Awarding of the VDP.Pin of Honour 2023

Pinot Noir pioneer, Rhinelander with a heart and visionary role model for many winegrowers in Germany 

Winemaker Werner Näkel from Dernau has brought the red wine from the Ahr to the world stage of wine. On the occasion of the VDP.Weinbörse in Mainz, the VDP.Prädikatsweingüter ceremoniously awarded him the Silver VDP.Pin of Honour for his services to the Ahr regional association as well as to red winegrowing in general. 


Werner Näkel receives the silver VDP pin of honour 


Looking back on the work of the Dernau winegrower, one can see a creative period and willpower that is unparalleled. At a time when red wine from the Ahr hardly had a name internationally and was appreciated more by the nation's drinking-loving tour groups, Werner Näkel swapped teaching for viticulture and from the very beginning devoted himself exclusively to quality instead of mass. With this pursuit, he made it from a no-name winery to worldwide recognition for late and early Burgundy, he was co-founder of the German Barrique Forum, created winegrowing projects in South Africa as well as Portugal together with friends, and ultimately transferred his top estate safely to the next generation. He was also one of the driving forces in the Ahr region to found a VDP regional association, which - initially associated with the VDP Nahe - invited to many joint presentations in the Ahr and Nahe regions and has been independent as VDP.Ahr since 2017. 


The Meyer-Näkel winery, which has been a member of the VDP since 1994, has in the meantime been taken over by the two daughters. So, it was Dörte Näkel who, together with her father, accompanied the award ceremony via video link from Dernau on the Sunday of the VDP.Weinbörse and Meike Näkel who accepted the pin of honour on behalf of her father from VDP.President Steffen Christmann in the Rheingoldhalle Mainz. His long-time friend and colleague Joachim Heger, VDP.Vice-President, from Ihringen in the Kaiserstuhl region, held the laudation for the winemaker Werner Näkel in his usual entertaining, personal and appreciative manner. Together with other VDP colleagues such as Paul Fürst, Helmut Dönnhoff and Werner Knipser, Näkel has been friends for many years, also due to their shared love of Pinot Noir. 

©VDP by Peter Bender