This site numbers among the most famous of Germany. There are numerous theories regarding the origin of the name Wisselbrunnen. Some believe it derives from the Latin “fistula,” or pipes, which could refer to the site’s “Brunnen,” or spring. Others feel it is related to “Wiesel,” or weasel, or possibly “Wiese,” or meadow.
The premium Hattenheim site lies 100 m / 328 ft above sea level, with a south-southwestern exposure that guarantees optimal absorption of solar radiation. Its light, Tertiary marl soils retain water well, thereby enabling grapes to ripen extremely well even in very dry years.
The first documented mention of the site was by Ruthard de Rotenberch some 850 years ago. The name alludes to the red color of its soil or to its location on a “Rodenberg,” a slope that had been cleared for cultivation.
Powerful Riesling wines with a fine fruitiness are the hallmarks of the site.
Rothenberg’s red, clayish loam soils lend the grapes a distinctive quality. In all, the wines have an extremely compact structure; a seemingly endless finish; and good aging potential. In addition to Riesling and Spätburgunder, the site’s favorable conditions enable us to cultivate Cabernet Sauvignon here.
Protection (in German “schützen”) lies behind the name. The little huts (“Haus”) in the midst of the vines were weather shelters for those who “protected” the vineyards prior to the harvest. Equipped with blank cartridge pistols, the “vineyard guards” were to stave off starlings...thieves with a healthy appetite for sweet, ripe grapes. The south- to southwest-facing site stretches westward from Hattenheim at an altitude increasing from 100 to 150 m/328 to 492 ft, which naturally protects it from strong easterly winds. The soils vary from alluvial deposits near the Rhine to deep loess and loess-loam, sometimes mixed with tertiary marl. Thanks to their vast water reserves, even the deep soils can provide grapes with sufficient moisture in dry years. In short: it is a site with all the prerequisites for extract-rich wines.
The site was mentioned more than 700 years ago: first, as “Via Clusen” (1292) and at the beginning of the 14th century, as “Cluserweg”. In those days, the retreat at the foot of Schloss Johannisberg was a small Benedictine convent. Rumor has it that it was dissoved in 1452 because of the women’s immoral behavior. Situated in the vineyard site Klaus, the estate, with its Renaissance building and late Gothic chapel, is still inhabited. Kläuserweg lies west of the vineyards of Schloss Johannisberg and has deep loess-loam and marly soils. The Taunus Hills shelter the south-facing site from cold northerly winds.
The site takes its name from the walls (“Mauern”) that encircle it. The south- to southeast-facing vineyards have an inclination of up to 22%. Here, in the deep, chalky loess soils of the Mäuerchen we primarily cultivate Riesling grapes, but also Spätburgunder. The wines have a pronounced fruitiness.
The Winkeler Dachsberg lies 180 m/591 ft above sea level and has benefited considerably from the climate change of recent years. Compared with its other Rheingau counterparts, its climate is relatively cool. As such, the grapes grown here yield wines with pronounced fruit and a floral acidity. The stony soils force vines to root deeply, thereby lending the resultant wines a mineral, extract-rich quality.