Behind the famous name …

The name of our wine estate goes back to the marriage of our grandparents Paula Meyer and Willibald Näkel in 1950. They cultivated an area of just 1.5 hectares, yet were able to make a name for themselves because Willibald’s production of dry red wines represented thoroughly pioneering work at the time.

During the post-War years – and for some decades afterwards – German wine was simply always sweet. This also applied, most significantly, to red wine, which may seem hard to understand today, but it matched the tastes of the time. What’s more, it helped to mask often inadequate ripeness.

Our grandfather had the idea of going against the grain by producing dry wines. In 1982 our father Werner then took over the estate as a self-taught newcomer – he had previously worked as a high-school teacher of physical education and math – and took our grandfather’s ideas one step further. And it’s no secret that he did so with tremendous success. With an uncompromising claim to quality, he succeeded in establishing an entirely new Pinot Noir style on the Ahr, and by the end of the 1980s Werner was already considered one of the most important vintners in Germany.

We grew very naturally into our roles in the family wine estate. The question never arose of whether we wanted to do anything but produce wines.

Meike Näkel,


… there are now two sisters

Together with our mother Claudia, he gradually expanded our wine estate to its current size, and also got involved in numerous other initiatives and projects. Alongside all this he ensured very early on that his two daughters – that’s us, Meike and Dörte – could follow in his mighty footsteps.

Thus we both initially completed training as vintners, then went on to study for a degree in wine cultivation in Geisenheim before gradually taking over the operation of the wine estate. Now our father gives us an entirely free rein – but is always there with advice and assistance when we need him. The generational handover could not have gone more smoothly.

In our own way, we are now proceeding with precisely that which always was – and is – so important to our father: making the magnificent terroir of our steep slopes by the Ahr tangible in our mineral-laden and fruity wines. This requires a great deal of care in the vineyard as well as reduced yields, which are harvested by hand and carefully selected. This is only possible with the help of a truly committed team. The work in the cellar then focuses exclusively on preserving this high level of quality through a gentle working method.

It would be boring if we always shared the same opinion. However, we do always agree on a joint solution, and that means that when we do, it has been thought through from two different perspectives.

Dörte Näkel,