The wine-world is watching closely, as the results from the autumn auctions in the German winegrowing regions become known. These auction prices offer a clear indication of which estates head the elite, which winemakers number among the rising stars, and which vineyard sites are ‘hot’.

Kupfergrube TBA 1921

In this sense, the highest standing belongs to Gut Hermannsberg. The former Royal Prussian Wine Domain brought a wine to the auction that not only presented wine collectors with a highly desirable prospect, but historians as well: a Trockenbeerenauslese from the vineyard Kupfergrube, harvested in the magnificent 1921 vintage. And on top of that, it was the last bottle in the estate’s cellar.

Bidding for this bottle opened at a figure of 350 Euros, and the unique bottle ultimately found a new owner for an all-in price of 14,992 Euros. Estate GM and winemaker Karsten Peter could barely contain himself: ‘That is an unbelievably high price, even for a one-of-a-kind item’. And this comes from the man who last year set a record price with his 2015 TBA…  Gut Hermannsberg has now become a double record-holder – for a young wine as well as for a matured vintage.

Riesling as a worldwide trend

Mr. Peter makes his point without hesitation: ‘Developments at the latest auctions clearly demonstrate that German Riesling has now achieved a very high level of esteem worldwide’. Markus Molitor, for example, fetched a price of 1,250 Euros for a dry Auslese from Bernkasteler Doctor (Mosel), while Philipp Wittmann obtained a price of 350 Euros for his 2017er old vines Riesling from the vineyard La Borne in Rheinhessen. Klaus Peter Keller received 950 Euros for his dry Pettenthal Riesling GG, and Emrich-Schönleber (Nahe) auctioned off no fewer than 302 magnum bottles of their Riesling GG Auf der Ley for 287 Euros apiece.

The successor vintage to 1921?

Even as the auction hammers were falling Mosel and the Nahe, winegrowers were picking their first pre-selection of grapes from the vineyards under summery skies. ‘The great heat and arid conditions in the summer have driven the ripening of grapes forward quite remarkably, explains Karsten Peter. ‘This can definitely be compared with the 1921 vintage’.

We shall see in the coming years if the wines also fetch record-setting prices… But one thing can be said for sure already: 2018 is an exceptional vintage, without any doubt. Growers will begin harvesting their top sites in a few days. Karsten Peter feels very positive: ‘A little bit of rain two nights ago, and the temperature plummeted to nearly 0°C – these are ideal conditions for the onset of botrytis. With a bit of luck we will be able to harvest wines that also easily offer ninety years of aging potential.’


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