Monday, March 7, 2016

Weingut Maximin Grünhaus Joins VDP, the Association of Germany’s Elite Winemakers

Picture: Annette Schiller and Carl von Schubert, Maximin Grünhaus, at the 2016 Rieslingfeier in New York City

The VDP (Verband Deutscher Prädikatsweingüter e.V.), Germany’s Association, of about 200 Elite Winemakers announced that Weingut Maximin Grünhaus has become its newest member, following the admission of Weingut Kai Schätzel on January 1, 2016.

Of course, this is a bit unusual. Typically, new VDP members are up-and-coming young winemakers. Weingut Kai Schätzel, which was admitted a few weeks ago, is a prime example. The dynamic Kai Schätzel has pushed Weingut Schätzel within a couple of years to new heights and the invitation from the VDP did not came as a surprise.

Weingut Maximin Grünhaus is very different. It has been a world class winery for many years. In the Feinschmecker ranking, for example, it is one of the 20 German winemakers with 5/5 F’s. So, many people were surprised when they heard the news.

Picture: Christian Schiller and Carl von Schubert in Washington DC

Arguably the most important German wine journalist Stuart Pigott wrote as a response on his facebook page: Stuart Pigott IMPORTANT NEWS FOR ALL ENGLISH-SPEAKING #RIESLING FANS: The famous Maximin Grünhaus estate in the Ruwer Valley (part of the Mosel wine region) has just joined the elite VDP wine estates association. The only question is if this does more for the reputation of the VDP than for the reputation of Maximin Grünhaus!

Stephan Reinhard, who covers Germany for Robert Parker, wrote on his facebook page: Congratulation to Carl von Schubert, Maximin Grünhaus, the new member of the VDP. Please keep your inimitable style.

And he posted the following picture:

Picture: Weingut Maximin Grünhaus (Photo: Stephan Reinhard)

Obviously, this was a long overdue decision. I remember talking with Carl von Schubert about the issue of joining the VDP about 3 years ago in Washington DC. Carl said the VDP wanted him to become a member but he preferedto stay outside of that club.

But the situation has changed. A new generation is moving in. “This is now a good time to join the VDP” Carl said when I asked him about it at the 2016 Rieslingfeier in New York City.


The VDP is the world’s oldest association of wine estates in the world. In fact, it is the only one of its kind worldwide. No other country has a national organization of the top wine makers of the entire country.

In 1910, four regional wine-growers’ associations joined forces to form the Verband Deutscher Naturweinversteigerer (i.e. estates that sold their “natural” [unchaptalized] wines at auction). These organizations – from the Rheingau and Rheinhessen, founded in 1897 and 1900, respectively, and their counterparts in the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer and Pfalz regions, both founded in 1908 – were the forerunners of today’s VDP. At this time, fine German wines enjoyed a heyday. They were among the most expensive wines, on the tables of imperial houses as well as leading hotels and restaurants.

Throughout the past century, the quality-driven goals and strict standards of the VDP have played no small part in shaping the viticultural and winemaking practices in Germany. With their stringent statutes and their establishment of a German vineyard classification, the 200 members of the VDP have served as role models and justifiably can be viewed as the vanguard of the nation’s producers of top-quality wines.

Maximin Grünhaus

The historic Maximin Grünhaus estate lies at the foot of a long, steep south-facing slope on the left bank of the tiny Ruwer river, about two kilometers upstream from where it joins the Mosel. The estate belongs to the family of Carl von Schubert and is divided into three separate but contiguous vineyards: Abtsberg, Herrenberg, and Bruderberg. Each of these vineyards has its own distinct differences in terroir, which explain the unique character of the wines made at Grünhaus. The estate is also known by the name Schlosskellerei Carl von Schubert.


The first documentary evidence of Grünhaus, then called “Villa ad Valles,” dates from February 6, 966. Emperor Otto I, heir of Charlemagne, confirmed a donation that had been made in the Seventh century by the Frankish King Dagobert. At that time, the buildings, vineyards and surrounding land had been given to the Benedictine monastery of Saint Maximin in Trier.

Until the end of the 18th century Maximin Grünhaus was managed by the Abbey of Saint Maximin. After all church property was secularized by Napoleon, the estate was held under French administration until 1810. In that year, the estate was sold to Friedrich Freiherr von Handel. In 1882, it was purchased by an ancestor of Carl von Schubert, who is the fifth generation of his family to own the Grünhaus estate. When in 1882 Carl Ferdinand Freiherr von Stumm-Halberg bought the Grünhaus estate, it consisted of vineyards, a farm, and extensive woodland. Investing heavily, he transformed it into one of the most modern of its time.

Along the way from generation to generation, at one point, there was no male heir and the estate went to a female von Stumm-Halberg, who married a von Schubert. The current owner Carl von Schubert took over management of the estate in 1981, after he completed his doctoral thesis on the economics of steep slope viticulture. Vine growing and winemaking is currently overseen by Stefan Kraml. The vineyard area totals 31 hectares.

