“WE PLANTED THE FIRST DOCUMENTED SILVANER IN GERMANY IN 1659.”
CASTELL WINERY DIRECTOR PETER GEIL ABOUT THEAND THE WINERY IN CASTELL
Fürstlich Castell'sches Domänenamt
Office HoursBüro: Mo-Fr 8.00-18.00 Uhr; Sa 10.00-16.00 ansonsten im Restaurant Weinstall
Ferdinand Fürst zu Castell-Castell
Christian Frieß & Reinhard Firnbach
41% Silvaner, 12% Müller-Thurgau, 9% Weißburgunder, 8% Riesling, 8% Bacchus, 5% Scheurebe, 4% Grauburgunder, 12% Rotwein, 1% Rieslaner
Gipskeuper mit Alabaster & Schilfsandstein
Sparkling Wine / Sekt
- Die Güter
- Wine in Moderation
VDP: What is so special about your winery?
Peter Geil: Castell itself is a picturesque wine village steeped in history and it is home to the castle of the dedicated family Fürst zu Castell-Castell and its wine domain. Germany’s first Silvaner was planted here in 1659. The historic castle cellar with carved wooden barrels documenting the family history is particularly unique. The vineyards are all in the best locations surrounding Castell and are now cultivated in the 26th generation. All vineyards classified as VDP.ERSTE LAGE® and VDP.GROSSE LAGE® are monopole vineyards of the domain. Our vines grow on gypsum marl soils in the Steigerwald area of the Franken wine region. We have combined a VDP wine estate and a local producer cooperative in a visionary fashion since the 1970s. We practice sustainability throughout: for our cultural landscape, our environment, our wine village and our winegrowing families. We approach our aspiration to be one of the best winegrowers with critical self-reflection and a clear quality philosophy.
VDP: What is your winery philosophy?
Peter Geil: Predominantly spontaneous fermentation in large wooden barrels with prolonged lees contact for VDP single vineyard wines and VDP.GROSSES GEWÄCHS® wines. Targeted site selection and use of cellar technology – yeast and fermentation control for the VDP.GUTSWEINE and the young wine series. We use ripe but not overripe grapes and strive to preserve the natural acidity.
VDP: To which wine style do you aspire?
Peter Geil: Our wines have a clear line and pronounced single-vineyard character. Our focus is on Silvaner. We vinify mainly dry and puristic white wines. Silvaner is ideally suited for this purpose. Due to the influence of gypsum marl, our wines are late developers, that excel with longevity and concentration.
VDP: Which of your wines would you recommend to someone who does not yet know your winery – as an introduction, so to speak?
Peter Geil: VDP.ERSTE LAGE® Casteller Kugelspieler Silvaner. It develops its individual quality already after one year. With its cool character and minerality, it is an ingenious food companion.
VDP:Of which wine are you particularly proud?
Peter Geil: Of our new wine series “Die Gefährten” (The Companions). This includes 4 modern wines with labels depicting women from the Castell family who have clearly influenced the history and fate of the house. At the end of 2018, we were awarded the renowned Red Dot Design award in the packaging sector. The wines are fun to drink and demonstrate how tradition can be perfectly combined with modernity.
VDP:Why did you become a vintner?
Peter Geil: Even as a child, it was clear to me that I wanted to become a vintner. I grew up at a family winery in Rheinhessen and participated from an early age. Making wine is not a profession for me, it’s a lifestyle.
VDP:Do you have role models?
Peter Geil: My father was my role model as a child and with the way he lives and works with nature, he continues to be that today. In the course of my training, I have repeatedly encountered extraordinary people from whom I have learned and who certainly also shape what I do today.
Our wines have a clear line and pronounced single-vineyard character.
“OUR WINES HAVE A CLEAR LINE AND PRONOUNCED SINGLE-VINEYARD CHARACTER. OUR FOCUS IS ON SILVANER.”
VDP: What are your next goals?
Peter Geil: In terms of winegrowing, we would like to emphasise the Castell style even more, grow even further in terms of quality and gently lead Castell and its long tradition into the future.
VDP: How do you combine tradition and innovation?
Peter Geil: Innovation lies in our tradition. The fact that the princely Castell family has always been visionary and that prudent and far-sighted action is firmly anchored in our company is reflected in actions such as the founding of a bank to provide security for farmers, the co-founding of the VDP.FRANKEN, the founding of the local cooperative, the restructuring of the forestry industry and ground breaking innovations at the wine domain. For example, we used the screw cap early on, used new bottle shapes and even established a quality pyramid long before the VDP.
VDP: Why should people visit your winery?
Peter Geil: The view from our VDP.GROSSE LAGE® SCHLOSSBERG is unique. It’s a vantage point amidst the vines that invites you to take a break – preferably with a bottle of Casteller Kugelspiel Silvaner. Of course, you are also very welcome at one of our events in the inimitable ambience of the castle garden.
Photos: Peter Bender