Ahr, Germany

Jean Stodden

Jean Stodden Alexander Stodden, Rotweingut Jean Stodden // Photo: Marco Rothburst

The Stodden family have been growing wine in the Ahr Valley since 1578. Their stated ethos has always been that of ‘doing everything in harmony with nature to produce the best possible wines’. Grown above the village of Rech and in other outstanding locations, their Pinots Noirs are simply world-class.

After stints abroad in South Africa and Oregon, Geisenheim graduate Alexander Stodden joined the family business in 2001 and then co-managed it with his father from 2011. Following his father’s death in 2013, Alexander took over full control at the winery, which calls itself ‘das Rotweingut’, the red-wine estate. Pinot Noir is where Alexander’s heart lies. None of the new vines that he has ever planted have been anything other than Pinot. 

Great wine – made in the vineyard

Starting with pruning, the Stoddens work towards achieving quality not quantity. If their vines have too much fruit, they will do a ‘green harvest’ in summer to remove unripe bunches and ensure that the remaining clusters produce a wine with enough stuffing and extract. Picking and stringent grape selection by hand are standard procedure. Alexander also likes to destem the fruit. His Pinot Noir ferments for up to 24 days before spending time in oak. 

Rebuilding after the flood disaster

July 2021 saw devastating floods in the Ahr Valley. The winery was badly affected. Alexander lost all of his 165 oak barrels as well as two hectares of vineyard, and much of the 2020 vintage. Luckily, the Herrenberg, Rosenthal, Sonnenberg, Mönchberg, Hardtberg and Kräuterberg ‘Grosse Lagen’ (grands crus) remained unscathed. The Stodden family quickly vowed to carry on and restore everything back to its former glory. It was thanks to a huge effort from all concerned that they were able to bring the 2021 harvest into the winery.

“I want to make the best possible wines in harmony with nature.”

Alexander Stodden