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Ivonne & Johannes Graf von Schönburg-Glauchau
70% Pinot grape varieties, 30% Riesling
VDP:What is so special about your winery?
Johannes Graf von Schönburg: The castle complex alone impresses at first glance – it is unique in Rheinhessen! Our prestigious monopole vineyard, the VDP.GROSSSE LAGE® SCHLOSS WESTERHAUS, is directly adjacent to the castle. Everything rests on shell limestone of maritime origin. Where once sharks swam and manatees bathed, today Pinot and Riesling varieties grow side by side. Our mountain is also an oasis of well-being: the grapes benefit from the cool microclimate just as much as the people. Schloss Westerhaus is a family business with a long tradition, but also somehow a start-up. After all, in 2007 we gave up our actual professions in order to dedicate ourselves entirely to the passion of wine.
VDP:What is your winery philosophy?
Johannes Graf von Schönburg: Westerhaus was first mentioned in the seventh century; my family can trace 900 years. Our generation is only a small part of history. We are very aware of this and therefore our actions in the vineyard and in the cellar are extremely focussed on sustainability
VDP:For what wine style do you strive?
Johannes Graf von Schönburg: Schloss Westerhaus stands for an elegant style that is influenced by its origins. We attach importance to minerality and wine length, optimally with quite low alcohol values, in particular with Riesling. Pinot wines are allowed to bring a little more power. Above all, however, it stands that the origin, the limestone terroir, remains clearly recognizable! We are particularly fond of Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir). Our location is predestined for very firm, cool Pinots with elegant fruit, spice and acidity. Accordingly, we are always on the lookout; we want to get the best out of the location.
VDP:Which of your wines would you recommend to someone who does not yet know your winery – as an introduction, so to speak?
Johannes Graf von Schönburg: A Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc) from Schloss Westerhaus opens doors. Delicate muscle meets acidity and suppleness. A wine for many occasions that offers abundant drinking pleasure!
VDP:Why did you become a vintner?
Johannes Graf von Schönburg: My wife and I both grew up in the midst of vines and wine therefore played a role from an early age. After successfully pursuing other professions for several years, we took heart in 2007 and from then on realigned the Schloss Westerhaus winery. We have not regretted it for a second.
VDP:Do you have role models?
Johannes Graf von Schönburg: We don’t follow a specific template; we don’t copy anything. I particularly appreciate and respect the entrepreneurs who successfully lead traditional companies into the future as flagships in their region. Dr. Georg Prinz zu Lippe von Schloss Proschwitz, for example, is one of them, as are the wine estates of the Graf von Neipperg in Germany and France. As a region I find the Nahe very exciting – right behind Rheinhessen of course ;-)!
VDP:What are your next goals?
Johannes Graf von Schönburg: We want to modernize our operations step by step over the next few years. It is a balancing act to master, as the winery is located in a centuries-old building. Nevertheless, we want to continue to work and play in our historic quarters. That is our duty!
VDP:Why should people visit your winery?
Johannes Graf von Schönburg: Schloss Westerhaus is a large oasis for chilling out! Here high up on the Westerberg, a different, pleasant wind truly is blowing. The symbiosis between a VDP.Wine Estate, a castle and a thoroughbred stud farm, which has been run here by the family for over 100 years, is unique. And then the view over the Rhine and Rheingau to the Taunus Mountains with a clear view of the Feldberg! And when you are back home, you’ll recall all these impressions before your eyes again as you enjoy a nice glass of wine.