Winemaker Katharina Geißendörfer gives new life to her family’s Franconian winery. We accompanied her to the vineyard
Winemaker Katharina Geißendörfer
"Friends, are you up for an adventure?" With this sentence Katharina Geißendörfer started the development of a completely new drink, a harmonious combination of hops and wine: the Hopfensecco. "The idea of combining two traditions into one innovation came to me during a car trip through the hop fields in the Hallertau," the young winemaker recounts.
No sooner said than done: She got her brewer friends excited about the idea, and together they launched "Friendship Plus" on the market. "Of course, there is a certain ambiguity to the name," says Katharina and laughs.
"Yet there are several friendships in it, not only between hops and wine, but also between me and the Brew Dudes Würzburg, together with Albertshöfer Sternbräu."
Impulses and crazy ideas
The Hopfensecco is available in half-litre bottles, two Franconian Schoppen for two friends to share. At first glance, another breach of tradition in the land of the Bocksbeutel. But Katharina doesn't see herself as a revolutionary. "Traditions are very important to me, starting with the preservation of our family business to the honorary position of wine princess to the traditional Franconian bottle of Bocksbeutel."
"Traditions are very important to me"
Katharina's parents' winery in Buchbrunn near Kitzingen looks back on a long family history. "Our business thrives on everyone pitching in together and getting involved everywhere," says Katharina.
Even with new impulses. "Fortunately, my parents support me, even when I have crazy ideas, like the secco with hops. Of course they were quite surprised, but their motto is: the proof of the pudding is in the eating."
Community in the village
The love of wine began for Katharina as it does for many other people: "What could round off an evening with friends better than a glass of wine?" she says. "It's also the quickest way to strike up a conversation with strangers, that's what I appreciate most about our wonderful product."
But she didn't originally want to study winemaking. "As a teenager, I couldn't imagine becoming an oenologist. The long working days, being outside in wind and weather, that wasn't exactly my dream." The change of heart came during her time as wine princess of Buchbrunn from 2009 to 2011, when she once again got to know the Franconian wine country from a completely different side.
She learned to appreciate the many wine festivals in particular: "It has always impressed me how wine festivals pull the village community together," she says enthusiastically. "Everyone pitches in to make these festivals possible so that everyone can celebrate together. Mostly it's volunteers who put the festivals together."
Wine posts on Instagram
Afterwards, Katharina not only studied winemaking, but it also became important to her to share her knowledge and her enthusiasm with others. She already taught the next generation of winegrowers as a vocational school teacher and she accompanies visitors as a wine experience guest guide. "We are the ambassadors of Franconian wine who show guests our beautiful growing region."
"The important thing is that the wine tastes good!"
When she has some spare time, she posts the latest from her everyday wine life on Facebook and Instagram, if possible on a daily basis. In doing so, she also wants to help break down some people's reluctance to try wine. "In the end, it doesn't matter at all what aromas you can taste in the finish or how experts classify wines in the big wine world. It's much more important that the wine tastes good!"
In the rhythm of the seasons
As was the case generations ago, the rhythm of work on the vineyard follows the seasons. Pruning at the beginning of the year, the first bottling of the new crop and shoot reduction in spring, and foliage work in summer. But the most important season is autumn. "We work for many months towards these few weeks when you give everything," explains the winemaker.
The days then begin very early in the morning with the harvest of the first grapes, after which the family spends a lot of time in the press house and in the wine cellar. "Usually we're working late nights," says Katharina. "It's all the nicer when the effort and dedication of the year are rewarded at the end with fine wines and happy customers."
Rotling in a six-pack
In between, Katharina works on new product ideas and unusual name creations. This is how the "Rotling-Minis", rosé-coloured wines in 0.25-litre bottles for handbags or backpacks, came into being. They come in handy six-packs, perfect for sharing with friends.
Or a Riesling sparkling wine called "Kopfkino". "The fine bubbly carbonic acid from the bottle fermentation bubbles up to the head in beautiful moments and stimulates imagination and creativity in all situations in life," says Katharina. "In other words, it's like a cinema in the head!"
More about Katharina and Winzerhof Geißendörfer at winzerhof-geissendoerfer.de (only in German)
... from Katharina
Along the Main
I love water and that's why I love to walk along the Main. Whether you’re cycling along the river or at a quiet spot in the vineyards with a view of the Main, this is the best way for me to unwind.
mainradweg.com (only in German)
I can always be found at the swimming and quarry lakes. The Franconian Lake District is particularly beautiful, with the Kleine and Großer Brombachsee lakes and the Altmühlsee. Right on our doorstep, the Erlabrunn swimming lake is very popular.
fraenkisches-seenland.de (only in German)
Buchbrunn Wine Festival
As a sociable person, I go to wine festivals in the summer. My favourite, of course, is our home wine festival. Every year on the last weekend in July, we all put it on together with a lot of love, with homemade cakes and a great wine and food selection.
buchbrunn.de (only in German)
Kitzingen Promenade Wine Festival
The Kitzingen Promenade Wine Festival takes place on the Main promenade at the end of June. A highlight is the dragon boat race on Sunday during lunchtime and there is always a laser show over the Main at the end on Monday evening.
weinfest-kitzingen.de (only in German)
Culture in Würzburg
If you're in the mood for culture, there's a train every hour from Buchbrunn to Würzburg with its World Heritage Residence and Marienberg Fortress. Tip: Listen to the amusing Franconian stories of the night watchmen on their guided tours.