VDP: What is so special about your winery?
Johannes Ruck: If you mean the building, we are the only winery on the central market square in the historic Iphofen Old Town.
VDP: What is your winery philosophy?
Johannes Ruck: To achieve good things through honest handcraft, attentiveness, effort and care.
VDP: To which wine style do you aspire?
Johannes Ruck: To bring the intrinsic natural attributes into the bottle: terroir. My favourite variety Riesling demonstrates this very well.
VDP: Which of your wines would you recommend to someone who does not yet know your winery – as an introduction, so to speak?
Johannes Ruck: VDP.ERSTE LAGE® Iphöfer Kalb Silvaner – floral, filigree, extravagant. Or a JULIUS-ECHTER-BERG Riesling with delicate fruit and clear expression of origin.
VDP: Of which wine are you particularly proud?
Johannes Ruck: The Scheurebe from the JULIUS-ECHTER-BERG. My father created quite a splash with it and it has grown there for over 40 years.
VDP: Why did you become a vintner? Was there an enlightenment, so to speak, at some point?
Johannes Ruck: Helmut Kohl once said that if someone has visions, he should go to the doctor. No, I had no experiences of the third kind, we have been making wine for generations. Even my ancestor that came to Iphofen in the 19th century had already learned this craft from his forefathers.
VDP: Do you have a role model?
Johannes Ruck: Looking back, my grandfather and my father did everything right. They are my role models.
VDP: What are your next goals?
Johannes Ruck: To make viticulture in Franken so attractive that the following generation also has a desire to become vintners.
VDP: How do you combine tradition and innovation?
Johannes Ruck: Winegrowing is reinvented every 10 years, yet the possibilities at our disposal are known and limited. You’ve got to hit the nail on the head whether the hammer is made of wood, metal or plastic, no matter if with muscle power or solar energy. Depending on the perspective, the medium changes to meet a challenge. Everything currently revolves around marketing, while the soil – our true capital – is degraded to a mere matrix upon which to drive a tractor. It’s about solving current problems without losing sight of the big picture.
VDP: Why should people visit your winery?
Johannes Ruck: Iphofen and its historic old town, the churches and the completely preserved city wall are worthwhile sights. I also find it attractive to hike through our vineyards up to the Schwanberg to enjoy the magnificent view. Afterwards, enjoy a pleasant stop in one of the cosy guesthouses of the city – what more does one need?
VDP: What would you compare to making wine?
Johannes Ruck: Something very strenuous, but not a sport. Something existential for which one must feel passion, perhaps even obsession. Perhaps you have to be a bit crazy to enjoy sweating in the vineyard in the midsummer heat and tend to the vines in wind and weather, but you have to keep at it so you don’t lose everything in the last second.