Friedrich Kiefer Estate – wine: a hobby, a profession, and a passion

Friedrich Kiefer Estate – wine: a hobby, a profession, and a passion
Friedrich Kiefer Estate – wine: a hobby, a profession, and a passion

The vineyard could also be called Schmidt because, since 2008, it has been owned by Martin and Helen Schmidt. But why change a good tradition? What ultimately matters are the wines, and the name Kiefer has stood for their excellent quality for more than 160 years.


There was a time when people did not think much of wines from the Baden area. It was said that these wines could not be transported over long distances. Gustav König and Friedrich Grafahrend, the sons-in-law of Fritz Kiefer, whose father founded the vineyard in 1851, were annoyed by that. The two of them had taken over the business in 1930 and had an idea: They should prove how well the wines can survive over long distances. In for a penny, in for a pound. They sent two boxes of Kaiserstuhl wine around the world by ship. The boxes crossed the equator twice; back then, ships did not have any air-conditioned storage areas. In April 1930, experts in Berlin tested the far-travelled wines. The result: The wines were superb, and the testers ecstatic.

Unconventional ideas and the persistence to implement them are typical for many winegrowers in the Kaiserstuhl area. Obviously, however, the Kiefer families lacked the right degree of interest. In 1990, the offspring of Gustav König left the company; Lutz Grafahrend continued the company on his own. When his children, however, were also more interested in other things, the question of succession became important. Fortunately, there was the young estate manager Martin Schmidt, who had been working for the vineyard since 2003. He was from a vineyard, which was also situated in Eichstetten, and decided to take over the Kiefer vineyard, which is how the era of the Schmidt family started in 2008.

Image removed.The historic vineyard is now managed by a young, very dynamic team with an average age of early 30s. Martin Schmidt and his wife Helen, a certified ecotrophologist, manage 15 hectares, but also purchase grapes from another 92 hectares and are therefore operating one of the largest private vineyards in Germany. Annual production amounts to 935,000 bottles. Pinot Noir has the main share in the list of varieties with one-third; but white Burgundy varieties, Riesling, Muscatel, Gewürztraminer and socalled PiWis – fungus-resistant, very sturdy new grape varieties – are also cultivated. The names of the wine lines give an impression of the innovative spirit that characterizes the vineyard and its team around the Schmidt family. There is “Young Poets“ (four uncomplicated cuvées with names such as “Moving with the Clouds”), “Cheeky Kaiserstuhl Wine” (wines with a light residual sweetness) and, in the group of “classics”, the “Bolids“with “Three Star” (First Class Lufthansa passengers were able to sample this spontaneously fermented 2009 Pinot Gris, which is aged in barriques), “Real Gem” (Pinot Noir Auslese) as well as “Innovation” (Barrique production in the international style).

Another innovative product is the PURE made from organic grapes. The special feature of the Pinot Noir is that it is not sulphuretted. Having switched to the Stelvin capsules in 2003, the Schmidts are considered pioneers in this regard. In 2011, the company invested in a “Bag-in-Box” (BiB) filling plant, and within one year, sold 10,000 3-litre BiBs. The company was also able to win a new, young clientele. Accordingly, the vineyard is very visible in the new social media. Martin and Helen Schmidt are passionate winemakers, who consider their profession their hobby and pursue it with a passion. The wines show it. The Kiefer wines are elegant, clearly variety-based, and stimulating as well as contemporary in the best meaning of the word. They appeal to many, but do not follow trends. They can be found on the menus of many top restaurants, where they continue to prove their suitability as meal accompaniments.

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Anyone who offers wines for young consumers who love to enjoy themselves, can also make a wine for his own, young wife. When Helen Schmidt returned from a vacation in Austria and had particularly enjoyed a Styrian Sauvignon Blanc (the Grassnitzberg wine made by Tement), Martin Schmidt and his cellar master Markus Weisshaar thought about whether such a crisp wine could not also be made with their own grapes. He wanted to surprise his wife in the form of a liquid bouquet. The plan was made and was successful. Unfortunately, Helen Schmidt could not enjoy the wine that had been made especially for her because she was pregnant – no alcohol allowed! The wine must now wait a little while, but the wine portfolio was enhanced by one more exciting wine: Innovation Sauvignon Blanc, grown on soils rich in lime and Aeolian silt deposits on a volcanicunderground in the Eichstetter Herrenbuck area.



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Weingut Friedrich Kiefer

Inhaber: Martin und Helen Schmidt
Kellermeister: Markus Weishaar
Vertriebsleitung: Alexander Ultes
Bötzinger Straße 13
79356 Eichstetten

Tel.: +49 7663 1063



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