The winery is located in the municipality of Bönnigheim (Württembergisch Unterland area) between Stromberg and Heuchelberg in the German wine-growing region of Württemberg. The family, steeped in tradition, has been growing grapes since 1510. Ernst Dautel resigned from the local winegrowers' cooperative in the mid-1970s (an affront, as his father was a founding member). As early as the mid-1980s, he began barrique ageing, which was unusual at the time, planted new grape varieties such as Chardonnay, produced exclusively dry wines and dealt with high-quality red wine cuvées. He is thus considered a pioneer in German viticulture.
In the meantime, the direction in the cellar and in the vineyards has passed to the next generation. His son Christian studied viticulture and oenology in Geisenheim and Bordeaux. He also gained experience through numerous internships in South Africa, the USA, Australia, Austria and France. His teachers included the Austrian expert in biodynamic viticulture, Franz Weninger, and one of the world's best Chardonnay producers, Domaine des Comtes Lafon in Meursault. He has been working in the winery together with his father since 2010 and has meanwhile taken over the business in the 21st family generation.
The vineyards cover around 13 hectares of vineyards in the single vineyard sites Sonnenberg with the two Gewannen or VDP.Grossen Lagen Schupen and Steingrüben (Bönnigheim), Forstberg (Oberstenfeld), Michaelsberg (Cleebronn), and Wurmberg (Besigheim). Half of them are planted with the red wine varieties Lemberger (Blaufränkisch), Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Trollinger (Schiava Grossa), as well as the white varieties Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc. The vineyards are consistently cultivated in a near-natural way with natural, organic fertilisation and integrated farming cover crop The vineyards are cultivated using natural, organic fertilisers and the integrated use of beneficial insects to control pests in order to promote biodiversity and stabilise the ecosystem.
Only ripe and healthy grapes reach the cellar through multiple selective hand harvesting. In accordance with the VDP classification model, the wide range of products is divided into the levels Grosse Lage and Erste Lage (golden capsule), Ortsweine (black capsule) and Gutsweine (white capsule). The dry wines from the Great Sites Michaelsberg, Schupen, Steingrüben and Forstberg are called Grosse Gewächse. The high-quality white wines are fermented spontaneously and stored on the lees for up to one year. The red wines are aged exclusively in 300-litre barriques for up to 24 months, with special attention paid to the sensitive use of new barrels. The winery is a member of the VDP (Association of German Prädikat Wine Estates), as well as the associations Deutsches Barrique-Forum and Generation Riesling.