Stefan Steinmetz, yet another one of our German Terroir-fanatics, and oh my does Stefan have a good eye for Terroir – he posses great skill in localising and translating vineyard into their true expression.
Stefan was only 18 years old when he took over the family estate 1999, he was required to do so after his fathers all too early passing. When taking over the estate, then consisting of 3 hectares, the family did not really have any grand sites in their possession, simple beginnings. Over the years Stefan has brought the estate up to 14 hectares with some fantastic holdings in Brauneberg, Veldenz, Wintrich, Piesport (Treppchen & Goldtröpfchen!!!), Dhrone, Kesten and Mülheim.
Stefan sought after to go back to the roots and out went all modern equipment such as rotating presses, pumps etc. Going back to the roots is also something Stefan practices in the vines. Stefan applies organic farming, they haven’t sprayed their vines for +30 years. He has an obsession of finding historic sites and re-cultivating them back to their former glory – as he single handedly did with Wintricher Geierslay. Stefan’s next mission is a small plot within the vineyard Rosengärtchen in Neumagen – Just after the site was restored Stefan came to Sweden for a visit, his face and arms full of sunburns more similar to something you would get from a fire. That is one of the prices you need to pay when setting out to restore and replant steep terraced sites. It was humbling and impressive seeing the effort and dedication needed to do this work.
Thirdly comes the winemaking, the hands-off kind of winemaking that is. At Steinmetz the wines are fermented with ambient yeasts, in large oak barrels or stainless steel. Nothing is added or removed, except a small amount of sulphur at bottling. All wines, Brauneberger Juffer being the only exception, stop their fermentation naturally – hence the majority of Steinmetz’s production results in dry tasting wines. Stefan is also experimenting and planting red varieties that in the past has played a bigger part in the Mosel. Stefan has made enormous strides the last couple of years and today the wines coming out from Weingut Günther Steinmetz are regarded amongst the best in the region; refined, precise, elegant, complex.