Region: Rheinhessen, Germany
Vinification: Direct press then fermented in stainless steel
Aging: 6 months in stainless
Fining or Filtering: Gentle filtering, unfined
Sulfur: Minimal added
Notes from the Importer: Katharina’s approach to wine is unique. She grew up in a grape-growing environment and observed her parents’ stress during each year’s challenge, which was mostly crop losses to unfavorable weather. The Wechsler’s main source of income was producing for the bulk wine market, but in an effort to offset the unpredictability of grape growing they also cultivated grains and vegetables to better ensure annual income. The objective in grape growing was to achieve a certain sugar level (Prädikat) in order to sell for higher prices. Wine consumption was absent in the family’s daily life, and Katharina and her other siblings had little interest in continuing the family business that had begun in the eighteenth century.
After finishing high school, Katharina was off to Paris for a year to study French Literature and work as an au pair to earn her keep. She moved back to Stuttgart to study Social and Political Sciences, and in 2006 she moved to Berlin for her first job working at a German television station as a Junior Editor. However, after many weekly phone calls with her mother, she started to feel the pull to return home and help continue her family’s multi-generational, humble and ever-humbling business.
With Berlin in her rearview mirror, she was headed home. Upon her return she met with a lot of young winemakers and began to understand the difference in lifestyle between bulk wine grape growers and growers who bottled their own wines. The latter, often in a passionate pursuit of excellence, always had a greater interaction with the outside world. She began to see a meditative life of work with her hands and her mind in the vineyards and the cellar balanced with cultural experiences by way of world travel, food, wine, and access to everything from every corner of the globe—a privileged life connected to the rest of the world from her small village of Westhofen! Everything began to click; the dreamer’s dream was alive! A romantic life in agriculture could be achieved! But first things first…
2009 was to be her first season and she attended winemaking school in Oppenheim at the same time. Prior to acquiring her degree in 2012, she worked harvests for Weingut Gutzler in 2010, and the following year for Germany’s rarely disputed dry Riesling king in the next village, Klaus-Peter Keller. They share many of the same vineyard plots, particularly inside the extraordinary Kirchspiel and Morstein crus. Katharina explains that Keller taught her about finesse in limestone-driven white wines, and the importance of trinkfreude, the “joy to drink.”
Little by little, Katharina found her footing. She’s inspired by the racy, high-acid style of Keller, but her wines speak more softly and with a slower burn. One of Riesling’s many exceptional qualities is its ability to remain deeply complex while expressing a magnificent multitude of faces. Dry Riesling can be thunder and lightning with intense, multi-colored sunsets and sunrises, like Keller’s masterpieces. Katharina’s, by contrast, delivers contemplation under a fresh moonlit countryside with the shimmering orange glow of lights on the horizon and the flicker of white fire of the night’s stars above.