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September 30, 2010

A Day at VDP Estate von Buhl - Part one

Founded in 1849, Reichsrat von Buhl is one of the prestigious estates of the Pfalz. Together with Bürklin-Wolf and Bassermann-Jordan, it is often referred to as one of the 'big Bs', all found in any famous and not-so-famous wine guide. The estate is today owned by the entrepreneur Achim Niederberger and it is run by an operating company, which in its turn is owned by a Japanese investor and by Stefan Weber, director of the estate, and Christoph Graf, sales manager.

Von Buhl has about 65 ha under vines, of which many are growing on top sites in Forst and Deidesheim. Famous vineyard names like Kirchenstück, Ungeheuer and Pechstein were already in the 19th century known by wine connoiseurs - not only in Germany. I will explain more about the sites (called Lagen in German) with future postings...

Today, it is about the harvest fest of last Saturday: We met at the estate at 10.00 a.m., where we were greeted by Christoph Graf and team. Together we walked up to the vineyard (Lage) Kieselberg. Here we were harvesting the grapes of 8 rows of vines.
Equipped with a bucket and grape harvest shears, we got a short introduction of how to and which grapes to take and which not. Some grapes show beginnings of boytritis and as today's harvest will go into the production of a dry wine, those grapes need to be excluded.
Werner Sebastian, responsible for the estate's vineyards and viticultural management, was explaining all we wanted to know. His passion and love for his work is infectious and it was fun to meet a person so happy for and with his job! He has been in the business for 40 years and works since 2004 with von Buhl. And it was under his guidance that the biodynamical standards of today were implemented and successfully certificated.
When our buckets were full, we simply shoutet 'Trauben!' (grapes), then somebody came to empty them and to give us new empty buckets. Within a couple of hours only the leaves were left on the vines, and the grapes were transported to the winery to meet their destiny: the press.
What we picked that day, was Riesling and the refractometer showed 88° Oechsle. In accordance to the Prädikatswein-system (the German wine system, where wines are classified by must weight), this could give a Spätlese wine. But as the VDP has changed their system by going back to express the origin of the grapes (soils, vineyard sites, terroir), (more about this later) this wine will result in a 'Deidesheimer Kieselberg Riesling trocken'. Telling you exactly where it comes from and that it is a dry wine. Smart! (And if you happen to catch a bottle of 2010, you know, I had my shears in there.)

After the work was done, we were served a nice, warm potato soup with apple cake. Yum! And to avoid dehydration: a Riesling trocken.

Read my next post about the rest of the day, with vineyard walk, wine tastings and cellar tour.... 


  1. Thanks for sharing that, Heike - really interesting to hear and see more from von Buhl. Looking forward to part 2!
    Torsten / The Wine Rambler

  2. Thank you, Torsten. I am glad you like it. Unfortunately, I am very slow with my entries, because of all the other things to do connected to our move/house building... But I hope to be able to post some more of nice wineries of the area! Buhl Part two is coming very soon. Cheers.

  3. I totally like those pictures. Especially the one with the 2009 Riesling on it.
    I love this wine!

  4. Thanks Steve! Me too, I like that wine too. :-) And I just love their Riesling Brut Sekt (sparkling wine).............