GERMANY (Iphofen) – Just under 100 guests were assembled in the inner yard of the Wirsching winery, Iphofen, on the occasion of the “Night of Grand Growths”. Two important men of the house, managing director Dr. Uwe Matheus and sales manager Armin Huth, didn’t need a microphone for their wine-comments. However, the person wine friends listened most attentively was a charming, energetic woman that had been counted for lost for Franconia: Andrea Wirsching, who spoke her soft words without technical support, too.
Whoever is at home within the wine scene has long got used to her presenting the Schloss Saarstein winery at trade fairs. In 1993, the woman of Iphofen met Christian Ebert, junior boss of the Saarstein winery, at a VDP river cruise, moved to the Saar river and almost brought up three daughters (today 15, 16, and 17 years of age). The year at the Saar river were a real caesura for her. “I had a somewhat wild youth and wild studying years, and for the latter one I took my time”, she laughs in retrospective. “But my father endured everything with an angelic patience.” In the end, she did a further education in viticulture and business administration as well as an internship to remember forever at Schloss Wallhausen, which is run by Michael Prinz zu Salm-Salm, long-time VDP president.
Then she felt as Saar vintner for 18 years, but when their marriage broke up (nowadays an almost normal development), she knocked on the door of her father, Dr. Heinrich Wirsching of Iphofen, to ask if there was a little room for her in his winery. “I was happy when my father said yes”, she remembers. “My family would also have been able to say they had been struggling for me for many years, and now they were no longer interested in me.” The more so as she has meanwhile got a half-sister named Lena, who after a study of wine management is doing her Master of Family Business Management in order to work fully for the winery. But the two ladies have well arranged with each other (despite the large age difference: Andrea, born in 1964, could indeed be the mother of Lena, born in 1989) and have just created a wine together as a sign of closeness, a wine made out of Silvaner and Riesling from the Julius-Echter-Berg top vineyard: “Sister Act”.
In 2010, Andrea Ebert started to detach gradually from the Saar region. Many wine people were surprised to see her radiating again behind the Wirsching stand at wine fairs. Meanwhile, she reverted to her maiden name and breathes new life in the Steigerwald region. She is working in the winery’s management and is preliminary responsible for marketing and sales. Heinrich, her father, who is meanwhile over 80 years of age but looks rather juvenile, is still the boss in every-day business; but he is happy about the additional support, and about new ideas like the sister cuvee or an event like the “Night of Grand Growths”, with which Andrea Wirsching wanted to make clear Silvaner and Riesling from top vineyards to have a very good ripening potential. A 2006 Iphöfer Kronsberg Riesling, an 2002 Julius-Echter-Berg Silvaner, and a 2006 Julius-Echter-Berg Silvaner are presenting themselves particularly delicious.
Events like this should be organized more often in order to make known the value of Grand Growths to a broad public, she said during the evening in Iphofen. But the reserves of ripe wine were not particularly large. She wanted to ensure more bottles to be withheld.
The long-term task is a different one: Together with Lena, she wants to give the renowned 75-hectare winery (founded in 1630) a good basis for the next few generations, too. The starting situation is good. The Hans Wirsching winery (named after the long-term motor of the house, who took over responsibility just over 90 years ago) is considered as very reliable address for top quality – as a result, Silvaner, Riesling, and Scheurebe, their specialty, are often served on official occasions in politics and in princely houses. Some months ago, the Netherlands ordered a “Koningswijn” on the occasion of the crowning of Willem-Alexander. Originally, an unexpensive drop should be chosen but Andrea Wirsching refused and chose a Julius-Echter-Berg Riesling, which goes down rapidly and racy. “Either something really good, or nothing at all”, was her creed. (r.knoll)