Weingut Gutzler and Estate's History
The Gutzler Estate is located in the wine-producing community of Gundheim in the hilly southern part of Rheinhessen. Run today by Gerhard Gutzler and his son Michael, the winery has been in family ownership for generations, originally producing a variety of agricultural products including wine.
When senior vintner Gerhard Gutzler picked up the business from his father in 1985, he dedicated his passion solely to the vineyards and the wine, also adding a small champagne manufacturing facility, where sparkling wine is fermented according to the traditional method developed in the Champagne region of France.
With the landmark 2005 vintage, Weingut Gutzler was formally inducted into the VDP (association of the best estates in Germany). Today, Gerhard and his son Michael tend to 13.4 hectares of premium wine real estate, producing approximately 110,000 bottles a year.
Additionally, the estate has a distillery and has recently built a state-of-the-art French barrique cellar, which is used for aging exceptional reds. The Gutzler Estate is considered among the best red wine producers in Germany and Pinot Noir is their focus. Gerhard has also been awarded the German Red Wine Award, a prestigious national prize for red wine maker of the year.
It is a little known fact that the Germans are actually the world’s 3rd largest producer of Pinot Noir, a grape that has been cultivated for well over 1000 years in Germany. The original rootstock was brought to Germany by Charlemagne. A true love for the wines of Burgundy in France has led the estate to adapt techniques that emulate the top production methods used in Burgundy and the wines reflect this in their quality.
The Winemaker's Philosophy
According to Gerhard Gutzler, “a great wine is created in the vineyard and not in the cellar.” He places immense care into directing the growth of the grapes while they are still on the vine, which emphasizes the natural qualities of the grape.
Gerhard Gutzler became a master of viticulture at the tender age of 20, but only began to “really make wine” when he turned 24. His motto is to “do it different and do it better than anyone else” and this includes developing innovative methods for growing grapes and making wine. To him, crafting particularly fine wines is the only thing that matters.
Under Gerhard's guidance, his son Michael recently began taking over the winery and has built a tremendous reputation as one of the top young winemakers among the VDP in Germany. Michael was recognized by Handelsblatt (the Financial Times of Germany) among the best young winemakers in Germany.
Michael is also a founding member of Message in a Bottle, a group of the top forward-thinking vintners from Rheinhessen. The organization has a quality-minded focus to develop the best wines possible, hence, the “message is in the bottle.”
The Rheinhessen Wine Region & the Estate's Production Methods
Rheinhessen is known for its sloped rolling hills, sandy clay Burgundy type soils, and a wide array of grape varieties. It is also the largest producing Anbaugebiet (1 of 13 recognized regions) with one in four bottles of wine produced in Germany coming from Rheinhessen. However, only a very small percentage of production reaches the quality level that is cultivated at Weingut Gutzler.
The estate currently produces Riesling (33%), Pinot Noir (33%), Pinot Blanc & Pinot Gris (17% combined), Silvaner (7%), as well as Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Dornfelder.
With the exception of its dessert wines, the Gutzler Estate is particularly well known for its dry wines. Whites are typically fermented in stainless steel or oak barrels, while reds ferment in the traditional wood and barrique barrels, where they are stored for up to 4 years soaking up the aroma and tannins of the oak.
Michael has also implemented a focus on utilizing less new oak to allow for more transparency and depth of flavors coming from the specific microclimate of the wines. This imparts beautifully balanced notes and allows the fruit, acid and minerality to shine through.
The Gutzler Estate is considered one of Germany’s best estates and is listed in both Gault Millau and Eichelmann wine guides as a producer of superior quality wines. The winery is also a member of the German Barrique Forum (Deutsches Barrique Forum). Gerhard and Michael’s wines are considered rising stars in German viticulture and continue to receive prizes in competitions across Germany.