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller and Werner Schoenleber, Weingut Emrich-Schoenleber at the 2013 Riesling Gala at Kloster Eberbach, Germany

Schaefer- Fröhlich

Tim Fröhlich took over Weingut Schäfer-Fröhlich in 1995 and has since then impressed the wine world with his dry, fruity -sweet and noble sweet white wines. 15 hectares.

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller with Tim Froehlich, Weingut Schaefer-Froehlich, in Wiesbaden



A world class producer of both dry white and red wines. Werner Knipser has been experimenting with international red grape varieties for some years. Virtually all wines are fermented in a dry style. 57 hectares.



As a founding member of the Weinfreundeskreis Hochheim, I have watched Weingut Kuenstler in Hochheim ising from a small winery to one of the world leaders of German wine. The wine growing tradition of the Künstler family can be traced back to Southern Moravia in 1648. I remember very well the small row house in Hochheim that was the initial home of the Kuenstler winery in Hochheim. 42 hectares.

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller with Gunter Kuenstler at Schloss Johnnisberg. Weingut Kuenstler was founded by my the late Franz Kuenstler. We were both founding members of the Weinfreundeskreis Hochheim: The Wines of Franz Kuenstler from Hochheim, Rheingau, Germany

Kuenstler, Meyer-Naekel, Wirsching – Winemaker Dinner at Kronenschlösschen in Hattenheim, Rheingau, Germany

Robert Weil

A top producer of Riesling wines, in particular fruity sweet and noble sweet wines, well presented in the major wine markets in the world. Now co-owned by the Japanese Suntory company and General Manager Wilhelm Weil, the fourth generation of the founding family. 80 hectares.

Picture: Christian G.E.Schiller, Martina Weil, Annette Schiller, Wilhelm Weil at the 2013 Rheingau Riesling Gala

German Riesling and International Grape Varieties – Top Wine Makers Wilhelm Weil and Markus Schneider at Kai Buhrfeindt’s Grand Cru in Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Visiting Wilhelm Weil at his Weingut Robert Weil in Kiedrich, Germany
Tasting with Wilhelm Weil the 2010 Weingut Weil Wines in Kiedrich, Germany



Leader of the Rheinhessen wine renaissance. Has a broad wine portfolio with 60 % accounted for by Riesling and also including the lesser known autochthon Silvaner as well as Spaetburgunder. 15 hectares.


Leader of the Rheinhessen wine renaissance. Since 2003 only biodynamic wine growing. A broad portfolio with 60% Riesling and also Silvaner and Spaetburgunder. Known for his outstanding dry wines. 25 hectares.

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller and Philipp Wittmann in Mainz







Postings - 2013 German Wine and Culture Tour by ombiasy

3 Wine Tours by ombiasy Coming up in 2014: Germany-North, Germany-South and Bordeaux

German Wine and Culture Tour by ombiasy, 2013

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

Tasting at Weingut Balthasar Ress, Hattenheim, Rheingau, with Stefan Ress, Germany

Impromptu Winetasting with Alexander Jung, Weingut Jakob Jung, Erbach, Rheingau, Germany

A Tasting at Weingut Peter Jakob Kühn, Rheingau, with Angela and Peter Jakob Kühn, Germany

Tasting with Rita Busch at Weingut Clemens Busch in the Mosel Valley, Germany 

Ernst Loosen Presented his Wines at Weingut Dr. Loosen, Bernkastel-Kues, Mosel Valley, Germany

Cellar Tour, Vineyard Tour, Tasting and Lunch with Georg Rumpf, Weingut Kruger-Rumpf, Nahe Valley, Germany

An Afternoon with Riesling Star Winemaker Helmut Doennhoff at Weingut Doennhoff in Oberhausen in the Nahe Valley, Germany

The World Meets at Weingut Weegmueller, Pfalz, Germany

Tasting with Johannes and Christoph Thoerle, Weingut Thoerle in Saulheim, Rheinhessen, Germany

Impressions from the Mainz Wine Market 2013, Germany

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