VDP: What is so special about your winery?
Joachim Heger: Many special vineyard sites! The best known is probably the VDP.ERSTE LAGE® Ihringer Winklerberg. It is one of the most famous vineyards and one of the warmest in Germany. Another special feature is that 98 percent of our wines are dry.
VDP: What is your winery philosophy?
Joachim Heger: Our wines are authentic, un-oaked and dry. Residual sugar is usually under four grams per litre, which is ideal for me. Not too much, but also not too little.
VDP: To what wine style do you aspire?
Joachim Heger: As I said, a consistently dry style.
VDP: Do you have a favourite grape variety?
Joachim Heger: I have many: Riesling, all Pinots, Chardonnay, Muscat. And, as you probably already anticipate, all will be fermented dry.
VDP: Which of your wines would you recommend to someone who does not yet know your winery – as an introduction, so to speak?
Joachim Heger: "Pferd Willi" – a truly unique Silvaner with an admittedly idiosyncratic name, which translates to “Horse Willi”. By the way, Willi is not a marketing gag, but the name of a young draft horse who helps us cultivate the soil of the 40-year-old Silvaner vineyard. By ploughing in a traditional way, we can counteract soil compaction and at the same time revive an old cultural treasure.
VDP: Why did you become a vintner?
Joachim Heger: I wanted to become a doctor and study medicine like my grandfather. After two months I thought, "It's better if you go to Geisenheim". I haven't regretted that decision for a second!
VDP: Do you have role models?
Joachim Heger: "Mimus"– that was my father Wolfgang’s nickname since childhood. When I took over the winery in 1992, I dedicated an eponymous wine to him – a very special wine, of course. Another role model is Henri Jayer – the legend from Burgundy.
VDP: What are your next goals?
Joachim Heger: Keep turning the quality screw a bit tighter, continuously work on improving details. At some point, I'd like to hand down the winery to my daughters in the best possible condition.
VDP: How do you combine tradition and innovation?
Joachim Heger: I strive to interpret tradition as something innovative. We'll continue to use wooden barrels!