Sold Out on the Spot

The Kaiserbaum Hammel-Hundinger winery in the Palatinate region was named ‘Germany's best winery’ at MUNDUS VINI 2023. Karin Eymael meets winemaker Gerald Hundinger and marketing manager Jürgen Armbruster to discover what happened next.

Reading time: 3m 30s

Left: Jürgen Armbruster, right: Gerald Hundinger (Photo: Karin Eymael)
Left: Jürgen Armbruster, right: Gerald Hundinger (Photo: Karin Eymael)

Meininger’s: Your winery was named "Best Winery in Germany" at the last MUNDUS VINI Summer Tasting. What has happened since then?

Hundinger: A whole lot! Wine sales grew by a good 50 percent within a year. In particular, we saw an increase of 80 percent in sales to private customers. We were able to triple the proportion that we sell to export markets and open new markets. The award naturally helps us a lot in communicating with potential new customers.

Armbruster: It was the press in particular that drew the attention of private customers to us. Customers from all over Germany came to us in Gerolsheim to buy the award-winning wines. The interest was immense! The same applies to the restaurant trade, whose share has doubled since then. The award has attracted the attention of restaurateurs from all over Germany who were looking for new names for their lists.
 

Meininger’s: How did existing customers react to the award?

Hundinger: They were naturally pleased for us and felt that it provided confirmation of their wisdom in choosing our wines. After all, they had already made a conscious decision to do so at an earlier point in time. Our trade and restaurant customers have also actively incorporated the award into their communication with their customers.
 

Meininger’s: Can you cover the additional demand?

Armbruster: Not always. There are wines that are sold out as soon as they are bottled. Then we have to turn down orders.
 

Meininger’s: What is so special about your wines?

Hundinger: Our vineyards are located in various places in different locations around Gerolsheim, Weisenheim am Sand and Herxheim am Berg. Thanks to the different types of soil, we can cover a wide range. This makes our offer interesting. We have planted our grape varieties to suit the soil: Gerolsheim has rather warm, light soils, some of which have a gravel content. These soils are very suitable for red wine. In Weisenheim, we have a certain amount of chalk in the soil. Here we planted Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay. Herxheim is perfect for Riesling, although we also have a top Riesling site in Weisenheim, the Goldberg.

Our aim is to make the different soils ‘tasteable’. With the whites, I want to bring out fine fruit and a certain minerality. The wines should be harmonious and balanced. Here I have adopted the philosophy of Hans-Günther Schwarz [former operations manager of Müller-Catoir] where I did my apprenticeship. For our reds, the harmonious and subtle use of wood is very important – but for whites, wood is not my thing.

Armbruster: The quality of our wines is already visible in the vineyard. Since 2016, we have been a recognized partner of the Rhineland-Palatinate Nature Conservation Agency.
 

Meininger’s: Who actually came up with the idea of submitting wines to MUNDUS VINI?

Armbruster: That was me. When I came to the winery about a year ago, I quickly realized how great Gerald Hundinger's wines are. But I also realized that not everyone was aware of that yet – especially since Gerolsheim is not on the radar as a wine-producing town. I then thought about how to change that and decided to enter the wines in the MUNDUS VINI Summer Tasting. The aim was to know exactly where we stood in comparison with the other wines.
 

Meininger’s: How did you choose the wines you submitted?

Armbruster: I wanted to submit ten wines and selected eight from the cellar. At Gerald Hundinger’s request I then added two sweet wines. And then came the result...
 

Meininger's: What was the result?

Armbruster: The two sweet wines received a Grand Gold and another six were awarded Gold. That was amazing! Based on the overall ratings, we were then named ‘Germany's best winery’.

Kaiserbaum Hammel-Hundinger
Kaiserbaum Hammel-Hundinger

Meininger's:, Did you expect this kind of success?

Hundinger: No, not at all. I know Great Gold and Gold awards are not given lightly. When the news of the results arrived, I was very surprised, and naturally delighted!

Armbruster: What I particularly like about MUNDUS VINI is that you can play the whole gamut – white wines, red wines and sweet wines. This allowed us to show the full spectrum of our expertise. That's what made us successful.
 

Meininger’s: What happened immediately after the award?

Armbruster: First of all, the press approached us and reported on us. And then, of course, we used the award in our own promotional efforts – we had banners and flags made and organized an exclusive event. The award-winning wines sold out at an incredible speed. It was unbelievable! The other wines also benefited and were sold along with them. The success continues to this day – also because we communicate this very actively on social media.

Insights

And here is a contribution to the debate from Lorenzo Biscontin, consultant, author and founder of Vinophila Wine Expo. 

Reading time: 2m 15s

 

 

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