Rheinhessen, Germany

Based in Germany’s Rheinhessen region, the Schätzel family has been producing wine along the banks of the Rhine River for over 650 years. Today, the winery is overseen by Kai Schätzel, a curious and passionate winemaker determined to produce the most authentic wines from the region as possible. While working for a commercial wine agency in 2005, Kai pulled the cork on a bottle of Gunderloch Nackenheim Rothenberg Auslese Riesling and instantly became hooked on the Riesling grape variety. This game-changing moment pushed Kai to the production side of things, and he’s never looked back since.

Kai returned back to Roter Hang in the Rheinhessen in 2007 and took control of his family winery at the young age of 27. He currently farms 12 hectares of vines on the staggering, southeast-facing slopes of the Rheinhessen, which is known for its signature red shale soils. A number of Kai’s plots are located in some of the region’s top growing areas, including Hipping, Pettenthal, Ölberg, and beyond. A fervent believer in biodynamics, Kai farms all of his vines according to these principles, and all vineyard work is done by hand.

Post-harvest, all fruit enters into Weingut Schätzel’s impressive 800-year-old vaulted cellars, where they ferment with wild yeasts in large wooden barrels, and all single-site wines age sur-lie until bottling. More than one-third of Kai’s wines are bottled as kabinetts, rendering the estate one of the biggest leaders in the category in all of Germany. Schätzel wines are known for their purity, concentration, distinct minerality, and ample amounts of acidity—and thus, long-term ability to develop in complexity over time in the cellar.