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Taking Liberty's

Published:  23 July, 2008

Liberty Wines bags German agency

Liberty Wines has been appointed exclusive UK agent for Schloss Vollrads, the historic Rheingau estate - its first German agency. Established as a wine-producing estate in the 13th century, Schloss Vollrads' 50ha are all planted with Riesling. It was with the Matuschka-Greiffenclau family until 1997 when ownership passed to the Nassauische Sparkasse, a local bank. Three consultants were appointed to run the property while the bank prepared it for sale. The consultants told the bank that they had an opportunity to return the estate to its former position as one of the world's most famed wine producers. In July 1999, Dr Rowald Hepp, one of the consultants, was appointed managing director of Schloss Vollrads. He implemented a new philosophy which included: (a)a drastic reduction in yields, by shorter pruning and by crop thinning; (b)more manual work in the vineyard; and (c)a harvest date set by the winemaker, who is looking for ripeness and flavour, rather than the vineyard manager, who prefers to avoid risks inherent in waiting for ripeness. This new approach resulted in the estate producing a Trockenbeerenauslese in 1999 for the first time since 1976.