Friday, March 10, 2017
Finger Lakes meet Württemberg: Touring Staatsweingut Weinsberg in Württemberg with Kyle Frank, Weingut Dr. Frank in the Finger Lakes Region - Germany-East Tour 2016 by ombiasy WineTours
We visited Statsweingut Weinsberg in Württemberg. Staatsweingut Weinsberg produces wine and sells it. It teaches young winemaker and it does research. For example, the grape varity Dornfelder was developed by researchers at Staatsweingut Weinsberg.
Our host was Kyle Frank from the renowned Dr. Konstantin Frank Wine Cellars in the Finger Lakes Region in upstate New York. At the time of the visit, Kyle was at Staatsweingut Weinsberg doing an internship.
Finger Lakes AVA
The Finger Lakes AVA in upstate New York encompasses seven glacial lakes, although the majority of plantings are around Canandaigua, Keuka, Seneca, and Cayuga Lakes. Most vineyards are planted on hillsides overlooking the lakes. These deep lakes help to moderate the climate, as stored heat is released from the lakes during the winter, keeping the weather mild during summer extends the growing season. This cool-climate region is often compared to the wine-growing region of Germany, and like Germany, has had special success with Riesling.
The Finger Lakes comprise 4,452 hectares of vineyards, making it New York State's largest wine growing region. New York State is with Washington State the second largest wine producer in the US, with a bit more than 10.000 hectares. Of this, 400 hectares are accounted for by Riesling.
There are over 100 wineries, mostly family owned and operated small producers, bottling over 100,000 cases per year. While the region does an excellent job with other grapes like Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, and even Pinot Noir, Riesling is the star, with each producer making an average of two to three different styles from dry to sweet each vintage.
Johannes Selbach, Weingut Selbach-Oster, teams up with Paul Hobbs to make Riesling in the Finger Lakes Region in New York State, USA/Germany
Celebrating the Rieslings of the Finger Lakes Region, New York State, US East Coast
Celebrating the Arrival of the Finger Lakes 2010 Riesling in Washington DC, USA
Celebrating the Release of the Finger Lakes 2011 Riesling in Washington DC, USA
Ranking 12 Rieslings: Finger Lakes (USA) versus Germany
Dr. Konstantin Frank Wine Cellars
Dr. Konstantin Frank (1897-1985) ignited the so-called vitis vinifera revolution, which changed the course of wine growing in the Finger Lakes and the North-East of the US. Dr. Frank’s vision, knowledge and determination are credited with elevating the New York wine industry from a state of happy mediocrity to a level that today commands world attention.
He was born in the Russian Empire into a family with German roots. The Germans came in waves from the West to Russia and settled there from the 16th century onwards. At the time Konstantin Frank was born, Odessa belonged to the Russian Empire. When he left for the US, it was part of the Soviet Union. Now, after his death, it has become Ukraine. I met Dr. Konstantin Frank's grandson, Fred, who now owns and runs the estate a few years year; we communicated in German. Fred got his wine growing and wine making training at the wine college in Geisenheim in the Rheingau, Germany. Kyle Frank is Frederick's son.
Wine Region Württemberg
Baden-Württemberg is one of the 16 German states that make up Germany. Baden-Wuerttemberg is one of the growth centers of Germany due to its booming export industries. Mercedes-Benz and Porsche are prime examples. Baden-Württemberg comprises two wine growing areas, Baden and Württemberg.
Wine from Württemberg is mainly red wine. The main production area is along the Neckar River between Stuttgart and Heilbronn. There are also vineyards on Lake Constance that belong to Württemberg.
More wine is consumed here (per capita) than anywhere else in Germany - actually twice as much as in the rest of Germany. The German poet Friedrich von Schiller wrote already several centuries ago: “A Württemberger without wine--is that a real Württemberger?”
The Trollinger is the most popular variety, which is grown almost exclusively in Württemberg. It is a nice table wine that goes well with the local food. If you are looking for a premium wine, Lemberger (known as Blaufränkisch in Austria and Kékfrankos in its Hungarian homeland) is the grape variety to go for. The Lemberger made by Weingut Dautel and Weingut Wachstetter, which we had during the tour, can compete with the best red wines in the world.
With 11,000 hectares under vine, Württemberg is Germany's fourth largest wine region. Winemaking cooperatives are very common in Württemberg, number around 70, and are responsible for almost 75% of the region's production.
Wines from Württemberg are hard to find in the US. This is partly explained by the production structure, which is dominated by co-operatives. These co-operatives are known for producing top class wines. But they tend to be less aggressive in terms of penetrating new markets.
Wine region: Baden and Württemberg, Germany
In Germany, the Government owns and runs a number of wineries, including several very large wineries. Germany is a federal state with 3 levels of government: federal, state and local. At the federal level, there is no government ownership in the wine industry, but there is extensive involvement at the state level. In addition, there is government ownership at the local level.
