The "Bischel Boys," brothers Christian and Matthias Runkel, have been responsible for winemaking at their family-run estate since the 2006 vintage. Their approach to winemaking, marked by minimal intervention in the vineyard, low yields and a keen focus on ripeness levels, has now brought them to the next level of prestige.
On January 1, Weingut Bischel of Appenheim assumed its place as the newest member of the VDP. The brothers' devotion to quality has quickly raised them into one of the finest winegrowing estates anywhere in Rheinhessen. Their big jump came with a determination to put greater emphasis on the vineyard and less on the cellar.
The brothers are both graduates of Geisenheim University. Christian's professional background includes stints with Tim Adams in Clare Valley, Australia and at Backsberg Estate in South Africa. Matthias by contrast apprenticed at VDP.Weingut Keller in Flörsheim-Dalsheim and Neudorf, a New Zealand specialist in Pinot.
"Origin is rightly the main focus, because it makes such a difference. Our wines offer an authentic reflection of what nature has brought us over 365 days," Christian and Matthias Runkel say of their philosophy.
Philipp Wittmann, president of the VDP.Rheinhessen, showered praise on the new members: "Their adoption into the association is a well-deserved confirmation of the way the Runkel brothers have striven after quality. VDP.Rheinhessen is pleased at this chance to redraw the map of Prädikat estates around Appenheim."
Acceptance into the Verband Deutscher Prädikatsweingüter (VDP) was a logical step for the Runkel brothers, who have long shown an uncompromising approach to quality. Founded in 1968 by grandfather Karl-Heinz Bischel and converted to bottled wine sales by parents Heike (née Bischel) and Hartmut Runkel, one-third of the estate's output is Riesling grown on the various soils of the renowned Scharlachberg (quartzite), Heerkretz (porphyry) and Hundertgulden (limestone) sites. The result: inspiring wines of refreshing liveliness. The Runkels have also built burnished their reputation through their classic Pinot varieties.
The VDP accepts new members as part of a strict review process that ensures unflinchingly high standards for the member estates and their premium wines. Since the introduction in 1991 of a mandatory 5-year review cycle for all members, the organization has welcomed 130 new members and seen 95 departures from its ranks.