Weingut Hans Lang has been considered one of the best addresses for Rheingau Riesling wines for decades. Since 2014, Urban Kaufmann and his partner, Eva Raps, have been the names behind this brand.
Urban Kaufmann and Eva Raps
For years, Swiss entrepreneur Urban Kaufmann traveled through some of Europe’s best wine regions in search of the ideal place where he could realize his dream of owning a wine estate. During his search, he met with Eva Raps, the longtime managing director of the VDP, who brought him to Hans Lang in the Rheingau. After 40 years as a passionate winemaker, the experienced Rheingau vintner was looking for a successor with the right instinct to carry on his life’s work. And thus, a remarkable project came into being: an excellent portfolio of vineyards, the search for something new, a soaring fantasy, and a craftsman’s brilliance go hand in hand with the long-standing values of the Rheingau.
About Weingut Hans Lang
This house has always had holdings in top Rheingau vineyard sites. They are the basis for everything that is produced in the estate’s cellar. “Our sites are the focal point of our future work,” says Urban Kaufmann, who took over the estate with Eva Raps in 2014. “For me, being able to produce Riesling wines in the heart of the Rheingau is a dream come true,” admits the novice vintner. He was previously the managing director of one of Appenzell’s most renowned cheese dairies. Apart from being congenial culinary partners, wine and cheese have much in common as the site-specific aromas and flavors of their terroirs unfold during development. “Whether it’s a perfect Appenzeller or a perfect Wisselbrunnen Grosses Gewächs, both require the same degree of hard work and ambition.”
A feeling for Riesling and Pinot
Kaufmann’s partner, Eva Raps, is no stranger to the German wine scene. For many years, she was the managing director of the Verband Deutscher Prädikatsweingüter (VDP, or Association of German Prädikat Wine Estates), a position she pursued with great commitment. As for her new job she says: “For me, it’s wonderful to finally be able to implement the quality philosophy of the VDP at a wine estate of my own. Fortunately, we have just the right sites in our portfolio to do so.”
While the new Hattenheim team are devotees of the Rheingau’s classic grape, Riesling, they are also Pinot enthusiasts: Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris, and especially Pinot Noir, the variety with which the estate has attracted considerable attention in Germany for over twenty years.
The decision to run a wine estate meant a change in careers for Urban Kaufmann and Eva Raps and an opportunity to implement their ideas. Yet, both appreciate the importance of continuity, not least to maintain the estate’s traditional principles and high standards. Therefore, Hans Lang will provide advice and support to help the newcomers successfully make the transition. Uniting his invaluable experience as a cellar master with the impetus of the new owners ensures that this family-operated estate will continue to produce top-notch, handcrafted wines.
Hans Lang has always been open to new ideas, be it the production of dry Rieslings, his pioneer work in the German Barrique Forum or his uncompromising pursuit of quality. By the early 1990s, he had already banished mash pumps from his cellar and had reverted to labor-intensive harvesting by hand to continually improve wine quality.
Long a proponent of ecologically friendly viticulture, Hans Lang has consistently strived to come even closer to nature by cultivating his grapes organically in recent years. Today, the estate numbers among the few members in the Rheingau branch of EcoVin. “Already we can clearly see a refinement in our wines, but we’re certain that this is only the beginning,” says Eva Raps. “The benefits of organic viticulture will become even more apparent in the future. We’ll definitely be able to further improve the aromatic finesse of the wines from Wisselbrunnen, which is doubtlessly our finest site in Hattenheim.
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