A word sometimes used about Fred Prinz is 'garagiste'. And in his case the epithet has a little more accuracy than in some instances of its use. Nip down from his flat in the village of Hallgarten and into the garage below and you will find a winery where most people might park the Mercedes.
It began while he was working, first as sales director and then as winemaker, for the state domain at Kloster Eberbach. In his spare time he farmed his own 1.5-hectare holdings close to the village and made his own wines. He quickly earned a reputation for the quality of these bottles and decided to give up the day job and work for himself. His wines and his success have vindicated that decision ever since.
He and his wife Sabine now own 6.5 hectares in three vineyards around Hallgarten - Jungfer with its quartzite soils, Schönhell underpinned by gravelly loam, and and slatey Hendelberg. Nearly 90% of his vines are riesling, though he grows a little pinot noir and sauvignon blanc too.
Low yields are facilitated by green harvesting twice a year and everything is hand-picked. After fermentation the wines are left for four months in stainless steel on the lees for further complexity before bottling.
A member of the VDP (Verband Deutscher Prädikats und Qualitätsweinguter), an association of wine estates whose aim, through voluntary adherence to strict and closely scrutinised rules, is to produce and promote some of the very best wines of Germany, Fred Prinz produces small quantities of just such wines for an eager audience.