Outstanding Vinotheks Details
Weingut am Stein
Outstanding Vinothek in Franken
It is a brilliant view that awaits guests at the Weingut am Stein. The view sweeps down into the valley towards Würzburg, a cluster of monasteries, churches and architectural history. Behind the vinothek, one of the city's most famous vineyards, the Würzburger Stein, rises up. The ensemble of winery, vinothek and guest house blend into this picture. "The architecture shouldn't be a distraction," says Ludwig Knoll, owner of Weingut am Stein.
That is because the vineyards come first for Knoll. This is where the grapes for his premium quality wines grow. Silvaner, Burgunder (Pinot) and Riesling are the main varieties. Ludwig and his wife Sandra Knoll cultivate the vineyards biodynamically. Synthetic pesticides have no place here. Instead, the focus is on circular economy, healthy soil and a lot of manual labor. This philosophy is also reflected in the winery. Together with local architects, the vinothek, a guest house and a wine press house were planned and built in 2005. "Purity, clear dimensions and the materials selected play an important role," says Ludwig Knoll.
The vinothek is in the form of a geometric cube, with wooden slats stretched vertically in front of its glass facade, creating different effects depending on the light and point of view. "If you look at the winery from Würzburg, the slats are lined up like the rows of vines in the background and blend into the vineyard," says Knoll.
Wood plays a role not only in the varying appearance of the structure but also in wine production, reminiscent of the family's heritage of cooperage and barrel vinification. Concrete is the third guiding element of the vinothek. The stairs, gallery, shelves and counter are all designed with a similar exposed concrete surface evocative of a purist sculpture. In fact, as pure as Ludwig Knoll's wines are.
"The vinothek is only part of the architecture," says Knoll. The guest house is located next to it and equally speaks of its surrounds. The facade is made of shell limestone, one of the defining elements of the soils and wines of the winery, and is sourced from a quarry south of Würzburg. In 2015, the winery was expanded to include a new stone cellar where the wine is made in concrete eggs and amphorae. Above, there is no concrete ceiling to block the view, rather openness and glass windows.
"Modern construction methods often segregate and demarcate," says Knoll. "Yet here in the stone cellar, earthly and cosmic forces come together." Despite all the allusions to viticulture, the architectural ensemble never appears forced. It creates references to the philosophy of viticulture and bears the signature of the Knoll family. The jury concluded that: " The claim made by Sandra and Ludwig Knoll to produce first-class wines from renowned locations is realized in the outstanding quality of their vinothek building."