Every month, ‘Whose Wine is it Anyway?’ profiles a German winemaker to give you a behind-the-vines look at the world of German wine. This month we’re focusing on the winemakers behind Weingut Karlo Dillmann, brothers Marcel and Marius Dillmann. From Germany’s Rheingau region, Marcel and Marius represent the next generation of German vintners who are eagerly reinventing German winemaking. Together, the second-generation wine growers are introducing sustainable measures into their vineyards, modernizing the estate’s wine house, and rebranding Dillmann wines with their edginess.
Whose *Wine* is it Anyway? Meet Marcel & Marius Dillmann
Meet Marcel and Marius Dillmann
Estate: Weingut Karlo Dillmann
Focus: Riesling (70%); Pinot Noir (15%); Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Merlot, Muskateller (15%)
Karlo and Anette Dillmann founded Weingut Karlo Dillmann in 1980, when they purchased their first plot in Geisenheim Mönchspfad. For over two decades, the winery was Karlo’s side hustle, while he continued to work full-time as a police commissioner, patrolling the Rhine River on a police boat. In 2007, the couple purchased a winery in Rothenberg, which was fully equipped with the latest cellar technology and offered a chic bar.
It was only in 2014 that Karlo, Anette, and their sons, Marcel and Marius, joined forces to work at the winery full-time as a family. Marcel graduated from the Technical School for Viticulture and Oenology and founded the Startup Winery Service, which offered management services for vineyards, before committing to managing the family’s vineyards. Marius, who graduated with a Masters degree in Sports Science, is the mastermind behind the winery’s sales, marketing, and creative endeavors. He is also an established DJ in the region and goes by the name DJ Dillmannski. Through the merge of his two passions – wine and music – he founded Weinbeats, a wine tasting that often turns into quite the party. Meanwhile, founder Karlo is often on the tractor, when he is not busy taking care of the estate’s finances. Anette is the event expert and is also responsible for bookkeeping.
Marcel and Marius’ have both joined Generation Riesling, an organization for forward-thinking German winemakers under 35 that promotes collaboration and innovation within Germany’s wine industry. Marcel and Marius’ contribution has been to produce high-quality and dynamic wines that leave us craving more!
Located in Geisenheim, the Dillmann’s 9.5-hectare estate lies between Schloss Johannisberg and the Niederwald monument, overlooking the Rhine Valley. The family cultivates a total of seven vineyards between the towns of Aussmannshausen to Winkel. Each has a distinct soil profile, which contributes to differing wine characteristics:
- Rüdesheimer Berg Rottland: Harmonious wines with high maturity and nuanced acidity.
- Rüdesheimer Magdalenenkreuz: Dominant, sustainable and fruity wines.
- Geisenheimer Rothenberg: Wines with bold fruity and racy acidity.
- Geisenheimer Kläusweg: Full-bodied wines with larger volumes per hectare.
- Geisenheim Wall: Voluminous wines with an elegant spicy note.
- Winekeler Hasensprung: Accessible and elegant wines.
- Winkel Jesuit Garden: Mostly sweet Riesling wines.
The Dillmanns cultivate mostly Riesling (70%) and Pinot Noir (15%). Other varieties include Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Merlot, and Muskateller (ie Muscat Blanc à Petit Grains). Almost 70% of the wines are vinified dry, while 20% are off-dry, and 10% are sweet. Along with still wines, Weingut Karlo DIllmann also produces sparkling wines. As cellar master, Marcel ensures that the vines are carefully tended to deliver everything that nature has to offer. His viticultural practices eschew herbicides, fertilizing vines with compost and maintaining an abundance of cover crops between the vines to maintain a healthy ecosystem.
Marcel harvests the vines selectively, with gentle grape processing, in order to guarantee excellent wine quality consistently. After the harvest, white wines are fermented in stainless steel tanks or wooden or oak barrels, while red wines are aged strictly in wooden and oak barrels. Many of the wines lie on the lees to allow for more complex aromas to develop. Additionally, all wines are vegan, as no animal byproducts are used in their vinification. Resulting wines are harmonious and reflect the Rheingau’s multi-faceted terroir.
“Our wines are supposed to create real moments of happiness. We put a lot of enthusiasm and passion into the work around our winery every day. Always with the aim of getting top quality from each of our wines.”
Disclaimer: Dillmann wines are unfortunately not currently available in the USA. We encourage you to add visiting the Rheingau to your future travel destinations, where perhaps you’ll catch Marius turning tables at a trendy club!
Stay tuned for next month’s winemaker spotlight! Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook at @GermanWineUSA and subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date on all things German Wine in the U.S.