Peter Wagner bottled his first wines from half a hectare in 2016, and in a short time has become one of the hottest growers in Baden, exporting all over the world – we were lucky to get in before demand completely outstripped supply. His eight hectares of vineyards lie in the heart of the volcanic soils of the Kaiserstuhl, many in GG sites, and with plantings mainly of Pinot Noir he produces pure, finely crafted wines that are appealing young but promise a long life.
Peter is the fifth generation to run his family estate. He came with considerable experience. An apprenticeship at a nearby estate and studies in Geisenheim were followed by stints in Sonoma and New Zealand, culminating in six years as the winemaker at the famous Franz Keller estate, a large operation of over forty hectares, which he left in 2017.
Helped by his father and his brother Lothar, a former Audi engineer, Peter converted to organic viticulture two years ago, and will become biodynamic from next year. Rather like their neighbour Holger Koch twenty years ago, they have embarked on an extensive replanting program to replace German clones with Burgundian ones.
His winemaking is minimalist, designed to maximise elegance and purity rather than extract power. A short pre-fermentation maceration is followed by a fermentation with wild yeasts. There is no punching down, only gentle pressing, very little new oak, long lees contact and no fining or filtration. The results are breathtaking.