The Growers > Weingut Bernhart
Bernhart Schweigen-Rechtenbach (Pfalz)
Size 17 hectares (of which 11 hectares in France)
Production: 110,000 bottles
Grape varieties: Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Chardonnay
Gerd Bernhart left home for seven years to learn how to make wine. When he returned in 1996 his older brother was firmly ensconced in the cellar, and his father looked after the vineyards. There did not appear to be a role for him. Then fortune struck: his brother married into a wine estate in Baden, and left the field clear. Weingut Bernhart has since gone from strength to strength, making brilliant Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc. Like his colleague Johannes Jülg, most of the vineyards are in France, the best ones for Pinot on marl and limestone soils. They are farmed organically, and harvested by hand. 10-20% whole bunches are used during fermentation, and the best wines are matured in barriques for 16-18 months, with a higher proportion of new barrels as they move up the quality scale.