If one observes today's discussions in Germany one could get the impression that good quality wines can mainly be obtained by well organized cellars and by means of modern technology. Unfortunately German winelaws promote the misconception that basically similar qualities can grow on each square meter of vineyard soil. Without any doubt the best possible technical conditions are required as well as hard work, experience and expertise of the winemaker.
Vine grows almost everywhere, however, exceptional wines, grow in very few areas on earth.
What makes the difference?
The character of wine changes with the soil on which the vines grow. Soils that are well ventilated, easily warmed, not to humid and well-drained, soils that are often too barren for farming, provide the best conditions. The slate of the Mosel, the coarse-grained gravel soil of the Médoc, the limestone Grand Cru sites in Burgundy and the basalt soils of Forst prove this beyond doubt.
The second important contribution to the quality of wines comes from the climate. The topographical situation, the inclination of the slope, the alignment of the slopes and the protection from cold winds have such an effect on vineyards that in a space of less than 100 meters wines of a completely different quality may grow.
In Middle and Southern Europe winemakers have worked with the concept of "terroir" for centuries. In major wine producing countries like France, wines from first growth vineyards (Grands Crus, Premiers Crus) are protected by law. In these vineyards, only specific grape varieties which reflect the particular terroir are planted and produce excellent, world famous wines.
In the Pfalz too, only a few vineyards can claim to be first growth sites and for this reason, in 1995 we began to classify our vineyards according to our own severe criteria.
The results were amazing, but really no surprise, we re-discovered the outstanding quality of our traditionally best vineyards . New research based on the latest geological and climatic findings lead to the same result as old 19th century vineyard maps had shown us, indicated the best vineyards in Ruppertsberg, Deidesheim, Forst and Wachenheim.
Until the introduction of new winelaws in Germany in 1971 only first growth vineyards were stated on wine labels. A wine from a specific site had a value of its own. Our Estate has revived this old tradition, and once again, a vineyard name has a true meaning of quality.