Karl-Eugen Erbgraf zu Neipperg
33%Lemberger, 20% Riesling sowie Spätburgunder, Rivaner, Muskateller, Traminer, Merlot, Syrah, Weißburgunder, Trollinger
Keuper, Schilfsandstein, Löss-Muschelkalkboden
VDP: What is so special about your winery?
Karl Eugen Erbgraf von Neipperg: We rarely have anything new to report, which means that we persist with our usual level of high quality! Of course, as a winemaker, I shape my wines and my winery through my personality. When it comes to historic tradition, some of our vineyards have been in our possession since 1248. The vineyard parcel Kehl is today a part of our VDP.GROSSEN LAGE® in the SCHLOSSBERG in Neipperg. The vineyard came into our possession by land consolidation, after belonging to the Maulbronn Monastery.
VDP: What is your vineyard philosophy?
Karl Eugen Erbgraf von Neipperg: You have to taste the region and wine should also carry the signature of the people behind it.
VDP: For what wine style do you strive?
Karl Eugen Erbgraf von Neipperg: Character is important when it comes to wine style and wine must offer enjoyment. We want to extract the positive attributes of each vintage and vineyard, which is what ultimately leads to great wine.
VDP: Do you have a favourite grape variety?
Karl Eugen Erbgraf von Neipperg: I have no favourite grape variety. This is exactly like the question, ‘which is your favourite child?’ You shouldn’t even think about such an answer. In most cases, the child is particularly appreciated for the things that have preoccupied you in its development.
VDP: Which of your wines would you recommend to someone who does not yet know your winery – as an introduction, so to speak?
Karl Eugen Erbgraf von Neipperg: I recommend the fruity Muskateller (Muscat) as my entry wine. Its fruit and piquant acidity offer more appeal than ‘just’ a Riesling. Muskateller (Muscat) is the grape variety that has been cultivated in our vineyards for the longest time, ever since 1658! There is also a historical event that connects us with this grape variety. As the next wine, there should be a Lemberger in the glass. My family is said to be jointly responsible for the cultivation of this variety in today’s Württemberg. This variety is called ‘Blaufränkisch’ in Austria and makes up 30 percent of our estate’s vineyard area.
VDP: Of which wine are you particularly proud?
Karl Eugen Erbgraf von Neipperg: Of our Lemberger VDP.GROSSES GEWÄCHS® SCHLOSSBERG, Neipperg. It is here that we have succeeded best in expressing the origin. It is also the Lemberger (Blaufränkisch) variety that is the ‘brand’ for which our family is best known.
VDP: Why did you become a vintner?
Karl Eugen Erbgraf von Neipperg: Because I grew up with wine. In the autumn of 1959, I earned good money for the first time by making wine. I was only eight and an old spin-dryer had been put up behind the destemmer. I was assigned to spin out all the grape stems that came out of the destemmer. For every litre of juice extracted, I got 50 Pfennig. That was the first money I earned with my own hands.
VDP: Do you have role models, mentors?
Karl Eugen Erbgraf von Neipperg: I don't really have a role model for wine. I am who I am. In some areas my godfather, Erwein Graf Matuschka, shaped me. He was a brilliant character.
VDP: What are your next goals?
Karl Eugen Erbgraf von Neipperg: The final handover of the business to my successor.
VDP: How do you combine tradition and innovation?
Karl Eugen Erbgraf von Neipperg: As said before, we continue to persist with quality! Innovative was the fact that we were already involved with international red wine varieties in the 90s. What also surprises some people was the fact that to a large extent I said goodbye to horizontal terraces, because today erosion can be well controlled by technical methods and green cover.
VDP: Why should people visit your vineyard?
Karl Eugen Erbgraf von Neipperg: The Neipperg castle complex has the largest residential tower in southern Germany. This building distinguishes the northern boundary and the Zabergäu region, which is reminiscent of Tuscany, like no other structure. The former residence town of Schwaigern with its historic town centre and the gothic town church is also worth a visit.