Vintner Stories Detailpage
From Mining to Wining
When people hear the word mining, they tend to think about dust, heavy machines and dirty covered surfaces — not about tender vines. Unless you're my father. Back in 1997 he saw something no one else in Europe did. He wanted to cultivate wine in the former lignite open pit mine in Geiseltal — at a time when remediation was just getting started and the waste heap still resembled the surface of the moon. He could see past all that, identifying the hidden potential in this unusual site: southern exposure, 30% incline and a forest to protect the northern side from cold air. There was a newly created lake at the bottom to reflect the sun, store up warmth by day and then release it back into the slope at night — an ideal winegrowing site.
Three years later, my father put his plans into action — using techniques developed specially for the project, help from universities and above all else his belief in that site on Lake Geiseltal. To great success! Our vineyards have graced us with exclusive wines of unmistakable quality. In 2008 we even won a prize for Most Innovative Vineyard. Today I am responsible for the estate and its roughly 3.6 hectares under vine. And when I sit with a glass of wine in our estate's outdoor wine restaurant and look out over the lake, a dusty open pit mine is really the last thing I think of.
Lars Reifert / Heike Puhlfürß