Meet the Winemakers


Our winemakers are an extension of our family here at The WineBarn, each one is hand-picked and each one has a unique story to tell. Some have a family run business that has been handed down through several centuries. Others are new producers with small vineyards where much of the work is done by hand using traditional techniques. There is no ‘tick box’ approach to how we select our wines. Each producer is personally known to us and we have complete faith in the quality of their wines. Find out about their unique histories and regions below. The 9 regions we import from are:

map of Germany wine regions

Ahr: 

Germany, map, AHR, wine region

The Ahr river has its source at western edge of the Ahr Hills and over the course of millions of years the river has carved a near vertical slice through the Rhenish Slate Mountains.  In the middle Ahr region the valley is narrow and the banks are steep – this is where the wine region begins with sun-washed terraced vineyards on the southern slopes.  The Ahr valley is Germany’s most northern red wine area and with just about 550 hectares, it is also the smallest.  The region is best known for its red grape cultivation and we have selected a fabulous, award winning producer in this region, Meyer-Näkel.

 

WEINGUT MEYER-NÄKEL 

wine barrel meyer nakel wood

This is a fifth generation family estate. Today’s wine estate 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 hectare estate is managed by his son Werner Näkel, his wife Claudia and their daughters Meike and Dörte.

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Baden: 

Germany, map, Baden, wine region

Baden is in the warmest part of Germany and lies sheltered between mountain ranges, with sunny vineyard slopes that provide ideal growing conditions for producing high quality wines. Like a long, narrow ribbon, Baden stretches for 400km along the Rhine and the weather conditions are almost Mediterranean. This is German’s third largest wine-growing region with around 16,000 hectares of vines. Baden is Pinot country: Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir), Grauburgunder (Pinot Gris)and Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc) account for more than half of the varieties cultivated here. We have four outstanding producers in Baden.

WEINGUT BERCHER

vineyard church germany wine

The history of the Bercher family can be traced back to the year 1457 and they have been producing wines in the Kaisertuhl for over 300 years.  This family-run estate has increased in size and now cultivates 42 acres of vines producing some excellent reds and whites.

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WEINGUT DR HEGER

hills sunshine wine vineyard germany

This is another of Germany’s great wine producing families, started in 1935 by Dr Max Heger, a country doctor who turned to winemaking.  The estate is now run by Joachim Heger with his wife Silvia.  He continues the rigorous attention to quality of his father and grandfather and successfully combines it with modern technology, a great enthusiasm and a determination to produce the very best wines.

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WEINGUT FRANZ KELLER

modern modernist landscape winery

A family estate of some 100 acres, Fritz Keller carefully blends a history of wine-making tradition with modern technology and methods.  More than half of all Franz Keller Schwarzer Adler vineyards are planted to Grauburgunder (Pinot Gris) and Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir), the model varieties of the region.  Of course there also is Weißer Burgunder (Pinot Blanc) and the long underestimated Müller-Thurgau.  There are also smaller plantings of Silvaner, Gewürztraminer, Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Lemberger (aka Blaufränkisch) – at the Kaiserstuhl these varieties develop interesting and distinct characteristics.

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WEINGUT ALEXANDER LAIBLE

grapes red pinot noir

The Laible family has been producing wines since 1672, some 13 generations of winemakers!  The most recent to follow the path of the vines was Alexander who began his own vineyard and wine production in 2007.  Laible believes in working in harmony with nature and in allowing the wines to develop through a sequence of careful steps.  The white wines are vinified in a stainless steel tank to ensure that the delicate fruit aromas are retained.  The red wines are traditionally fermented on the mash and matured in wooden barrels.

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Franken:

Franken, wine region, germany, map

This wine region lies between the Rhön Mountains and the Tauber valley, the Spessart and the Steigerwald mountain ranges.  Most of the vineyards lie alongside the Main river.  One highly recognisable feature of Franconian wines is the Bocksbeutel, a short-necked round bottle and the oldest known ancestor of this characteristic bottle dates from around 1400BC!  In general Franken’s climate is Continental marked by cold winters and hot summer, but in the valleys along the Main the microclimate is more Mediterranean with perfect conditions for wine production.  We have one outstanding producer in Franken, Weingut Wirsching.

 

WEINGUT WIRSCHING

The Hans Wirsching winery ranks among the best known and largest privately held wine estates in all of Franconia.  Now in its 14th generation, the Wirsching family has been making wine since the 1630s.  Silvana is the dominant grape variety which is known for being an ideal wine to accompany food thanks to its simple elegance, neutral bouquet and a delicate, mild acidity.  The grapes are harvested by hand and processed as gently and carefully as possible.  In this way the freshness and liveliness are preserved in the wines, as well as their vintage and grape varietal character in the form of specific aromas and flavour nuances.

