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'I don’t want to do more than we do now. This works for us; we’re not some beast of a company. Instead of being a commercial director, I’d rather be a farmer.'
Lucas Rieffel is the third-generation winemaker in the family of the estate, located in Mittlebergheim, Alsace. His grandfather Julien (whose birth certificate is the front label of many wines) started to sell his first bottle of Sylvaner in 1946 taking care of a mixed farmed at the time. Lucas’ dad André took the lead in 1971 to expand the domain in both quality and quantity and turned especially to the wine production.
In 1996, it was Lucas’ turn to take over the family estate and continued his dad’s journey. After working with Andre Ostertag and seeing a different approach, Lucas slowly changed a few things over the years; hard-working and discreet, taking his time, and reflecting greatly with every new change. The changes in both the cellar and vineyards brought about organic certification in 2009. This, along with the addition of new single site vineyards to the family holdings, resulted in a major jump in quality.
Introducing new vessels, focusing on large old oak barrels, and long aging on the lees, as well as extending the press cycle – placing focus on this important transformation phase for the grapes - and playing with bottle closures in order to reduce the amount of sulphur added at bottling, all play an immense role in the shifting the paradigm that Lucas is aiming to achieve.
Only three people work at the winery for the 10ha estate, one of which has been there for over 40 years. He is the soul of the business, having worked back with Lucas’ grandfather. This estate is a great representation of community; of how knowledge is being passed on from 3 generations and how the status quo keeps being challenged.