»Premium wines require passion, because only once a year do you have the opportunity to transfer this wonderful expression of nature into a bottle by means of a perfect sequence of skilled actions.«
Gunter Künstler, Weingut Künstler
The home of the Künstler winery is the only Rheingau wine community that lies directly on the Main river. Here, shortly before it flows into the Rhine, the Main forms a southward-tilting conical hilltop with no shade from the east or west. Flooded with light and warmth, this favourable location is the guarantor for outstanding Hochheim vineyard locations. Even the famous German poet, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 – 1832), praised the region‘s unique microclimate all those years ago: »… there can be no dispute about rank among the magnates of Rheingau wine, Rüdesheim, Johannisberg and Hochheim!“ And because of the special liking British Queen Victoria (1819 – 1901) developed for Hochheim wine, the term »hock“ became the internationally accepted term for outstanding Rheingau wines.
The wine-growing tradition of the Künstler family can be traced back to 1648 in Untertannovitz in South Moravia, in what is today the Czech Republic. After the Second World War (1939 – 1945), the Künstlers had to leave their homeland, and it was in Hochheim that the father, Franz Künstler, laid the cornerstone for the rise of one of the most successful family-owned companies in the Rheingau. The winery today comprises a total of 30 hectares of vineyards that grow mainly Riesling (80%), as well as Pinot Noir (15%) and small quantities of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Franz’s son Gunter Künstler, a fully qualified winemaker and industrial engineer, has been continuing the family tradition since 1992. He is regarded as one of the best German winemakers of all and has already received the corresponding award on two occasions from the Institute of Masters of Wine (IMW). Gunter Künstler bought the »Aschrott’sche Erben« winery in Hochheim in 199 which includes some of the very best vineyard locations (Domdechaney, Kirchenstück, Hölle; Stielweg). These vineyards, with vines mostly 50 to 60 years old, are a unique and priceless guarantor for outstanding Riesling qualities. The tradition-steeped Künstler wine estate grows concentrated, minerally dry, elegant Riesling wines, which are among the best in Germany, on vigorous loamy and calcareous soils.
First-class quality in vineyard and cellar
For Gunter Künstler, wine is a reflection of the landscape in which it thrives. Geological and climatic characteristics are to be found in its typical flavour nuances. It requires the ambition and passion of the winemaker, however – details which flow into the unique vineyard locations with the care and attention which only a true craftsman can provide – to create wines of international quality. Wine is not only a profession and a calling, it is an attitude towards life. The gentle and careful handling of grapes in the vineyard and cellar are the number one priority. Natural and environmentally friendly care and greening of the rows of vines creates a healthy vineyard and, with it, healthy grapes. The grapes are mainly picked by hand and gently pressed. The pressed grape must is slowly fermented in stainless steel tanks or wooden casks, depending on its origin. The result is vigorous, terroir-driven Riesling wines that satisfy the highest demands.