Carl-Gunderloch Platz 1
Office HoursMo-Do 8.30-17.00; Fr 8.30-16.00; Sa nach Absprache
VDP: What is so special about your winery?
Johannes Hasselbach: We are already in the sixth generation, are founding members of the VDP, and our wine estate has even made it into literature – our winery is the setting for Carl Zuckmayer's ‘The Merry Vineyard’. We expanded and built another building in 2017. Every generation reinvents the winery – security and plans are sometimes thrown overboard to make the estate fit for the future. In the vineyard, our focus is on the steep slopes of the Roten Hang.
VDP: What is your winery philosophy?
Johannes Hasselbach: First: less is more. Second: wine is made in the vineyard. Third: all work must be sustainable.
VDP: For what style of wine do you strive?
Johannes Hasselbach: Distinctive wines that express their origin. Our favourite variety is Riesling.
VDP: Which of your wines would you recommend to someone who does not yet know your winery – as an introduction, so to speak?
Johannes Hasselbach: “Als wär’s ein Stück von mir” Riesling dry and „Jean Baptiste“ Riesling Kabinett. Two different wines, but they both tell the wonderful story of our wine estate and are inimitable ambassadors of their origin. “Jean Baptiste” enjoys worldwide fame and tells the story of the founder of the winery Carl Gunderloch. ‘Als wär’s ein Stück von mir’ gives the young generation the opportunity to experiment and focus intensely on the vineyards, uninfluenced by conventions and rules of the game. This is the only way to get to know the vineyards and develop a feeling for them.
VDP: Of which wines are you particularly proud?
Johannes Hasselbach: Every year, the VDP.GROSSE GEWÄCHS® ROTHENBERG is the wine with which we strive to represent the intrinsic characteristics of our house vineyard ROTHENBERG. Even after more than 130 years of experience, we learn something new about this vineyard almost every day. If we succeed in doing justice to this challenging terroir with this wine, this makes us very proud.
VDP: Why did you become a vintner?
Johannes Hasselbach: I’ve always been fascinated by what my parents do, but the hard work wasn’t initially my thing.;-). Nevertheless, I always felt a certain responsibility towards what my predecessor generations had created. After my business studies I travelled around the world with my wife for a year and we worked at many wineries during this time. We gained a lot of experience and we enjoyed the exchange with many young and passionate wine professionals. It was then that the idea of continuing my parents’ business together with my sister matured. When my sister then left the winery out of love for Austrian wine and a young Austrian winemaker and my father fell ill shortly before the harvest, there was no question that I and my family would continue to run the business. I have not regretted this decision to this day!
VDP: Do you have role models or mentors?
Johannes Hasselbach: I can’t tie that to only one person. During my travels around the world, I had contact with so many interesting people – bosses, winemakers, colleagues, but also simple temporary helpers. In addition to their hard work, most of them radiated a great passion for what they were doing that could not be explained through money or anything similar. I found this incredibly inspiring and it grounded me. That year of travel in the wine world was incredibly formative.
VDP: What are your next goals?
Johannes Hasselbach: We reached a milestone at a very early stage with our renovation and expansion of the estate – in terms of both content and construction. We now have great prerequisites and are able to implement technical workflows very well. Now I can devote even more time and energy to my actual job: getting to know and understand the vineyards even better. We continue to further refine processes more optimally in order to obtain wines with even more terroir character.
VDP: How do you combine tradition and innovation?
Johannes Hasselbach: Tradition is a complex term. It makes a lot possible, but it can also be incredibly limiting. I think it is the task of every generation of winegrowers to start with a clean slate and to have many crazy questions in mind. You have to sensitize yourself to what you do every day. That’s where real innovation lies for me. In the end, what previous generations did before knowledge developed as quickly it has in the last decades and everything was much less technocratic is essentially what we do now. At the end of the day, it’s all somehow traditional again...
Photos: Peter Bender