Jean Ginglinger | A biodynamically adept Alsatian

Jean Ginglinger really has the vines in his veins. He took over his father’s domain in 1999, though his family has been making wine since 1610! A real pionner when it comes to organics and biodynamics, Jean is always seeking to enrich his soil and produce wines of higher and higher quality.

Jean Ginglinger’s family has been in wine making since 1610. He took over the domain from his father Jean-Louis on the 1st January 1999, marking a new era for himself and the property. Through his studies and his work placements, he discovered an interest in biodynamics and organics, defined y him quite simply as ‘vine homeopathy’. This is how the domain became somewhat of a pioneer in the movement, beginning to follow biodynamics in 1997, even before the domain belonged to Jean. Both of these wine makers emphasise how the methods they use reinforce the vitality of the soil and the vines, thus improving the end result in their wines. The work carried out here has to be precise in terms of the treatments used, using mixtures of rock powder, cow-horn manure, and plants such as horsetail, nettles and comfrey. This list of concoctions is quite the living encyclopedia!

These organic and agricultural interests have always been a family affair, since this has always been a space for the growers to listen to the plants, open to experiment when this could be beneficial to the soil. Jean carried on in this vein to organic and then biodynamic conversion, and was delighted in 2003 to craft his first natural cuvée (a wine made without added sulphur). Since 2012, all the wine made here is natural.

The property currently has 5.5 hectares of vines, with a rich range of different terroirs: some are chalky, some sandstone, and others limestone. Located in Pfaffenheim to the south of Colmar, a third of the domain’s vines are classed under the Steinhert grand cru, where the land is steepest. The term ‘Steinhert’ means stone, and the wine makers in this area have to choose their rootstock carefully for those that best resist the dryness of this ground. Jean Ginglinger grows a variety of grapes on this prestigious grand cru, most notably Gewurztraminer, Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris, always with the aim of expanding his range and making each vintage better than the last.

Horses work in the fields, and in the winery, the vinifications are all natural. This means there is minimal intervention and no sulphur is added. Jean’s range is a rich one, including sparkling wine, reds, whites, even orange wines – the variety of Alsace summed up by one wine maker! His wines are recognised for their finesse and their freshness. Most of them have great ageing potential, which means they can be given time to fully express themselves.

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