Weingut Messmer, in the Pfalz region, was founded by Herbert and Elizabeth Messmer in 1960. It’s situated in Burrweiler, in the south-west of Germany, less than 50 miles from the border with France and to the north-west of Stuttgart. The yellow sandstone buildings had already been home to winemaking for around 250 years before they arrived.
It’s still in the family’s hands today, with son Martin overseeing the estate alongside his brother Gregor, who supervises production in the vineyard and winery. Their vineyards cover 27 hectares, with around two-thirds of the area planted with white varieties (predominantly Riesling, Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc) and the rest with red varieties (Pinot Noir in the main).
The terroir is made up of seven different soil types: slate, red sandstone, granite, limestone, loam, sand and ‘muschelkalk’ - a calcareous soil with substantial deposits of fossilised mussel shells. Gregor works to preserve the health and mineral content of the soils - they use only organic fertilisers, and in 2011 they began the biodynamic cultivation of some sites. In the winery fermentations are cool, slow and small batch; grapes are only ever partially de-stemmed; and wines are bottled without fining and with only the gentlest filtration.
They aim to be fully Biodynamic by 2022