Johannes Kolonko

Johannes Kolonko
Baden, Germany

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Johannes learned to make wine in Tuscany, a region which also produces grappa in both quantity and quality. In his free time, he realised he was fascinated with the distilleries of northern Italy and the spirits they were producing. 

The foundation, though, was in wine, and in 2017 Johannes settled in the Markgräflerland region south of Freiburg, Germany, where he had completed the final part of his wine training six years earlier. 

This was where he felt at home and proceeded to teach himself the art of fruit distillation - leasing an old meadow orchard below Staufen castle in 2018 and, shortly after, converting a nearby farmhouse into a distillery. 

Fast-forward to today and Johannes is one of the finest self-taught distillation masters we’ve met, with a unique style that combines a desire for perfection with a fearless approach to experimentation.

Johannes strives to capture the aroma of high quality fruit. He participates in the harvest, and he decides when to pick from the tree or to let the fruit fall naturally to the ground. Fruit is processed only when it has reached its optimal ripeness and is then fermented using its own natural yeasts.

No pumps, no filters, and no additives are used during the production. No fertilizers or sprays are used on the fruit. And when the yields fall low? Johannes buys fruit from other, organic Demeter orchards where he is sure to participate in the harvest himself. 

The fruit mash is processed using an old copper still, which was refurbished specially for the Kolonko distillery. Each step of the journey - from tree to bottle - is given the utmost care. The distillates are stored in small glass balloons before being diluted with the purest spring water, resulting in a range of Obstbrand that we are absolutely delighted to represent.

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