The winery is located in the municipality of Castell (Steigerwald area), already mentioned in 816, in the German wine-growing region of Franconia. The Castell family is one of the oldest noble families in Germany. The Castell-Castell and Castell-Rüdenhausen lines were elevated to the rank of princes in 1901. Viticulture was practiced by the Castell's at least already in the 13th century. The wine was mentioned in a document by Count Rupert II in 1224 and the most important sites in 1266. Today the Castell company is owned by Ferdinand Graf zu Castell-Castell, it is divided into three main areas: the Princely Castell's Bank (founded in 1774, oldest bank in Bavaria), the Princely Castell's Forest Department and the Princely Castell's Domain Office. Since 2016 the winery has been managed by Björn Probst. Christian Frieß and Reinhard Firnbach are responsible as cellar masters.
The vineyards cover 70 hectares of vineyards in the Castell single vineyards Bausch, Hohnart, Kirchberg, Kugelspiel, Reitsteig, Schlossberg and Trautberg, most of which are in exclusive ownership. In addition, the contract winegrowers of the Castell'sche Erzeugergemeinschaft deliver grapes from a total of 30 hectares according to agreed quality standards. The main grape variety with about 40% of the vineyard area is the Silvaner, which determines the Franconian wine region. By the way, this grape was first planted in Germany in 1659 in the Castell Schlossberg. Furthermore, the white wine varieties Müller-Thurgau (20%), Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Bacchus, Scheurebe, Kerner and Rieslaner, as well as the red wine varieties Pinot Noir, Domina and Blauer Portugieser are cultivated.
Many wines undergo spontaneous fermentation. The Grosse Gewächse are aged for 18 months and the Erste Lage for 9 months in large wooden barrels on the fine yeast and are bottled just before being marketed. The wines are produced according to the VDP classification model in the lines Grosse Lage, Erste Lage, local wines and estate wines as well as varietal wines&cuvées. The wines from the purchased grapes are marketed under the Castell-Castell line. The flagships of the house are "Schlossberg Silvaner" and "Schlossberg Riesling". In years with suitable weather conditions, Trockenbeerenauslese and Eiswein are also produced. Around 450,000 bottles of wine are produced annually. There are also many noble brandies (made from yeast, marc, plums, quinces and grapes), as well as bottle-fermented sparkling wines, sparkling wines under the name "FRÆNZI" and vinegars. The Castell winery is a member of the VDP (Association of German Prädikat Wineries) and the Die Güter grouping (nine top German wineries from nine different growing regions).
Picture: © German Wine Institute GmbH (DWI)