VDP – Generation Next.

The VDP is now well over a hundred years old - and as vital and dynamic as it was when it was founded. This is due to the unbroken and unconditional will to bottle only the best wines. On the other hand, the fact that new generations are constantly bringing a breath of fresh air to the wineries. Let's take a closer look at five of them.


Ladies first: Two of our VDP.estates presented here will pass into the hands of wine daughters: the VDP.Weingut Christmann in the Palatinate and the VDP.Schlossgut Diel on the Nahe. Caroline Diel and Sophie Christmann follow in quite big footsteps: Carolin's father Armin Diel is one of Germany's best-known winemakers, was editor-in-chief of the "Gault Millau Weinguide" for many years and a member of the VDP executive committee. Sophie's father, on the other hand, is none other than the president of the association. Reverence? "Oh, no!" Respect? "But of course!"

Both daughters got to know the whole wine world during their training, among others in Australia and Bordeaux (Sophie) or in New Zealand and Burgundy (Caroline). Of course, this alone gives rise to self-confidence. And then there is the fact that the fathers give their daughters their freedom and support them. Inheritance quarrels, intrigues and intrigues are a no-no. Caroline: "I've been working in my parents' winery since 2006, so I'm right in the middle of it. This time was very important and helpful. I have very much influenced the wine style and have already left my mark on the winery."

The transition is different for the Christmanns: Sophie will not (yet) take over the business directly, but will work together with her father as the "Superteam" (original sound: Sophie) in the winery over the next few years. And there are already first successes to register: the young winemaker from the Palatinate was awarded the German Red Wine Award 2019 for the discovery of the year!

The young generation attaches great importance to the topic of sustainability, which has always played a major role in the VDP. Whereby the Christmanns have been working biodynamically for 15 years now, while at Schlossgut Diel the management has been changed over "quasi to eco", as Caroline Diel notes. Another common interest of the winegrowers: Both want to make the origin of the wines tasteable, to work out the characteristics of the soil, the climate and the vintage.

Sophie Christmann: "Of course, the cooperation of the generations also sometimes leads to discussions. In most cases, however, it is only a matter of small details. Much more important is our shared conviction that we are only satisfied with the best. Only to do what we can: Namely authentic, handcrafted wines that tell of the Palatinate, the magnificent home of our family." Caroline Diel is also driven by the "passion to get the best out of our vineyards. To make authentic wines on our land that tell of their origins".  Sustainability and terroir - two points that are at the top of the agenda for the two winegrowers, but also for the VDP.

After the daughters, let us now come to the sons: Hansjörg and Matthias Aldinger from Aldinger Winery in Fellbach, Mark Barth from Barth Winery in Hattenheim and Joscha Dippon from Hohenbeilstein Castle Winery. But the young winegrowers and their businesses also embody exemplarily the diversity that distinguishes the VDP as an association. Joscha Dippon is a freshly baked lord of the castle estate in Württemberg and his winery has been completely converted to controlled organic cultivation since 1994. Like his father, he is also "very interested in creating awareness and joy among people for the work behind a bottle of wine, for organic cultivation and the product wine itself". However: "During the implementation, in the maturation of wines in the cellar I like to discuss with my father. Sometimes we disagree - and that's a good thing! This is the only way to achieve differentiable wine styles."

Like the Schlossgut Hohenbeilstein, the VDP.Estate Aldinger is a classic family winery in which everyone helps - even without a castle. But it is characterised by its proximity to the state capital Stuttgart, by urbanity and by the motto Hansjörg and Matthias Aldinger follow: "tradition and progress". Generation conflicts? "Maybe we prefer the lighter style and our senior the stronger. Gert decides extremely fast and we prefer sleeping over it for one night. But the similarities clearly predominate. If we do something then very consistently...old as young!"

The family also plays an important role for Mark Barth. He has been working at the winery since 2011. "We played a leading role in the development of the new VDP.SEKT.STATUTE and regard ourselves as pioneers of Riesling Sekt from classified vineyard sites." And what does it mean for him to be a member of the VDP?  "Since I have virtually grown into an existing VDP.Business and can also help shape the future of the association through my own commitment as deputy chairman of VDP.Rheingau and in various working groups in the national VDP, including the VDP's Sekt working group, the VDP already plays an important role and is therefore also part of our business."

As you can see: The VDP and its winegrowers evolve from generation to generation. The self-imposed goal of always being one step ahead in wine-growing and of delivering only absolute top quality seems to facilitate the handover of the vineyards. Because where from the beginning on one thinks ahead, fresh ideas of the "successors" are of course always welcome.