At the state level, there are 2 kinds of involvements. First, there are wine estates that are government owned, but operate like private wineries. There are five such wine estates in Germany and all of them are large. Second, there are government wine estates that produce and sell wine, but also fulfill other functions, notably research and education. The second group I understand is treated like government departments and is accounted for in the national accounts in the government sector.
Staatsweingut Weinsberg is a department of the Government of Baden-Wuerttemberg. It is part of a school and research institute, which was initiated and planned by Immanuel August Ludwig Dornfeld (1796-1869), the father of the well known Dornfelder grape variety, and built in 1868 as the "Royal School of Viticulture" under King Charles I of Württemberg (1823-1891), the first viticultural school of Germany.
Today, between 30 to 50 students are at the school with the aim to become a Weinbautechniker (vocational winemaker training). This is a winemaker degree below the bachelor level. The school also trains coopers.
As for research, new grape varieties developed here include Acolon, Cabernet Dorio, Cabernet Dorsa, Cabernet Mitos, Dornfelder, Kerner, and Silcher.
Staatsweingut Weinsberg has 40 hectares of vines, some of which are planted in the estate’s solely owned Weinsberger Schemelsberg and Abstatter Burg Wildeck. Riesling, Lemberger and Pinots dominate.
Managing Director of the Staatsweingut Weinsberg is Dieter Blankenhorn. Annual production amounts to 20.000 cases. The Staatsweingut also produces sparkling wine and spirits. The Staatsweingut Weinsberg is a member of the VDP, the association of German elite winemakers.
Postings: Germany-East Tour 2016 by ombiasy WineTours: Wine, Art, Culture and History (Published and Forthcoming Postings)
Germany-East Tour 2016 by ombiasy WineTours: Wine, Art, Culture and History
Tasting at Weingut Uwe Lützkendorf, with Uwe Lützkendorf, in Bad Kösen, Saale-Unstrut – Germany-East Tour 2016 by ombiasy WineTours
Vineyard Visit and Wine Tasting Lunch at Weingut Hey in Naumburg, Saale-Unstrut, with Matthias Hey – Germany-East Tour 2016 by ombiasy WineTours
Weingut Pawis in the Saale Unstrut Region: Wine Tasting with Marcus Pawis – Germany-East Tour 2016 by ombiasy WineTours
Schiller's Favorite Winemakers in the Saale Unstrut Region, Germany
Wine Lunch at the Historic Vincenz Richter Restaurant, Weingut Vincenz Richter in Meissen with Senior Boss Gottfried Herrlich – Germany-East Tour 2016 by ombiasy WineTours
Visit, Tasting and Dinner at Weingut Schloss Proschwitz, Prinz zur Lippe in Zadel, Sachsen, with Georg Prinz zur Lippe - Germany-East Tour 2016 by ombiasy WineTours
Tasting at Weingut Tim Strasser/ Rothes Gut in Meissen, Sachsen, with Tim Strasser - Germany-East Tour 2016 by ombiasy WineTours
Lunch with Wine Pairing at Weingut Drei Herren in Radebeul, Sachsen, with Restaurant Manager/ Sommelier Dirk Brauer - Germany-East Tour 2016 by ombiasy WineTours
Visit of Weingut Klaus Zimmerling: The Wines of Klaus Zimmerling and the Art of his Wife Malgorzata Chodakoska - Germany-East Wine and Art Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015)
Lunch at Weingut Lutz Müller, Schloss Albrechtsburg, Sachsen - Germany-East Tour 2016 by ombiasy WineTours
Schiller's Favorite Winemakers in Sachsen (Saxony), Germany
Tour, Tasting and Dinner at Weingut Zur Schwane in Volkach, Franken, with General Manager/ Winemaker Christian Kallisch - Germany-East Tour 2016 by ombiasy WineTours
Vinyard Tour, Cellar Tour and Tasting at Weingut Horst Sauer in Eschendorf, Franken, with Horst Sauer – Germany-East Tour 2016 by ombiasy WineTours
Vineyard Tour and Tasting at Weingut Schmitt’s Kinder in Randersacker, Franken, with Martin Johann Schmitt – Germany-East Tour 2016 by ombiasy WineTours
Cellar Tour and Tasting at Staatlicher Hofkeller in Würzburg, Franken, with General Manager Marcel von den Benken – Germany-East Tour 2016 by ombiasy WineTours
Schiller’s Favorites: 2 Legendary Wine Taverns in Würzburg – Juliusspital and Bürgerspital
Schiller’s Favorite Wine Taverns in Würzburg, Franken, Germany
Vineyard Tour, Cellar Tour, Lunch and Tasting at Weingut Fürst Hohenlohe Oehringen in Oehringen–Verrenberg, Württemberg – Germany-East Tour 2016 by ombiasy WineTours
Visit of Staatsweingut Weinsberg in Weinsberg, Württemberg, with Kyle Frank from the Finger Lakes
Cellar Tour, Vineyard Tour, Tasting and Dinner at Weingut Graf von Bentzel-Sturmfeder in Schozach, Württemberg, with Kilian Graf von Bentzel-Sturmfeder