Werner und Frank Schönleber
85% Riesling, 7% Grauburgunder, 5% Weissburgunder
Schiefer, Quarzit, Kiesel
VDP: What is so special about your winery?
Frank Schönleber: The VDP.GROSSE LAGE® HALENBERG, more than 60 percent of which belongs to us. We have made it famous again and recultivated a large part after decades of scrubland. At least as much as we did for them, this great location has done for the good reputation of our winery: "Whoever hears Emrich-Schönleber immediately thinks of HALENBERG".
VDP: What is your winery philosophy?
Frank Schönleber: Sustainability is the basic prerequisite - in every respect. This applies to vineyards and soil as well as to our relationships with employees and customers. Authenticity and character are very important to me with my wines. They should show where they come from - you can recognize them immediately.
VDP: Do you have a favourite grape variety?
Frank Schönleber: Riesling, Riesling, Riesling! Red preferably Pinot Noir.
VDP: Which of your wines would you recommend to someone who doesn't yet know your winery - as an introduction, so to speak?
Frank Schönleber: Our dry Riesling "Mineral". He presents the winery excellently and you can taste it right from the first sip, which is important for Emrich-Schönleber: the stamp of origin.
VDP: Which wine are you particularly proud of?
Frank Schönleber: Of the top wines, it is the AUF DER LEY Riesling GG. It comes from a location that we rediscovered a good ten years ago. It is a wine with a very special character, enormous precision and elegance - and a very special challenge: There is always only one barrel of it - nothing should go wrong!
VDP: Why did you become a vintner?
Frank Schönleber: I grew up on the winery, so that was the first thought for my future career. After graduating from high school, I did an internship at the VDP winery Toni Jost in the Middle Rhine region. It was clear to me that I had to go there, wo´s hurts: on the extreme steep slope. There I caught fire and my professional future was certain. Another internship followed at the VDP winery Franz Künstler and then I went to Geisenheim to study.
VDP: Do you have role models?
Frank Schönleber: My father! It's admirable what he built up in 20 years. He is an important pillar, even today.
VDP: What are your next goals?
Frank Schönleber: Basically: Getting a little better every year! My next project is to keep a part of the VDP.ORTS and VDP.LAGEN wines in the cellar longer until they have reached the optimum drinking maturity. And: One day I would like to pass on the winery to the next generation in at least as good a condition as I received it from my father. This is a great challenge that we face every day anew ...
VDP: How do you combine tradition and innovation?
Frank Schönleber: The fruit-sweet Spätlesen have a great tradition close by. In my father's young years it was a big deal. Since then demand has gradually declined in favour of the great dry wines. You could now make it easy for yourself and switch completely to dry wines - from an economic point of view that would certainly make sense. But we think that the wines with a discreet fruit sweetness simply belonged here and that they also have to be cultivated and further developed. We are sticking to this tradition! The decreasing demand in the past was largely due to us winegrowers themselves - because the Spätlese became sweeter and sweeter and had less and less drinking animation. Today they are much finer, more filigree and racier again. Like the great late vintages of the nineties. It goes again upward with the fruit-sweet Spätlesen!