With a passion for organic winemaking and an award-winning new wine cellar, one of the oldest wineries in the Kaiserstuhl is setting new standards for local wine experiences
Last year, with international travel still tricky for various reasons, I finally managed to visit some of the German wine regions and wineries that I’ve never really explored as thoroughly I always had loved to. And finally swapping the wine destinations in other parts of the world for those in my own country, really was a revelation.
Not that I was not aware how beautiful rural Germany can be, or how many excellent wineries can be found in the 13 official wine regions. I’ve also been aware about the changes that had happened in the German wine industry. Especially the opening of so many tasting rooms (locally referred to as Vinothek) at the local wineries and sometimes in towns and cities throughout the country, adding sophisticated wine tasting experiences to the list of activities for visitors.
Yet I have to confess, while I continued to add new places to visit to my travel wish list, I’ve not really taken advantage of those destinations being so close to tick them of.
In case you read my recent post The Drink Trends Of 2023 You Will Want To Explore, you will know one of the predictions I made was the return (and possibly growth) of wine tourism.
If you are among those wine lovers keen to increase your wine knowledge by visiting the regions of your favourite wines, or travel to those yet unknown to you, I can only recommend to put the German wine country on your list too. And perhaps, take advantage of the areas still less well known by international visitors to enjoy the experience without the crowds.
Introducing Weingut Abril
Situated in the picturesque Kaiserstuhl, the southwestern-most corner of Germany’s Baden wine region, Weingut Abril is looking back at more than 270 years of winemaking. Which makes it one of the oldest wineries in the area. This would normally suggest you will find the winery sitting in one of the so typical small German wine towns, and most likely still occupying the historic site of the winery.
What you will find instead, is a stunning modern wine cellar nestled in the rolling hills of the vineyard area at the edge of the small town of Bischoffingen am Enselberg. Though the brownish-red building strongly contrasts with the green vines, it naturally blends into the surrounding landscape.
Completed in 2012, the building is among the around 250 German wineries awarded with the ‘wine architecture award’. Build into the hillside, large parts of the cellar are hidden underground. What’s visible of the building looks like a giant cube featuring a façade made of Corten steel. Inspired by archaeological finds of pottery shards with typical band patterns made during the construction of the building, the façade was adorned with a dividing band that wraps around the building like a barrel hoop.
Inside, it’s all functional and clean design. Yet the small tasting area flooded with light through the large windows invites to settle down for a lovely wine tasting. Or head to the beautiful terrace overlooking the nearby vineyards. The tasting room is open for visitors from Monday to Friday, 1.30pm to 5pm for flights of wine and some snacks.
Winemaking at Weingut Abril
Benefitting from the warm and sunny local climate and unique local soils, Abril winery is focused on burgundy grapes. Around 85% of the 25 hectares under vines are planted to this variety, including white and red grapes. Other grape varieties include blue Sylvaner, Riesling, Chardonnay, Müller Thurgau, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
In the cellar as well as in the vineyards, all work is carried out according to the strict rules of ecological and controlled viticulture. Sustainable management of the vineyards calls for renunciation of all chemical and synthetic substances. Instead, legumes and herb seeds serve as organic and mineral fertilizers. Infestation of grapes with pests and diseases are prevented through strictly ecological measures. Meanwhile, the modern cellar is built to take advantage of gravity, largely eliminating the usage of pumps.
As for the wines themselves, there are four distinctive categories of wines made at Abril winery.
Wines made under the ‘Fruit’ category are white wines fermented and matured in stainless steel tanks. Expansion in stainless steel allows these wines to develop an aromatic fruity expression and individual character.
The ‘Stone’ category stands for wines with high minerality. The wines are matured in wooden oak barrels which come from the southern Baden region and created to reflect typical aromas of the local soil.
Adorned with a black label, the ‘Time’ category represents the winery’s high-quality wines. Carefully matured in barrique barrels, grapes for these wines come from selected vineyard areas and are given particular attention.
Abril winery also makes several sparkling wines, all made according to the traditional (Champagne) method.
Final thoughts visiting Weingut Abril
Weingut Abril undoubtedly is one of those German wineries combining a longstanding winemaking experience with a modern, organic approach in the vineyards and cellar to create modern-style wines with a strong expression of the local terroir.
Those wines alone are definitely worth a visit (though also available via the web shop). However, combine that with the stunning architecture and on-site wine tasting enjoying the stunning views of the surrounding vineyards in the modern Vinothek or the sunny terrace where you will be looked after by friendly, knowledgeable staff.
And if you are yet looking for more reasons to visit, there is actually a long list why visiting the Kaiserstuhl is a great idea, from the areas nearly Mediterranean climate to the breathtakingly beautiful landscape, small historic towns and a local cuisine characterized influences from both the Baden region as well as the nearby French Alsace along with several award-winning local wineries.