Frederike Schmidt & Daniel Kurrle
Stuttgart-Uhlbach, Württemberg, Germany
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Daniel and Frederike farm 3ha in Uhlbach, a small, peaceful valley to the east of Stuttgart. The project began in 2020 when the young couple decided to leave the local cooperative and, two years later, they are a fully independent winery making approximately 5000 bottles of natural wine per hectare.
The intention is to make wines not to impress, but to express. Combining simple techniques with highly intuitive farming, Daniel and Frederike employ a hands off approach (and one very old tractor) and let the wine speak for itself. They use natural sprays and stone powders, slowly weaning the vines off the chemical input of previous years - a process which requires patience, as radical change would most likely lead to collapse.
In Daniel’s words: ‘biodiversity is our most powerful workmate’. Healthy soils and strong plants (weeds included) play a fundamental part in the balanced ecosystem which they strive to support.
Some words from Frederike and Daniel:
We farm gently and easy … We don’t want to destroy the insect and plant communities in our vineyards by heavy machines, tillage, deadly chemicals and fertilizers. Healthy soils and strong plants are more important for us than “stylish and clean” vineyards. We try to establish a balanced vineyard-ecosystem. When nature is pushing in summer, when it comes to harvest in fall, it wouldn’t work without the great help of our family and friends
Our packaging is naked and reduced to the essentials like our wines. It is designed to have a small ecological footprint. Light bottles, fsc-certified paper, bio-based binding agents for labels, corks and tapes.
Our winemaking is low-tech and highly instinctive. We harvest the grapes by hand, we’re mashing the whole-bunch grapes in vats by feet, we press the grapes gentle and slow with an old press. The wines ferment on their indigenous mother yeasts and age exclusively in old oak barrels. Our 1546-build vaulted cellar is a calm and sheltering home for our wines and barrels. After 12 to 18 months in oak barrels (225l–500l) the wines are filled into bottles by gravity. In exceptional cases of need we add tiny amounts of sulfur to the mash before fermentation or to the wine before filling (10–20mg/l). Except of that we’ll never add anything to our wines but grapes and love.