If Rheinhessen is at the epicenter of a new wave in German winemaking—one full of young energy that emphasizes high-quality, natural methods—then husband and wife Daniel and Bianka Schmitt are at the epicenter of Rheinhessen.
Rheinhessen is the largest wine growing region in Germany, and has been largely associated with bulk production. However, in recent years, the region’s reputation has begun to shift as a new generation of younger, more innovative growers are reducing yields and honing in on the largely undervalued terroir of this region. Bianka and Daniel epitomize this new wave of German winemakers, working hard to produce wines of the highest quality with as little intervention as possible.
Their estate has been in the family for over 200 years, originally a cereal and sugar beet farm, but is now part of the region’s growing natural wine movement. During the latter half of the 20th century, the family began bottling and selling their wine, and converted to biodynamic farming during the beginning of the 21st. Today, Bianka and Daniel have 16 hectares of vineyards on clay, limestone, and sandstone—one of only about 75 properties in Germany to be Demeter certified—that they farm by hand with limited yields. In the cellar, they keep their interventions limited: native yeasts, no temperature control, and no fining or filtering. Some skin contact wines, some amphorae wines, some aged in neutral oak—all wines that are fresh and delicious and follow their motto: “wine just from grapes!”
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