Pictures: Carl von Schubert in Seattle, Washington State, at the 4th Riesling Rendezvous, with UK Journalist Tim Atkin, Pacific Rim Head Winemaker Nicolas Quille and Riesling Giant Helmut Doennhoffand Carl von Schubert in New York City with Katharina Prüm, Weingut JJ Prüm

The Vineyards

The Abtsberg: Wines from this vineyard were originally destined for the table of the Abbot (or “Abt”) of the Abbey of St. Maximin. The site covers 35 acres, parts of which have been planted with vines for over a thousand years. The subsoil is blue Devonian slate and the hillside runs south-east to south-west, achieving a gradient of up to 70 percent. Abtsberg wines are characterised by a finely structured subtle minerality, a racy acidity, generous fruit and great delicacy. They are amongst the longest lived Rieslings of the region.

The Herrenberg: Wines from this site were made specially for the Abbey’s choirmasters. Extending over 40 acres, the site benefits from deep soils with good water retention, over a base of red Devonian slate. Wines from the Herrenberg show fruit and body early in their lives, but also possess extraordinary ageing potential.

The Bruderberg: The smallest of the three Grünhaus vineyards, covering just 2.5 acres, the Bruderberg provided wine for the monks (or ‘brothers’). The site has the same Devonian slate soil as the Abtsberg next door, and the wines are very spicy, sometimes with a rustic slate-mineral quality.

VDP Statement (in German)

In der ersten Sitzung des VDP - Mosel wurde am 20. Januar 2016 unser Weingut Maximin Grünhaus mit einem einstimmigen Votum als neues Mitglied in den Grossen Ring Mosel – Saar – Ruwer aufgenommen. Dieser überzeugende Vertrauensbeweis zeigt die gegenseitige, große Wertschätzung. Der Präsident des VDP Mosel Egon Müller: „Schon seit langer Zeit war Maximin Grünhaus unser Wunschkandidat und wir sind nun glücklich, dass dieses ebenso traditionsreiche wie renommierte Weingut von der Ruwer wieder zu uns gehört!“

Die Beziehung zwischen Maximin Grünhaus und dem Großen Ring trug auch schon in der Vergangenheit reichliche Früchte. So wurde in der Versteigerung des Grossen Rings in Trier im Jahre 1923 ein Fuder (1.000 l) 1921er Maximin Grünhäuser Herrenberg Trockenbeerenauslese für 100.000,- Goldmark zugeschlagen – ein bis heute unerreichter Preis!

Maximin Grünhaus wurde im Jahre 966 zum ersten Male urkundlich erwähnt und ist seit 1882 im Familienbesitz. Dr. Carl von Schubert und sein Sohn Maximin von Schubert bewirtschaften das Gut in der 5. und 6. Generation.

Grundlage des Weltrufs der Maximin Grünhäuser Weine sind die erstklassigen, arrondierten Weinberge im Ruwertal mit den bekannten Lagenamen: Abtsberg, Herrenberg und Bruderberg. Der Dreiklang von Schieferboden, Klima und idealer Topografie, verbunden mit einem Weinbau im Einklang mit der Natur und dem schonendem Ausbau im Keller, lässt tiefgründige, komplexe und sehr langlebige Weine entstehen, deren Charakter in der Welt hoch geachtet wird.

Pictures: Annette Schiller and Carl von Schubert, Maximin Grünhaus, at the 2016 Rieslingfeier in New York City

In Grünhaus werden nur klassische Rebsorten kultiviert. Der Riesling dominiert mit 90% der Anbaufläche. Von den würzig-trockenen über die feinherben bis hin zu den feinsten, edelsüßen Qualitäten werden alle Facetten von dieser edlen Weißweinrebe erzeugt. Seit zehn Jahren haben Weiß- und Spätburgunder wieder Einzug in die Grünhäuser Weinberge gehalten, die schon im 18. und 19. Jahrhundert dort einen festen Platz hatten.

Die Grundsätze des Verbands Deutscher Prädikatsweingüter und dessen Qualitätsphilosophie sind weitgehend deckungsgleich mit denen von Maximin Grünhaus. Zu vielen Mitgliedern des Verbands der Prädikatsweingüter bestehen langjährige Freundschaften und ein immer sehr kollegiales Verhältnis. Aus diesen Gründen war es logisch und sinnvoll, die Mitgliedschaft zu beantragen! Das einstimmige Votum der Mitglieder des Grossen Rings Mosel-Saar-Ruwer für Maximin Grünhaus ist ein überaus freundliches Willkommen in diesem Verband und bestätigt uns in unserem Streben nach höchster Qualität.

Wir freuen uns über eine gute und erfolgreiche Zusammenarbeit im Kreise des VDP für die Sache des exzellenten deutschen Weines, national wie international!

schiller-wine - Related Postings

Announcement: 5 Exciting ombiasy WineTours in 2016 - BURGUNDY BORDEAUX GERMANY

Germany-North Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015)

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

A German Riesling Feast in New York City: Rieslingfeier 2016, USA

The New Germany (from an American Perspective): Dry, Red and Sparkling – Tasting at the American Wine Society with Annette Schiller, USA/ Germany

Germany’s Top 20 Winemakers - Der Feinschmecker WeinGuide 2015

No comments:

Post a Comment