For centuries, passing down through I don’t know how many generations, the Kuntz family, my family, has been living in Lieser, a town one bend upriver from Bernkastel in the heart of the Mosel valley, tending the Lieser vineyards and making wine there. Yet my ancestors were also deeply involved in other vital activities of the wine business. They made casks and barrels, oversaw the filtration and bottling of wines for other wine growers, and they also acted as wine merchants. I spent a good deal of my childhood working in the vineyards. A little too much time perhaps...? That’s what I really felt at times, and so it probably didn’t come as a surprise that when it came to choosing a place to study I settled as far away from the vineyards as possible, in Wuppertal, a town about forty miles north of Cologne.
Actually, it only seemed that I had left the vines behind for, ironically, in 1981, to help finance my studies in business administration, I opened a wine shop. It was a natural choice. I started by selling wines from my parents’ vineyards, but soon I had to buy Riesling wines from other producers to meet the growing demand. But that didn’t quite solve the problem, either. My standards for what qualified as a good wine had either become too high or the quality of the wine I was buying had much diminished. I had a real problem. So I took heart and said to myself: I can do better than this!
And that’s how I started making wines of my own.
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