Three Generations and a Black Cat

Our estate may well be the poster child for a classic family-run operation.


Our estate may well be the poster child for a classic family-run operation. Three generations live together under one roof, working together to build the perfect wine. With our tomcat Jacky, of course, our own personal "Zeller schwarze Katz". The large vineyard block of that name is, fittingly enough, also the heart of our estate. And yes, of course, Jacky features prominently on our label!

So just who beyond Jacky is living here at the estate? There's Oma Elli, who built up the estate from scratch back in the 70s. The second generation comprises her daughter Maria and son-in-law Uwe, who today are the main vintners and keep things running. Their two daughters, Franziska and Lydia, represent the youngest generation — together with me, the son-in-law, who married into this wild band. And as befits a proper family-run operation, everybody digs in on the work. For us 'youngun's,' winegrowing was initially more of a pastime than a passion.

But then came the day in September 2016 when we took a sudden plunge into the cold water. One day before harvest our lead winemaker, Uwe, had a bad accident. Even so, the show had to go on, with or without the head of the family there to lead us. And that leisure activity suddenly became very serious. But they say you grow to meet new responsibilities, and so we dug in and did everything we could to make it through harvest while Uwe recuperated — successfully! Uwe made a quick recovery, and the wine ultimately passed sensory muster not just with him, but also with Oma Elli, who has never shied away from offering her unsparing opinion. Our involuntary first vintage then turned into our "Young Generation" wines, which have been selling well. And who says black cats are bad luck?