GERMANY (Botenheim) – Geisenheim alumnus Florian Frank and his wife Manuela, a Master of Business Administration, have many neighbors competing with them. Here, south of Heilbronn, there are not only some big, ambitious cooperatives at work, but also a series of renowned self-employed vintners. But step by step wein & gut frank is attracting attention…
Botenheim is a village in the Zabergäu region, for the description of which the word “sleepy” suggests itself indeed. In 1971, when the village became part of the Brackenheim municipality, he had just under 1,000 inhabitants, as matters stand, today, their number is just over 300. And if it were not for the renowned Adler hotel and restaurant as vitalizing element, Botenheim would probably be totally unknown. However, since a few years ago, there is a second interesting destination for gourmets – the wine estate of the married couple Florian and Manuela Frank.
Even when you are looking through the brochures and flyers as well as when you read the inventive name wein & gut frank, you notice the veritable concept behind the company. The person responsible for this is Manuela Frank, born in 1978 in Mainz, who worked for the Nestlé group in the area of distribution/marketing until 2009. There she acquired the expert know-how which she is using today for the winery. “I’m the expert for all the trappings”, the mother of two (their sons’ names are Valentin and Hannes) describes her job.
Florian Frank, born in 1979 in Heilbronn, finished his apprenticeship as a vintner in 2001. He did this training at formative wineries in the Remstal – Aldinger, Fellbach, and Ellwanger, Winterbach. After that, he studied viticulture and enology at Geisenheim, which for a Swabian is somewhat unusual, following the motto “every Wurttemberger can go to Weinsberg, I’m doing something different.” When, in 2006, he graduated from university, he asked himself what to do now. His parents were running a mixture out of a winery and a farm, which included ten hectares of vines. They produced small amounts of wine themselves as “home wine” for grandpa. Otherwise the grapes were delivered to the Cleebronn cooperative, which then paid badly (meanwhile it belongs to Germany’s best cooperatives, and most of its members are pleased). In 2008, the newly-wed couple decided: We’ll found a veritable wine estate!
Today, the company still has two strings to its bow but it includes over 30 hectares of vineyards. The large part of the harvest is sold to houses like Storz wine cellar, Cleebronn, and the Schlosskellerei Affaltrach (Affaltrach castle wine cellar). They keep no more than 20 percent of the grapes to produce their own wine with. Of course, the portion is to increase long-term. They slowly acquire new customers, who can be convinced by good qualities, by participating in little events (like the vintage presentation on May 5th) and fairs.
Whoever tastes the Frank wines, tastes the good training. He is as courageous as to allow all red wines to ferment longer on the mash, and he bottles the higher qualities unfiltered. The white wines remain long on the fine yeast. So gewuerztraminer and pinot gris show much complexity, the down-to-earth trollinger is very hearty in the end. Lemberger and merlot are allowed to ripen longer, and so does a full-bodied combination out of two vintages of acolon (2011 and 2012), which they call “Herzensruhe” (rest for the heart). You can fast get to like Brut Natur sparkling wine, a harmonious, spicy blanc de noirs out of pinot meunier. (rudolf.knoll)