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Hessische Bergstrasse:

Germany, map, wine region,

 

GRIESEL

 Wine germany grapes leaves

Griesel is a relative newcomer in the world of German sparkling wine. However, they have started like a shooting star since releasing their first vintage in 2013. The estate has 7.5 ha and 60,000 Bottles are being produced. Totally focused on the production of premium bottle fermented sparkling wines and on discovering the yet unknown potential of their vineyards in our Region Hessische Bergstrasse.

The volcanic, light soils with chalky compounds are perfect for structured delicate base wines with fresh acidity and minerality.

100% handpicked Grapes are processed as gentle as possible to avoid tannins and bitterness, whole bunch pressing by low pressure only provides a yield of 50% (500 ml of 1 kg grapes). From that point , winemaker Nico Brandner avoids any distortion by relying on natural fermentation and malolactic. Filtration and fining are replaced by time, the wines are allowed to stay in the barrels for about 10 months, bottling will be just before the next harvest.

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Nahe:

Germany, map, wine region, wine, new, nahe

This region boasts Germany’s greatest soil biodiversity.  The soils here range from volcanic stones to weathered soils of sandstone, loess and loam to quartzite, clay and slate.  The wonderful diversity gives the wines their distinctive ‘terroirs’ and has earned this region the name “tasting bar”.   The Nahe enjoys a remarkably mild climate with abundant sunshine and little rain and over 75% of the grapes grown here are white and of these Riesling predominates.   We have two wonderful producers in this region; Weingut Göttelmann and Weingut Schäfer-Fröhlich, both of whom produce some outstanding Rieslings.

 

WEINGUT GÖTTELMANN

red grapes autumn sunshine

The estate is located in the town of Münster-Sarmsheim and is run by Goetz Blessing and his wife.  The vineyards cover around 13.5 hectares and are planted with a selection of white varieties; Riesling, which accounts for 60%, Silvaner, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Griz and Chardonnay.  The red varieties are Dornfelder and Pinot Noir.   This family business works with nature and each vintage is carefully nurtured to produce the best flavours and terroir.  Most of their wonderful wines are enjoyed in Germany and we are delighted to be able to offer some of them to our UK wine lovers.

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WEINGUT SCHNEIDER

vineyard autumn hues

Surrounded by the most prized vineyards of the Nahe, the idyllic wine village of Niederhausen is located immediately adjacent to the river and reservoir. Since 1575 it has been the home of the family and vineyard of Jakob Schneider, one of the most long-standing enterprises of the Nahe. There are currently three generations working hand in hand at the vineyard. All the "Schneiders" are jointly committed to ensuring that the high expectations placed on our wines are repeatedly met year after year and if possible even exceeded. The cultivated vine area measures 28 hectares. Eighty-five percent of this is planted with Riesling grapes, the great passion of the family.

There are 52 rock formations in the vineyards of Jakob Schneider alone, primarily of volcanic origin but also containing slate and river sediments in the subsoil. Thanks to modern, careful grape acceptance and a long and gentle fermentation using the yeasts found in the grapes themselves, the winery produces charismatic wines with immense depth. The grapes of the numerous individual vineyards are matured separately and individually. We make use of both classical maturation in large oak barrels as well as moderated fermentation in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks. Both methods yield wines that perfectly reflect the terroir.

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Pfalz:

Pfalz, Germany, map, regions, wine regions, wine

Located on the western edge of the Rhine Valley, the grapevines are nestled on the slopes of the Palatinate Forest.  It’s vineyards carpet the gently rolling hills and this is Germany’s second largest wine-growing region.  Hard frosts are rare and there is abundant sunshine.  It has a diverse range of soil types and 45 white and 22 red grape varieties have been approved for growing here.  Riesling dominates again with over 5000 ha in production and our producer, Weingut Dr Von Bassermann-Jordan is a Riesling expert.  We also have another shining star in the Pfalz, Weingut Friedrich Becker who is acknowledged to be one of the best Pinot Noir producers in Germany.

 

WEINGUT DR VON BASSERMANN-JORDAN

vineyard wine winter sun

This wine estate dates back over 300 years when wine production first began.  The estate covers around 49 hectares with more than 20 different vineyard sites.  One third are top rated vineyards such as Hohenmorgen, Kirchenstück and Jesuitengarten.  Priority is given to the careful handling of the grapes involving painstaking manual work which results in wines of great character.  There is an ethos of working with the land and they only use of natural products for pest prevention.

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WEINGUT FRIEDRICH BECKER

Vineyard church sunshine

Another of our family run estates, Weingut Friedrich Becker believe in working in harmony with nature, respecting the different challenges the weather can bring and rising to these challenges to produce some outstanding wines.  Becker believes in a natural fermentation process and produces his wines ‘by instinct’.  Well, his instincts are excellent as are his wines!

