GERMANY (Freinsheim) - Until a few years ago, there was actually no real winery Rings in Freinsheim, because senior Willi Rings (62) mainly sold bulk wine. However, his sons Andreas (23) and Steffen (31) knew from their early childhood on that they wanted to become vintagers one day. Today, both of them are two of the most hopeful junior-producers in Rhineland-Palatinate. Thus, they are allowed to participate in the exemplary talent-search of the VDP (Verband der Prädikatsweingüter - Association of quality wine producers), which gives future VDP's the necessary ideas.
The 2 brothers experienced their "big bang" in 2006 with the second German red wine prize of the magazine Vinum for their St. Lauren and another top prize for their Cuvée. The two years after this were quite calm, however they progressed the restructuring of their family business. Steffen, who has been part of the business since 2000 remembers: "My father first had to change his mindset and realize that you have to collect grapes in order to improve the quality of a wine. Today, the process of thinning out grapes is totally normal for him. He does not ask any questions anymore now." The vineyards grew pretty quickly to 18 hectares from the original 10 hectares. Since the news about the quality of the Rings-wines spread pretty quickly, particularly the trade with restaurants went very well.
Both brothers had a very solid education. Steffen made his apprenticeship in the family business ("The work was just so much fun"), then he proceeded to the federal winery in Neustadt and finally completed his wine-technician degree in Bad Kreuznach. This is where the younger brother, who made his apprenticeship at the Rhinehesse top business Wagner-Stempel in Siefersheim, is currently studying with the same goal as his "big brother". They both work in the family cellar. Andreas Rings is responsible for the sale and marketing. The brothers have been joint owners of the winery since 2008; senior Willi was happy to pass it on.
"We are still going through a couple of changes", says Steffen. They believe that their talent lies in the red wine and recently caused another surprise after 2006: With their 2005 Cuvée "Das Kreuz - the cross" (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, St. Laurent and Cabernet franc) they were the winners of the category Cuvées at the 2009 red wine prize; with two other Cuvées the even managed to get among the 15 best wines. Their next goal is to be one of the best producers in the category pinot noir. And then there is the Riesling, for which the brothers proved their talent with their 2008 wines from the Kallstadter Saumagen and the Freinsheim Winterhalt, and which could be ready for a "Großes Gewächs" (first class site). "We pay attention to the plantation character and fully go without ratings", explains Steffen Rings. In terms of price, both Riesling wines are already on the level of the top wines (17 to 15 euro), however worth the money. (r.knoll)