White, dry, off-dry, sweet
Our white wine musts are fermented over 2 to 10 months with temperature control and then stored on the fine lees. This ensures that the aromatics will be preserved optimally.
White wine grapes are usually gently pressed in a pneumatic press on the day of of harvest, after which the juice runs into the cellar by gravity for further processing. There, the still cloudy must is temporarily stored in a cooled tank and, after settling, it is pumped into the respective fermentation barrels. Musts for dry wines ferment gently and at cool temperatures for 1 to 3 months and are stored on their fine lees until racking. For the production of off-dry and sweet wines, the fermentation is stopped by cooling down the wine to 10° to 12°. About 2 to 4 weeks after the end of fermentation, a small amount of sulfur dioxide is added to most young wines as a stabilizing agent and as a protection against oxygen. The sugar- and heat-loving yeasts become increasingly “drunk” as fermentation progresses due to their most basic metabolic product, alcohol, and “tired” due to the controlled cooling. They settle at the bottom of the barrel, the young wine clarifies and after a few weeks, sometimes even months depending on the type of wine, the wine can be racked and filtered using a diatomaceous earth filter, resulting in a crystal clear wine. This gentle method preserves bouquet and aroma substances, alcohol and carbon dioxide as well as, in the case of sweet and semi-dry wines, the fruity, harmonious residual sweetness. The wines, freed from lees, mature in stainless steel and wooden barrels in the cool vaulted cellar and are usually bottled in April/May and August/September.
Bubbles in wine, Sekt and Secco
Our sparkling wines are produced according to the “Methode Champenoise”, i.e. like champagne. A high-quality dry base wine (Riesling) gets 24 grams of sugar per litre and a special selected yeast, before being filled into thick bottles that can handle up to 10 bars of pressure and being closed with a crown cap. Within the next few months the yeasts turn the sugar to alcohol and carbon dioxide and produce specific bouquet and aroma substances.
The time on the lees largely determines the quality of the later sparkling wine. In our company, the aged lees are shaken up only after a long maturing phase of at least four years and the bottles are placed upside down on special “riddling boards”. Then each individual bottle is riddled daily by hand, turned clockwise or anticlockwise and the bottles are placed increasingly steeper every day for about 20 days. Through the riddling , the yeasts clump together to form larger cell aggregates and settle in the bottle neck as plugs. The bottles are then again placed upside down in a bath at minus 20 degrees Celsius, the yeast stopper freezes and is blasted out by the internal pressure when opened. After this “disgorging” the so-called dosage is added to round off the taste and the bottles are closed with a thick champagne cork. We use our specialty from dried grapes, the Striehween, as a particularly high-quality dosage.
Our Riesling Secco is another type of sparkling wine. As with Sekt, the most important prerequisite for producing appealing qualities is the use of a high-quality base wine. This is carbonated in a pressure tank and filled into thick bottles under counter-pressure. Depending on the vintage we produce white Riesling Secco and also Rosé Secco from the grapes of Pinot Noir, Cabernet and Merlot. We also bottle the white Secco in handy Piccolo bottles.
Grape brandy and lees brandy
At the end of fermentation, the lees settle at the bottom of the barrel and, after racking the wine, can be collected and distilled to a soft brandy. While yeast brandy is made from wine residues, the grape brandy (Grappa, Marc) is made from grape pomace. After pressing the grape juice, the moist pomace is fermented in airtight containers and then distilled. With the lees brandy it is important to use fresh lees from high-quality wines, with as little sulfur as possible. For the grape brandy, the destemming and gentle pressing of the grapes is particularly important.
Straw wine / Striehween
Straw wine is made in a very special way. Fully ripe grapes of at least 85 degrees Oechsle are laid out on straw in drafty rooms. Water is extracted from the grapes through the dry straw or dry air. This leads to a concentration of the valuable ingredients and thus
to a significant increase in quality of the grapes and the later wine. Corresponding or similar processes are used in many European wine-growing countries, in Austria for straw wine, in Italy for Amarone or Vin santo, in France/Switzerland for Vin de paille.
Red, dry, dry, dry
Red grapes are fermented in open fermenters according to the traditional method and matured in wooden barrels of different sizes to produce elegant, velvety and long-lasting red wines.
During red wine production it is not only the juice that is fermented, but also the skins, pulp and seeds. In contrast to white grapes, grapes for red wine production are generally destemmed, i.e. the berries are mechanically separated from the tannin-rich stems. During the fermentation on the skins, all of the sugar in the berries is converted into alcohol. The resulting alcohol extracts the colour from the skin of the berries and the initially pale juice becomes increasingly darker, which is how red wine gets its typical colour. After one to three weeks in the fermentation vat, the skins are gently pressed. The dark ruby to blackberry red coloured wine is drawn off the lees and filled into different wooden barrels depending on the type of wine. There the wine undergoes a second fermentation, the so-called malolactic fermentation. During this process bacteria found in the wine convert the stronger malic acid into softer lactic acid.
The light red wine “Red Light” is aged in a traditional Fuder, “Redvolution” in a Halbfuder. Spätburgunder and Cuvée X in used barriques and the Cabernet / Merlot wines mainly in new ones. The aging wine is influenced by the origin of the wood, the age of the wood and its toasting (the interiors of barrels are toasted over an open fire). The extraction of the wood components and the slow supply of oxygen through the barrel staves allows red wines in particular to mature optimally. Barrique elevage is very cost-intensive, because the wood of the handmade barrels is leached out with every use and loses its effect on the wine over time. It takes a lot of experience and a good “instinct” to use barriques optimally.
In humid weather, ripening grapes may be attacked by the Botrytis cinerea fungus, which causes the dreaded acid rot in unripe grapes. The fungus perforates the skin of the berries, water evaporates through the tiny pores, the berries shrink and the unripe and acidic flavour is concentrated. With ripe grapes ( from about 70 degrees Oechsle upwards) a Botrytis infection leads to a raisin-like shrinking of the berries and to a concentration of the “positive” ingredients. This increase in quality, known as noble rot, is a decisive prerequisite for high-quality Auslese and Beerenauslese wines, as it can increase the amount of sugar, dry extract and aromatic compounds.
are what we call white- and redwines that are very unusual, both in terms of production and taste. In contrast to the “normal” wine development, here also white grapes (Elbling and Riesling) are not pressed immediately, but are destemmed and crushed and left to rest on the skins for several days. This leads to a stronger extraction of tannins, colour and aromas from the grape skin and seeds. After pressing the skins, the must or wine is fermented further in used barrique barrels and (as with red wine) undergoes a second fermentation, the malolactic fermentation. The wines are then stored on the full lees for 15 to 30 months without the addition of sulfur dioxide. They are then separated from the settled lees using gravity and later bottled without pumping or filtration – and above all without (or with only a very little) addition of sulfur dioxide. As the wines do not fit the usual German taste profile and also often show very slight natural cloudiness, they are sometimes rejected by the official tasting committee, but also sometimes accepted. Due to their unpredictable reactions, we have decided to do without the “Prüfstelle” for these wines and to market the “Grenzgänger” as “Landwein” without an AP number. Unfortunately, with Landwein, even if the grapes are 100 percent from a single vineyard, this can not be mentioned on the label, so we most bottle without the vineyard name. The high initial quality of the grapes and above all the long contact with yeast during the ageing in small wooden barrels gives these complex wines exceptional stability – and this without added sulphites. The wines produced so far have retained their strength and complexity even after several years of bottle aging.
More information on our vinification and elevage can be found in the annual wine letters.