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Winery Eva Vollmer in Mainz offers unique laid-back wine-lingerings along with splendid wines and new radical ideas.
By Gisela Kirschstein
This is where the words dance along with the wines. "This spicy Asparagus-Tarzan swings hooting from palate to palate", the label of the Silvaner reads. "We just wanted a different description", Eva Vollmer says. Silvaner – often thought of as somehow stale and outdated, "we need to change that", Vollmer says resolutely. It's with words that the 35-year-old winemaker changes her environment's perception on wine – words on T-Shirts, labels, parking lot signs. And all of a sudden, wine is young, hip and an experience that radiates esprit, enjoyment and the elegance of a mild summer's night.
At the Scheurebe Night last year, where Eva Vollmer spent a whole evening celebrating the almost forgotten grape variety with a splendid gala dinner in her garden, together with 250 enchanted guests. Garden of Pleasure, Eva calls her green backyard, a 8.000 square meter big lawn with a small inbuilt vineyard on it. Her own small paradise, she calls it, the lawn offers a wide view into the landscape of Rheinhessen, typical modern windmills included.
This is the scene for her famous wine picnics where young and old, bankers from Frankfurt and everyday people from the village of Ebersheim mingle to enjoy after work-wine and a relaxed open-air hangout. "Laid-back wine-lingering", Eva calls these events – and it's precisely for these innovative wine tourism concepts that she was awarded the Best of Wine Tourism Award of the Great Wine Capitals in 2017.
It was exactly ten years ago that Eva started her winery in Mainz-Ebersheim, a rural suburb in between fields and vineyards. Her parents owned one of those classical farms that combine field fruits with a little wine making, but Eva wanted more: A new winery, young, fresh, newborn and without the burden of past wine styles and customer habits. No outmoded labels on the bottles, no conventional thinking patterns, but room for new ideas right from the start. "It was quite a bang", Eva says.
Eva Vollmer in her wine bar
The new winemaker, graduated from the wine university of Geisenheim even with a Ph.D, confidently named the winery after herself: "Winery Eva Vollmer" is one of the few that features a woman's name. The message was clear: Here was a woman who doesn't do things halfway. Consequently, the 8,5 hectare of vineyards were transformed into biological farming because "bio means quality", Eva says. The prices range between 8 and 9 Euro; in Rheinhessen that's still an elevated price.
"It was rebellious to set the prices that high", Eva concedes, yet to sell a wine for three or four Euro, "that's simply nuts", she says: "You can't build high quality winemaking on that." Rebellious – there's another word that fits in with this winemaker. Her whites are wines with radical elegance, highly mineral in taste yet fine structured with a variety of flavors. "A dashing peach holds me hostage" reads the description of the White Burgundy, "upbeat citrus flavor with a happily wagging little Peach-Tail" describes the dry Riesling.
"The words, that's me", Eva says. A lot of wineries play around with their own names or use animals on the labels, "we use individual talents here", she says. Thus, her husband, a heating and plumbing engineer, built the new wine cellar but also has experience with live cooking – and added a wine apprenticeship on top. Together, the couple built a new vinotheque right next to the terrace and called it "Kostbar", which translates to precious as well as tasting-bar.
Eva Vollmer with tee shirts
In that Bar as well as on the lawn, wine experts like Stuart Piggott celebrate the German Wine Miracle with a little help from Eva who is sure to say sentences like: No one is to be thrown from her garden of Eden because of biting into an apple or having an extra glass of wine. "It all has quite shaken up the scenery", Eva says, "the new ideas, paired with authenticity. Fully individual. Fully Eva." Says, and is off to Zurich, selling more wine along with a couple of new ideas. On the parking lot, a sign remains, saying: "Unauthorized parking vehicles are loaded with wine boxes – costs to be charged."