Weingut Fritz Josef Schwibinger

Schwibinger's farm

who? what? when? where? why? how?

who grows the grapes at Weingut Fritz Josef Schwibinger? who makes the wines?

Fritz-Josef and his wife Simone manage this small property in Nierstein. This is very much a family run estate, and you are likely to meet Fritz-Josef’s mother behind the counter at their tasting room or to be served at their communal table by Simone. Fritz-Joseph is a winemaking farmer. You may see him in the tasting room, but more often than not he is either on his tractor or in the cellar.

Apart from harvest, Fritz Joseph has no more than two people helping in the vineyard.  This speaks to his ability to get a lot of work done in a day as much as the scale of his operation, which is anything but industrial.

Schwibinger(left) with Simone

what wines do they make at Weingut Fritz Josef Schwibinger?

Like many producers in the Rheinhessen, in addition to Riesling Schwibinger’s lineup includes many members of the Pinot family, including Pinot Gris (Grauburgunder), Pinot Blanc (Weissburgunder), and Pinot Noir, (Spatburgunder).  We’ve focused on his Rieslings and his Pinot Gris as we think they offer a unique quality and price.

The Riesling “Auflangen” comes from three vineyards on the Red Slope, Oelberg, Kranzberg and Heiligenbaum.

This is exclusively offered by Candid Wines and Fritz Joseph teams up with his cousin to produce enough to satisfy the Illinois market.  We love that it offers an inexpensive, family farmed, site specific look at Riesling that can be poured by the glass without much thought.

The Pinot Gris Auslese that we often have in house is referred to as “Rulander” in the Baden in Southern Germany, and is a remarkable, age-worthy wine.

barrels in the cellar

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when did Weingut Fritz Josef Schwibinger start?

The Schwibinger family history in winemaking on the Red Slope dates back to 1699. Fritz Josef’s great grandfather built the current winery in the late 1800’s on top of an existing cellar that was carved out long before, though the family has no idea when.  For the last 300 years, the Schwibinger Family has been the exclusive provider of Communion Wine, or Messwein, to St. Killian’s Church.  As the sole provider, they are also the only winery allowed to depict the church’s steeple on their front label.

Nirestein

where is Weingut Fritz Josef Schwibinger?

The vineyards sit on the famed “Red Slope” along the Rhine river in the northern Rheinhessen. These sites have a rich top soil of varying depth of a distinctive red slate that provides a powerful yet elegant backbone to the (mostly) Rieslings that grow here. Schwibinger’s total holdings include less than 20 acres of vines.

Rheinhessen

why is Weingut Fritz Josef Schwibinger a Candid Wine?

Like many small estates in the Rheinhessen, Schwibinger’s market is almost entirely domestic. As such, it is not on the radar of many importers, and offers a tremendous value for money. We have always felt that Fritz-Josef’s strongest wines are those that have a slight touch of residual sugar and always a citrus, green apple acidity.  Every now and then, an older wine appears in Fritz-Josef’s lineup. He jokes that local customers would by next year’s vintage now if they could at the expense of two and three year old bottlings.  We think this is nuts and love to be able to offer mature and inexpensive wines for glass pours, tasting menus, and savvy retailers looking to showcase bottles that have developed their voice with time in the cellar.

Weingut Fritz Josef Schwibinger

how is the wine made at Weingut Fritz Josef Schwibinger?

Work in the vineyard and in the cellar is done almost exclusively by Fritz-Josef with occasional help from a small team. An emphasis on biodiversity in the vineyards means rows are interplanted with all sorts of native species to enrich the soil. The cellar is lined with decade’s old large wooden vats for aging and some newer stainless steel tanks for fermentation.

Wine production