The Karl Petgen winery, located directly on the Luxembourg-French border, is the oldest recorded winery in Saarland. Today you cultivate 20 ha on the Schlossberg and Römerberg. How did you come to choose viticulture - when it's such hard work? Was it already clear to you as a child that you would take over the business in the ninth generation?
You either love viticulture or you don't. I always knew that there was nothing else for me - even though, of course, I understood what work was in store for me. That's exactly how my son feels today. For him, it's already clear: he's going to be a winemaker and nothing else.
Your family is considered a pioneer in Saarland viticulture. Auxerrois, Gewürztraminer and Chardonnay were first cultivated in Saarland by your ancestors. Are you also thinking of planting new vines?
I am doing my own thing in many areas. But when it comes to wine, I remain true to our traditional requirments. Our winery is focused on classic grape varieties. We do not produce fashionable, fast-moving wine trends. We cultivate the stylish, characterful wine culture. In other words, wines that have developed here and have actually been at home in our region for a long time.
Tradition plays a big role in viticulture and for you in particular. Which memory of your grandfathers stays with you?
The love of wine and the love of detail. Wine take its time. A quick business with wine is out of the question for us. Quality instead of quantity - we have always followed this principle.
As we all know, quality begins in the vineyard. What criteria is important for you to decide whether a grape is "ripe for picking", i.e. can be harvested?
That is quite simple. I don't need any technical aids to analyse my grapes. I can see and taste whether a grape is ripe for picking. That's why I'm out in the vineyard every day.
Enjoying wine has a lot to do with special moments. Do you find time for such moments - and enjoy a wine in style and in peace? If so, what's your favourite?
Of course, I also take time for my wine in this respect. It goes without saying that it is part of a good meal and a relaxed end to the day. That's when our best wine, the Pinot Gris, is opened.
In 2015, you were certified by FAIR'N GREEN for sustainable, natural and environmentally friendly viticulture. Why was that important to you?
Sustainability and the conscious use of resources have always been important to us. Unlike an organic seal, FAIR'N GREEN evaluates the entire process from cultivation to processing to distribution. Even the construction materials of the buildings are examined and evaluated. Here we have already done everything right before the certification and focused on the sustainably determined choice of materials. Wood, wood insulation and tiles made of porcelain are just a few of them.