Every other month, our 5 to Try series showcases five examples of stellar wines from varying wine styles, grapes, and Germany’s 13 winegrowing regions. In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re highlighting five exceptional wines crafted by brilliant winemakers who happen to be female – and German!
Female winemakers remain a minority in all major wine regions worldwide, but in recent years, more attention is starting to be paid to the trailblazing women in the industry. Whether taking the reins of a historic family estate or starting up her own label, Germany’s women winemakers are crafting diverse styles of wines that are delicious any time of year, including the month of March.
Toast to pioneering women, brilliant winemakers, and exceptional wines with these bottles from some of Germany’s top talent:
1. Schlossgut Diel Reserve Riesling Sekt Extra Brut, Nahe
from Caroline Diel
Caroline Diel grew up surrounded by her family’s over two-hundred-year-old vineyard in the Nahe region. Her appreciation for her family’s line of work remained a constant throughout her life, leading her to study oenology at the acclaimed winemaking school in Germany, Geisenheim University. In 2006, she returned to Schlossgut Diel as the owner and cellarmaster. In addition to still Rieslings and Pinot varieties, she crafts an elegant Sekt (sparkling wine) in the traditional method from 100% Riesling. This wine is the only Riesling Sekt in her catalog and is aged on the lees for 62 months and has scents of salt spray and dried oyster shell.
2. Meyer-Näkel Spätburgunder Rosé, Ahr
from Meike and Dörte Näkel
Sisters Meike and Dörte Näkel joined their family business in 2005 and 2008 respectively, following a decades-long family tradition of winemaking. Both sisters currently serve as cellarmasters for Meyer-Näkel and have continued to push through their philosophy of sustainability through winemaking practices and participation in Germany’s Fair ‘N Green Sustainable Viticulture Standard. Meike also demonstrates her passion for winemaking by serving as a vice president on the executive board of the VDP. Today, the sisters assist in the managing of the family’s 15 hectares estate specializing mainly in Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir). Meyer-Näkel Spätburgunder Rosé is made of 100% Pinot Noir, is cellared for up to 3 years and expresses flavors of apple, raspberry, and clove.
3. Sybille Kuntz Qualitätswein Riesling Trocken, Mosel
from Sybille Kuntz
Sybille Kuntz grew up in the Mosel Valley, tending to grapes as her family had done for generations before her. While studying in Wuppertal, Kuntz opened a wine shop to pay for her studies in business administration. While operating the shop, she noticed the need for a high-quality Riesling and eventually founded Weingut Sybille Kuntz, where she serves as chairwoman and chief winemaker, making it one of the few wineries in Europe to have a woman in both of these positions. The vineyard focuses on dry Riesling, making Sybille Kuntz Qualitätswein Riesling Trocken an excellent option for those seeking drier styles of the grape.
4. Karl Schaefer Grauburgunder, Pfalz
from Nana von Nell
Nana von Nell is a part of the sixth generation currently running Weingut Karl Schaefer. She became a winemaker because she saw the profession as a versatile one in which you work with the environment to create art in the cellar. Von Nell aides in the mission of making wine that is authentic to the origins of Weingut Karl Schaefer, founded in 1843. The vineyard currently specializes mainly in Riesling but creates this well-structured Grauburgunder (Pinot Gris).
5. Weingut Bertram-Baltes ‘Handwerk’ Spätburgunder, Ahr
from Julia Bertram
Julia Bertram grew up in the Ahr and is the fifth generation of her family to lead the estate. In 2020, the estate rebranded from Weingut Julia Bertram to Weingut Bertram-Baltes when Julia’s husband, fellow winemaker Benedikt Baltes, joined the team. Bertram’s wine career began after high school as an intern at the Meyer-Näkel estate, and she continued her wine education at the Geisenheim Institute. After receiving her degree, she was elected the 64th German Wine Queen and served as an international ambassador for the German Wine Institute from 2012 to 2013. Julia Bertram (Bertram-Baltes) ‘Handwerk’ Spätburgunder is sourced from young vines on the steepest slopes on Bertram’s vineyard in the Ahr valley and aged for 15 months.
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