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The slopes of the Munster Valley, at the edge of the Vosges Mountains, is home to the highest vineyards in the Alsace. Some of these are so utterly steep, that all work is done by hand, as nothing mechanized can operate at such gradients. It is in these slopes that the entirety of the vineyards of Domaine Schoenheitz are located. These marginal conditions, with their granitic soils, help to grow grapes that result in exceedingly pure, focused wines.


The Schoenheitz family were originally from Austria. They migrated to the Alsace in the final year of the 30 Years War, which was a destructive, denominational, war throughout central Europe, essentially signaling the end of the Holy Roman Empire, while consolidating Christian powers to oppose the bourgeoning Ottoman Empire to the south and east. Over the centuries, the family seamlessly integrated themselves into Alsatian society. The Schoenheitz family began working in wine in Wihr-au-Val in 1812. Meanwhile, the valleys and their vineyards in Wihr-Au-Val evolved, and developed a revered and sophisticated wine culture. However, the World Wars of the 20th century would lay much of the area to waste. The Nazi’s actually destroyed the entire village. Henri I, first began replanting during the 1960’s. Flash to the 1970’s, as the second World War was now a generation past, Henri Schoenheitz I, went about revitalizing the family vineyards, many of which were either derelict, or had been repurposed to other agricultural pursuits. Today, his son, Henri II and his wife Dominique, still toil in these ancient soils, as their ancestors did for over 300 years. Both Henri and Dominique are graduates in Oenology and viticulture. At the time that they began growing their own grapes, and developing their own wines, they were the only independent winemakers in Wihr-au-Val. This was 1980, and Europe was seeing a renaissance of quality wine production. Schoenheitz was already practicing sustainable, and pursuing their own style of wines that one could only call Epicurean- in the spirit of Epicurus, the Greek philosopher who advocated for the pursuit of sensual pleasures, including food and wine. This was not commodity wine. This was not to be commodity wine. This was meant to be part of an experience, or the experience itself. In 1995, Domaine Schoenheitz received its first of many awards.


Today, Henri and Dominique are joined by their son, Adrien, who will one day take over the operation. Adrien grew up on the estate, and attended school in Rouffach, also in the Alsace, to study viticulture and oenology. From there he went to work at the fabled Vieux Telegraph, in Chateauneuf-du-Pape, then interned in Switzerland with vines, and other parts of France. From there, he went south to New Zealand, and on to the iconic Torbreck winery in the Barossa Valley, South Australia. He completed his two year tenure there in 2014, and returned home to work with his parents since. This latter experience, has primed Adrien to be able to address, and indeed cope with, the inevitable effects of global warming, which has been an apparent concern through out Europe. In Alsace, they have seen a majority of warmer years throughout recent decades.


All of the vineyards are in and around the Munster Valley village of Wihr-au-Val. Many are at high altitudes between 350 and 500 meters, and south facing. At this altitude, although the days can get quite warm, the nights are very cool. This diurnal shift is ideal for the retention of natural acidity. Additionally, within this area are three important Lieux-dits: Herrenreben, Holder, and Linsenberg. These three special sites are treated with a turbo-charged version of their usual diligent practices. It is from these three sites that their top-tier wines are elaborated.


Schoenheitz employs eco-friendly practices with the aim of limiting the impact of grape growing and wine production on the environment. They hold an HVE (High Environmental Value) certification for biodiversity. In compliance, Schoenheitz plant hedges, grass strips, flowers, and trees throughout the vineyard. Attracting the right insects and small fauna the natural health and diversity of the properity is a priority. Hand harvesting is practiced, limiting any chemical treatments to an absolutely necessary status, and additionally lowering their carbon footprint when it comes to non-vineyard necessities such as selections of bottles, labels, ink for labels, and cork.


Once harvested, each parcel of grapes is sorted and then pressed individually. This is done gently to avoid shocking the grapes in any way, with the aim of maintaining natural fruit, acid, and phenolic balance. In the winery,  standardized practiced include gravity feeding of grapes into the process, pneumatic pressing for gentle juice release and the ability to whole cluster press, temperature control tanks, French barrels that are renewed every four years, and an air conditioned storage area.


Domaine Schoenheitz produces a total of 22 different wines. Among them there are a Cremant, various Rieslings and Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminers, and Pinot Noirs.




This is 100% Riesling. This is unctuous, full-bodied, Riesling. Stone fruit, honey and honeysuckle, dried apricot, lemon glaze, tart apple, petrol. Spicy Vietnamese pork and rice, Pad Thai, or go the other way with gorgonzola and cashews on a wedge of fluffy bagette.


Riesling Herrenreben


100% from the Herrenreben vineyard. The vineyard name means “the vines of the lords” as the vineyard was the property of the Lords of Ribeaupierre, during the 15th century. From granite soils offering stunning minerality, this wine is a true gem. It is powerful, yet very complex with hints of grapefruit, citrus, dried apricot, spiced honey, tart golden apples, Asian pears, and a touch of caramel. Spicy tuna rolls, spicy eel rolls, smoked mackeral, stilton, or a really stinky cheese like Saint Marcellan.


Cremant d’Alsace


This is 100% Auxerrois, from vines between 15 and 25 years old. As a Cremant, this is made in the traditional Champagne method. With around 2 grams of sugar per liter, this wine is very dry. Production of this wine is around 1250 bottles per year. It is citrusy, mineral driven, with lovely, fine bubbles, dancing on a beam of zesty acid. All of this, yet soft and pleasant around the edges. This is great as an aperitif, with salty fried calamari, or with a big of black pepper and truffle potato chips.


Pinot Gris Herrenreben


This is 100% Pinot Gris from the Herrenreben vineyard, from vines around 20 years of age.  The vineyard name means “the vines of the lords” as the vineyard was the property of the Lords of Ribeaupierre, during the 15th century. There are around 180 cases of this made annually. The soils of this vineyard are granitic, stony, and sandy, and very rich in silica. All of this adds a distinct minerality to the wine. The nose is intensely citrusy, garnished with crisp yellow apples, and hints of honeysuckle. This is a cerebral wine. It’s a good match for medium complex cheeses, chicken mousse, boudain blancs.


Pinot Noir


This is 100% Pinot noir from vines between 10 and 15 years old.  They are from a handful of specific plots, situated at altitudes around 300 meters above sea level, and south and south east facing. Total production of this wine is just over 3000 cases. This is one of those wines that suggests that Alsatian Pinots are fully capable of replacing Burgundy by the glass on a wine list.

It really leans into the peppery, red fruit. Both the nose and the palate have cherry kirsch, and hints of cherry cola. The balance of fruit and earth is idyllic, with soft tannins, and modest alcohol. The body is suitable for all of its other attributes. This is great chilled, with pan-seard salmon, charcuterie, or a pepperoni pizza with loads of basil!




This is 100% Gewurztraminer, from vines 15 to 25 years of age. Typically, this wine is extremely intense on the nose and the palate. It is very dry and full bodied. The nose and palate are replete with stone fruit, including dried apricots, white pepper, and star anise. This is immensely floral, with medium to low acid. Strong cheeses are a natural here, particularly Munster.




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