"POETRY EMBRACES NATURE."
SARAH LÖWENSTEIN SPEAKS ABOUT HER WINES AND WINE ESTATE IN WINNINGEN
Office HoursFR & SA 11.00-18.00 & nach Vereinbarung
Sarah Löwenstein, Cornelia Heymann-Löwenstein, Reinhard Löwenstein
Kathrin Höhler, Sarah Löwenstein
98% Riesling, 2% Spätburgunder
sieben verschiedene devonische Schiefer
VDP:What is so special about your winery?
Sarah Löwenstein: We balance on the tightrope between control and letting go, between feeling and understanding, between archaism and modernity. This attitude guides us in our work in our cultural landscape and in the cellar. It is also reflected in the architecture of the winery, in the contrast between the historic art nouveau villa and the modern wine crush house, the old vaulted cellar with organ pipes and watercourse, and particularly the new ‘Kubus’. The façade of charred wooden planks is encased in stainless steel calligraphy made of stainless steel, which shows the ‘Ode to Wine’ by Pablo Neruda. Poetry embraces the savage, man encounters nature. Birth of civilization, beginning of culture – agriculture and foundation of a contemporary concept of terroir wine.
VDP: What is your winery philosophy?
Sarah Löwenstein: We cultivate exclusively steep slopes on the Mosel terraces, which requires a lot of wo-man power. Instead of mechanisation, we have craftsmanship. With heart, hand and intellect, each member of our large international team leaves personal traces. At the same time, everyone shares our vision of making the various terroirs palatable. For us, sustainability means the constant search for balance in ecological, economic and social aspects of viticulture.
VDP: For what wine style do you strive?
Sarah Löwenstein: Our approach to wine moves between guiding our wines and leaving them to themselves. Through spontaneous fermentation, long maturation on the lees in wooden barrels and late bottling, we give our wines the time and freedom to develop the individual character of their respective vineyard sites. Riesling is the perfect mirror to reflect the vineyard, the cellar and the mind of the vintner. For us, terroir wines are on the one hand, a cultural alternative to industrially produced, globalised wine and on the other hand, neglected wildness, rawness.
VDP: Which of your wines would you recommend to someone who does not yet know your winery – as an introduction, so to speak?
Sarah Löwenstein: The ‘Schieferterrassen’. The wine arouses curiosity about our single-vineyard wines.
VDP: Of which wine are you particularly proud?
Sarah Löwenstein: Of unforeseen, great developments of vintages that were not initially attributed great potential – such as 2011, for example.
“WORKING WITH WINE IS LIKE JUGGLING: IT DEMANDS BALANCE, FLOW, LIGHTNESS AND CONCENTRATION.”
VDP: Why did you become a vintner?
Sarah Löwenstein: The winery is my home; I grew up here. Despite this, I didn’t walk through the vineyard as a child knowing that I would follow in my parents’ footsteps. I wanted to get away from the topic of wine, from Winningen, from the narrowness of the Mosel Valley. So, I graduated from the University of Duisburg-Essen with a master’s degree in Romance studies, pedagogy and business administration. But wine didn’t let me go. I realised how much it belongs to my life.
VDP: Do you have role models, mentors?
Sarah Löwenstein: Actually, there are countless inspirations for me. My parents showed me how it is possible to find fulfilment in wine. At the Zind-Humbrecht winery, I was totally fascinated by the soft pruning technique and the general organisation of vine cultivation. With Hans-Peter Zierisen I was able to experience a trust in wine that has accompanied me ever since. But I was also very much influenced by our employee Elzbieta Krzeminska, for example, who has been working for us for over 30 years and has a deep knowledge of the individual vineyards.
VDP: What are your next goals?
Sarah Löwenstein: I always want to develop further and be open to change. Each vintage brings new challenges that require us to find a new harmony between vintage, winery style and vineyard character.
VDP: How do you combine tradition and innovation?
Sarah Löwenstein: We don’t think in those categories. So much of the way we work is simultaneously progressive AND old school. We go our own way. For example, when we began spontaneous fermentation of our wines, it was considered a novelty; in the past however, it was the only possible type of fermentation. Another example is our company structures, which have been redesigned so that our employees can combine family and career with us. There is certainly hardly anything more traditional than family.
VDP: Why should people visit your winery?
Sarah Löwenstein: Wine balancing on the tightrope between Feng Shui, architecture, art, cultural landscape … and our vinotheque for tasting and vinophile contemplation.
VDP: What would you compare to making wine?
Sarah Löwenstein: Juggling: it demands balance, flow, lightness and concentration.
Pictures: © VDP.Weingut Heymann-Löwenstein partly by Andreas Durst, Tobias Vollmer