Thursday, April 22, 2010

Germany’s Top 9 Winemakers - the 2010 Gault Millau Wine Guide

Picture: The 2010 Gault Millau Wine Guide Germany

The Gault Millau Wine Guide Germany includes the 938 top winemakers of Germany. To put the Gault Millau selection of the top 938 winemakers of Germany into perspective, the German wine industry consists of many small wine producers, totaling about 70.000. If you exclude the about 40.000 operators of less than 0.5 hectares, who should probably be classified as hobby winemakers, you are down to 30.000 winemakers.

Then, it gets a bit complicated. Many smaller winemakers do not pursue wine making as a full-time occupation, but rather as a supplement to other agriculture or to hospitality. It is not uncommon that a small family-owned tavern has its own wine. If we move up to a minimum of 5 hectares, we get down to about 6.000 wineries, accounting for about 60 percent of Germany's total vineyard surface, and it is in this category that the full-time winemakers are primarily found. However, truly large wineries, in terms of their own vineyard holdings, are rare in Germany. Hardly any German wineries reach the size of New World wine making companies.

The Gault Millau uses a scale of 1 to 5 Grapes. Here are those winemakers that got in the 2010 Gault Millau Wine Guide the maximum number of 5 Grapes, grouped by wine region. This is a small group of 9 winemakers. Below, we have indicated the size of the wine estate, in terms of hectares, and the ranking in the 2010 Feinschmecker Wine Guide.

Picture: The Wine Regions of Germany




Bernhard Huber

26.5 hectares
4 F’s
One of winemakers leading the German red wine revolution. He also produces outstanding white wines. Does not have any sweet or noble-sweet wines in his portfolio.


None (Rudolf Fuerst and Horst Sauer, who have 5 F’s in the Feinschmecker Wine Guide, have 4 Grapes in the Gault Millau)

Hessische Bergstrasse





Fritz Haag

5 F’s (a relatively large number of winemakers from the Mosel region gets 5 F’s: Fritz Haag, Kartaeuserhof, Dr. Loosen, Egon Mueller, J.J. Pruem, Sankt Urbans Hof and C.v. Schubert’sche Schlosskellerei, but only 3 of them get the highest rating in the Gault Millau )
14 hectares
Fritz’s son Oliver Haag is producing world class wines in the dry, sweet and noble-sweet categories.

Egon Mueller

12 hectares
5 F’s
Egon Mueller’s sweet and noble sweet low alcohol wines are a legend.

Joh. Jos. Pruem

22 hectares
5 F’s
For decades now, one of the really exceptional winemakers in Germany.


Herrmann Doenhoff

20 hectares
5 F’s
A leading producer of Riesling wines, including noble-sweet wines. A Grand Seigneur of German wine.


16 hectares
4 1/2 F’s
Gault Millau winemaker of the year 2006. Only white wines, mainly Riesling. Outstanding Grosses Gewaechs wines.


Oekonomierat Rebholz

19 hectares
4 ½ F’s (the 5 F’s Knipser has 4 Gault Millau Grapes)
A broad wine portfolio with international grapes, including Chardonnay and 25% Spaetburgunder.


Robert Weil

5 F’s (the other 5 F’s winemaker in the Rheingau, Franz Kuenstler, has 3 Gault Millau Grapes)
75 hectares, by far the largest winery among the Feinschmecker top wine makers
A winery with a long tradition, now owned by Wilhelm Weil and the Japanese Suntory company. A top producer of Riesling wines, which is well presented in the major wine markets in the world.



5 F’s (the other 5 F’s winemaker in Rheinhessen, Wittmann, has 4 Gault Millau Grapes)
15 hectares
With Wittmann, leader of the Rheinhessen renaissance. Has a broad wine portfolio with 60 % accounted for by Riesling and also including the lesser known autochthon Silvaner as well as Spaetburgunder.







In the next group – 4 Grapes – there are about 50 Estates. Dr. Loosen is now in this group, after he lost one Grape in 2010. Two Estates were downgraded to 4 Grapes, Dr. Loosen and Reinhold Haart, both in the Mosel valley, and 2 Estates were upgraded to 4 Grapes, Freiherr von Gleichenstein in Baden and Clemens Busch in the Mosel valley.

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