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Rheingau:

Rheingau, germany, map, wine, wine region

The vineyards of the Rheingau extend from Wicker on the Lower Main to Lorchhausen in the Rhenish Slate Mountains.  Here, on the sunny side of the Rhine, is the home of Spätlese – the late harvest.  The heat and moisture-retaining soils of the Rheingau provide ideal conditions for vine cultivation.  Soil types range from slate to sandy loam and the region is dominated by the Riesling grape, followed by Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir).  We have two wonderful producers in the Rheingau – Weingut Allendorf, which is the largest family owned winery in the region and Sekthaus Solter, whose sparkling wines rival the best French champagnes.

WEINGUT ALLENDORF

River vineyard winery sunshine

Allendorf is the newest producer in our portfolio and comes from a long line of winemakers, stretching back over some 700 years.  Careful, traditional work in the old vineyards and modern technique in the cellar makes sure that all the wines have their own individual character.  Wine consumers in Europe and all over the world enjoy the excellent balance between acidity and fruitiness.  The Fritz Allendorf wine estate is a member of ‘VDP’ – a society of approximately 200 of the leading German wine estates.

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SEKTHAUS SOLTER

vineyard autumnal hues

One of Germany’s best sparkling wine producers, Sekthaus Solter delivers consistently excellent sparkling wines, on a par with the best French champagnes.  If you’ve never tried German bubbles then this is the place to start.

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SCHLOSS REINHARTSHAUSEN

Church steeple winery vineyard vines

Legendary Rieslings since 1337 – at one of the world‘s oldest winegrowing estates. Chateau Schloss Reinhartshausen has been a pillar of Rheingau wine culture for 680 years. Even today, the spirit of both past and present courses through their walls. All here breath Riesling! The original Chateau bottlings promise world-class quality, now and forever, from the heart of the Rheingau. We, the Lergenmüller family, honor and cherish our outstanding vineyard sites by respecting the flora and fauna that thrive there. Following each selective harvest, our task is merely to preserve and guide the outstanding fruit arriving from the vineyards. Traditionally considered among the most cellarable bottles in all of the Rheingau, we are honoured to give our wines the time necessary to mature. We hope you enjoy our distinctive, harmonious, and terroir-driven Riesling as much as we do.

Mariannenaue, an island on the Rhine River, is a designated European Nature Reserve and, since 2015, a protected appellation for quality wine. Roughly 10,000 years ago, Father Rhine shaped Mariannenaue Island with his powerful currents, forming a limestone bedrock from sand and stones carried down from the Alps.

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Württemberg:

Germany, map, german wine, wine, wine region

This region is best known for its red wines which grow especially well on the steep slopes of the Neckar River and its tributaries.  These steep slopes have a diverse range of soils which means wines from the Württemberg are widely varied in character.  Red wines account for around 75% of the vineyard area and the most important white grape variety is the Riesling which accounts for around 18%.  Our Württemberg producer of choice is Weingut Aldinger.

WEINGUT ALDINGER

Vineyard vines winter frost

Building on 500 years of wine growing tradition, the current Aldinger family is proud to have one of the finest wine estates in Württemberg.  Headed up by Gert Aldinger and supported by his sons Hansjörg and Matthias, the Aldinger philosophy is one of reduced yield and increased quality, something that becomes very apparent when you taste their wines and we have a stunning selection to share with you from entry level to Grand Cru.

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Mosel:

Wine region mosel germany map

This is Germany’s oldest wine growing region and it’s steep, terraced vineyards call for sure-footed vintners who are not afraid of heights!  It has one of the warmest climate zones in Germany and the slate soil areas provide ideal conditions for Riesling, which puts down deep roots and draws heavily on the minerals in the subsoil.  Riesling accounts for 60% of production in this area and we have discovered two excellent producers in the Mosel to share with you; Weingut St. Urbans-Hof and Weingut Clemens Busch, both of whom produce some outstanding Rieslings.

 

WEINGUT CLEMENS BUSCH

germany map

 

This wine estate is a small but enchanting organic producer and Riesling is their most important variety.  Clemens and Rita have worked to organic standards since 1986 and their son Florian is responsible for the biodynamic design and implementation.  Their Grand Cru Rieslings are a joy and worthy of the many accolades they receive.

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WEINGUT ST URBANS-HOF

germany map wine region

Nik Weis took over the winery in 1997 and in 2000 the estate became a member of the prestigious VDP (Association of German Praedikcat Estates).  Nik and his team have 33 hectares of Riesling in some of the finest sites of the Middle-Mosel and Saar.  It is their goal to produce expressive wines that are full of character.  Today they export to many international markets and enjoy a great reputation for exceptional Rieslings.

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