The winery "St. Urbans-Hof Oekonomierat Nic. Weis" is located in the municipality of Leiwen (Bernkastel area) in the German wine-growing region of Mosel. It was founded in 1947 by Oekonomierat Nicolaus Weis (1905-1971) and named after Saint Urban (Pope Urban I), the patron saint of winegrowers. Nicolaus Weis founded a vine school at the same time. The business was taken over by son Hermann Weis in the 1960s. He went to Canada in the early 1970s and planted Riesling vines there on a large area named St. Urban Vineyard. Later, this became the Vineland Estates winery. Today, the winery is run by Nik(olaus) Weis, the third generation of the family to do so. Nik(olaus) Weis learned the winemaking trade in the USA and at Vineland Estates in Canada, among other places. He joined his parents' winery in 1997 after completing his studies in Geisenheim and, together with his father, carried out a number of quality improvement measures. Kai Hausen and Rudi Hoffmann are responsible for the cellar, Hermann Jostock for the vineyards. The claim to vinify wines of the highest quality with an independent profile and Moselle character is clearly defined in a 10-point philosophy. The winery's own term "wine genesis" was created for the complex process of creation.
The vineyards cover 45 hectares of vines in the single vineyard sites Bockstein (Ockfen), Goldtröpfchen (Piesport), Laurentiuslay (Leiwen), Blattenberg in cadastral location Layet (Mehring), Saarfeilser Marienberg (Schoden) and Schlangengraben (Wiltingen). They are planted exclusively with the Riesling variety, which is cultivated in the traditional manner single-pole training with a planting density of 7,000 to 10,000 vines per hectare. The environmentally friendly and sustainable cultivation of the vineyards, as well as the production and sale of the wines, is carried out according to the certified rules of the Fair'n Green association. This includes, among other things, fertilisation with only farmyard manure and other organic humus, and a complete renunciation of herbicides. Great importance is attached to intensive foliage care with the aim of providing the grapes with a good supply of light. The grapes from the "Grand Cru sites" Bockstein, Goldtröpfchen, Layet, Laurentiuslay and Saarfeilser are marketed as Grosse Gewächse and Prädikat wines, those from the other sites as local wines.
After a short crushing, the grapes are left to rest for a while before the pressing process begins in order to fully develop the aromas and minerals and incorporate them into the musts. In principle, fermentation takes place spontaneously without the use of pure yeasts. The wines are then aged for several months on the fine lees, mainly in wooden barrels with a volume of 1,000 litres, but also partly in stainless steel tanks. Then they are bottled in the dark mallet bottle with the typical black and gold St. Urbans-Hof label. A white label represents dry to maximum off-dry wines, a black label fruity to noble sweet wines. The estate's premium wines include WILTINGER Alte Reben, BOCKSTEIN Kabinett and LAURENTIUSLAY Großes Gewächs. The winery is a member of the VDP (Association of German Prädikat Wine Estates).
Picture: Credits Peter Kunz