WEINGUT BINZ   Rheinhessen  -  GERMANY

The Binz family can be traced back to the middle of the 19th Century with their vineyards in Nackenheim. Eberhard and Peter Binz built up the estate at that time, followed by Simon Binz, who unfortunately died at an early age. In 1959, Manfred Binz inherited the estate. A new house and premises were built in 1960 at the foot of the Rothenberg slope, incorporating a 200-year-old cellars, set into the red sandstone hillside. The buildings and cellars were enlarged in 1976. Today, the sons Rainer and Manfred Jr., who have both experienced extensive viticultural training, manage the estate; Rainer being responsible for the vineyards, Manfred for the cellars.

Although Nackenheim is one of the smallest wine-producing villages in Rheinhessen, it has an excellent reputation for its wines and is proud of its historical background. It was here that the author Carl Zuckmayer was born, devoting his play "der frohliche Weinberg" (the merry vineyard) to the village. Nackenheim is situated on the Rhine, neighboring to Nierstein. The Nackenheimer Rothenberg and Engelsberg as well as the Niersteiner Hipping are highly rated with their red sandstone soil, ideal for Riesling. The Schmitts-Kapellchen site consists of warm sandy loam soils, ideal for the other whites and red varietals.

Yields are kept low with strict pruning, foliage management and green harvesting 4–6 weeks before the main harvest. In former times with handpicking over a period of more than 6 weeks, it was impossible to wait for an optimum physiological ripeness. One had to start when pickers were "on hand." Nowadays, the work concentrates on negative picking before the harvest, discarding unsuitable bunches. Rainer can then pick grapes at the optimum hour with their modern and gentle harvesting machine. No leaves, stalks or broken canes find their way into the mash. The fermentation of the white varietals takes place in stainless steel. The reds are produced by traditional maceration, fermentation and malolactic fermentation, followed by maturing in old oak casks. The wines are bottled in a Bordeaux-style bottle.

Dornfelder is cultivated in both their Engelsberg and Schmitts-Kapellchen sites, which results in a cuvée with expressive, spicy berry fruit, cherry flavors, full-bodied and firm structure. This new varietal, first crossed in Germany in 1955, has large berries and loosely-packed bunches which are not prone to mold and require little spraying of fungicide. It ripens early, thus producing ripe & healthy grapes even in difficult years, and unusual for a red varietal, the juice of the berry is also red.

Manfred and Rainer focus on producing dry wines. They have simplified the label to Nackenheimer, without the single vineyard designation, the estate name and the Binz coat-of-arms. The estate is well equipped to receive visitors, especially during the summer months when their wine pub is open to the public.