We reveal the secret

The Riesling Cartel

A cartel in Pünderich?

This morning I set off from Zell to Pünderich.  With a tense but also somewhat queasy feeling I drive along the misty Moselle, because today I will meet with the Riesling cartel. A cartel in Pünderich!? I would like to reveal this secret!


Arriving in Pünderich, Matthias Lay from the Werner Lay winery receives me on his farm and leads me down the stairs to the wine cellar, the headquarters of the Riesling Cartel as he says, to the other members who greet me warmly. The troupe also includes Tobias Dahm from the Paulushof Wine & Housing Estate, Johannes Busch from the Clemens Busch Winery and Nico Simonis from the Simonis Winery, as well as Dominik Busch from the Robert Busch Winery and Markus Busch from the Markus Busch Winery. They are all proud Pünderich young winemakers and have grown up in the business from a young age. So it was almost inevitable that they would take over the family business after training in Geisenheim and experience abroad, for example in California, South Africa or Austria.



Germanys cooles wine 2018

The cellar is small, dark and damp - a perfect place to make joint plans in secret. Of course, the first question that comes to mind is how the six of them came to found the Riesling Cartel. In fact, Dominik tells me, the idea of organizing a joint event first arose from the winegrowers' regulars' table. At a meeting and a few glasses of wine, the group thought about what name this should go under, and since Riesling, of course, with its versatility, is not only the favorite wine of the guys, but also plays a big role in the Mosel Valley, they let it inspire them. "The later the evening, the more creative we got!", Nico reveals to me with a grin. In order to be able to advertise the planned event, the six of them met at Johannes' garage and, after a few test runs, spontaneously shot the classic convict photos, which have become the trademark of the Riesling Cartel. Only after the photo shoot they were sure of the name for the community and the event.


"Freigang" takes place every year in mid-July and of course there is plenty of good wine, music and treats. For the wine tasting on the first evening, the cartel members always invite guest winemakers as "probationers" to show the diversity of the regions. In 2018, the winning wine from the "Germany's Coolest Wines" competition, initiated by the German Wine Institute at the end of the previous year, was presented at the event. 385 proposals had been received, and an independent jury of experts selected the best 20. To publicize the vote, the troupe, with the help of Peter Friesenhahn from Pünderich, spontaneously shot a short criminally cool video without any script at all. Whereupon more than 8500 wine friends from Germany and abroad voted the cuvée of the Pünderich Riesling cartel Germany's coolest wine. This joint Riesling cuvée is special. "Everyone makes a wine in their own way in their own winery," Tobias reports and Matthias goes on to explain "Afterwards, the art is to marry the six wines together and create one that is balanced and tastes good to everyone." The result is crisp, mineral and versatile - just as a Riesling from the Mosel must be. Every year, the guys make a new batch like this, bottle it under strict specifications, and sell it not only directly through their own wineries and a wine bottle vending machine on the Moselle, but also in regional stores.


But the Pünderich Riesling Cartel is not only well known regionally. The community has already been invited twice to the crime show at the Berlinale and they were also present at a press show at the ITB. The troupe gained even more fame through a two-part short film on the theme of "Adventure Mosel", commissioned by Moselwein e.V. Trier and produced in collaboration with Daniel Roesner, known from Alarm for Cobra 11. In this film, the Riesling cartel plays an important role. So you don't have to be surprised that the guys are under close observation and are escorted to various events by the local police or taken away from there in handcuffs. Because with such forbidden good wines, you have to keep an eye on the machinations.


Two questions for the guys from the Riesling Cartel

1. Do you have a favorite place in the Zeller Land?

"Of course Pünderich, our Kartell cellar and the view from the steep slopes as well as from the Prinzenkopf tower!"

2. What else do you have planned for the future?

"We have never planned anything, but we already have a few ideas in mind!".

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