GERMANY (Hammelburg) – The wine location of Hammelburg is occasionally called “Franconian Siberia” becaus it’s located quite in the north of Bavaria. It’s just there where the owner of an advertising agency together with her husband, an architect, is about to establish a wine estate.
Viticulture literally fell into Kathrin C. Baier-Buttler’s lap. Or by wedding Stefan Buttler, a successful architect who has already won several prizes from Hammelburg, who has his office in Wurtzburg but whose family has already had to do with viticulture. His parents produced some wine, his brother-in-law owns a small vineyard. And Mr. Buttler himself is a wine fan who together with friends has already travelled important regions as well overseas.
The sporty former federal league volleyball player (47) grew up in the neighborhood of Kathrin (37), who is today his wife, and the two families knew each other. But the couple met rather accidentally in Bad Kissingen. At that time, Kathrin used to have her office in Kassel. They wedded and moved in together, she tells laughingly, because he was caught speeding too often while driving to Kassel and worried to lose his driver’s license...
The couple was fully stretched by their professions, the more so as besides her kcb agency and his architectural office, they bought a tree nursery in 2005 and they had to care for a meadow with scattered fruit trees for spirits. But as Kathrin mutated to a wine fan the idea arose to establish something on that field. When they had the occasion to take over two hectares planted with silvaner from the former director of the Hammelburg Municipal Wine Estate, they bought it on the spur of the moment. This was the basis for the “Weinwerk” (literally “wine works”) wine estate and the first wine which came to market with the 2011 vintage. A suitable name affix was contributed by Charlemagne with the year 777. This is the year to which a document dates back which evidences the emperor then to transfer vineyards located in Hammelburg to the Fulda St. Bonifatius monastery. So Hammelburg is justifiably called Franconian‘s oldest wine town.
The first vintage comprised 2,000 bottles. This is a result that the couple couldn’t really be satisfied. The wine from Hammelburger Heroldsberg, a steep slope, got quite green. So the following year, they asked chummy vintners from the neighborhood to support them professionally; this contributed for the 2012 silvaner’s becoming complex, forceful, and spicy. The 2013 “777” silvaner is a worthy successor with a fine spicy aroma, elegant facets in taste, and a long finish – a prototype of Franconian’s main sort of grape. “My husband alone harvested 1.1 tons of grapes from the vineyard. And I wasn’t lazy, either”, Kathrin, the young vintner, proudly tells. “We are aiming at producing a originally Franconian, characteristic, honest silvaner, always vinified dry.” This aim has been reached. The price of 7.90 euro is also adequate.
For the near future, they are planning to establish a wine shop in the region Hammelburg, their residence, as a drop-in center for the growing “Weinwerk” fan community. It is to organize events like “wine and asparagus”, “picknick in the vineyard”, it offers special packages like “silvaner with blaue zipfel” (typically Franconan saussages) and “sauerkraut with silvaner” (especially for the end of the year because a Franconian superstition says that cabbage has to be served so as to prevent oneself from running out of money during the next year).
Furthermore, Kathrin C. Baier-Buttler and Stefan Buttler are already looking forward to the 2014 vintage, from which on the portfolio is noticeably being extended by chardonnay and pinot noir (you can reserve bottles per subscription already now). The vineyards for the two sorts of grape could be purchased or leased cheaply from part-time vintners in the area of Hammelburg. So they meanwhile own nine hectares of vineyards. Due to the expansion, the winery will no longer be able to be run as a part-time business. The future mom of three will then probably have to reduce her work in her agency. But she has visibly fun with wine marketing including caring about the “Weinwerk” wine club, which has already grown to three dozen of persons. (rudolf.knoll)