When the Badische Winzerkeller asked me for the first time in 2009 whether they could use my name for one of the company's wine lines, I wasn't very interested.
Wine cooperatives do not have a good reputation in Germany.
After a few phone calls, I booked a ticket and flew to an in-person meeting. If someone keeps calling over and over again, you should at least understand what the motivation behind it is.
The meeting and the discussions were only moderately interesting. But from the moment a senior employee proudly reported that the Badische Winzerkeller was the owner of the largest vineyard area (1.700 ha) in Germany, my interest was suddenly aroused.
Since my first steps in the wine industry, every winemaker (whether unknown and small or world-famous Bordeaux wineries) has told me how important selection in the vineyard is for the quality of the wines. With one hectare, selecting the best plots is difficult, but with 1.700 hectares in all regions of the Baden wine-growing region, it should be possible to separate the best parts of each harvest.
I asked for a map of the vineyards and guessed some of Baden's best locations. When I asked if they had vineyards here, they always answered yes.
Terrific and a unique opportunity!
I rebooked my flight for the following evening and drove with the cellar master to some of the most famous vineyards in the region.
In a cooperative, the individual vineyards belong to different owners and everyone is responsible for their own smaller or larger plot. Just by looking at the vineyards, you can see who claims to produce top-quality grapes. With these comrades we discussed and agreed special conditions for the care, treatment and harvest in their vineyards. For this special work and the additional effort, the winegrowers receive a higher price when they deliver their grapes in autumn. So today we are able to always select the perfect grape quality from a large variety of the best vineyards in southern Baden. This enables the production of excellent wines even in mediocre vintages.
In the cellar, great care is also taken in the winemaking process. The grapes from different locations, harvest dates and degrees of ripeness are individually expanded in small containers. At the end, the wines are composed from the individual lots with different characteristics.
The very best qualities are vinified individually in small batches, matured in used and new barriques and later the cuvées of the respective wine are created.
Since the 2015 vintage we have been producing the Peter Steger Konzept Chardonnay, Peter Steger Konzept Pinot Noir and since 2014 the Peter Steger Konzept vintage sparkling wine.
The cooperation of cellar master and sommelier results in excellent wine qualities.