The love affair between the Lorentz family and Bergheim dates back to 1836. “We live in Bergheim, we work there and we sell Bergheim” jokes Georges Lorentz, at the estate’s helm since 2005.
Generation after generation, the Lorentz family has built up a reputation in this iconic village in Haut-Rhin. They own 33 hectares of vines, all farmed organically since 2012, including 12 ha in the Altenberg de Bergheim grand cru and 1.5 ha in Kanzlerberg. “This is the smallest of Alsace’s great growths and we own half of it”.
Georges Lorentz does not just make his own wines, he also vinifies most of the grapes grown in the village, thus perpetuating a negociant tradition started by his ancestors. “We virtually only buy grapes from Bergheim”. Maison Gustave Lorentz has fully taken ownership of this strategy and supplies a staggering sixty or so different wines, each one mirroring a different facet of the local terroir. The estate’s flagships are three site-specific wines and two great growths which encapsulate the excellence of Bergheim wines. “We aim to produce balanced wines driven by freshness that pair with gourmet foods”.
These qualities appeal to French clients but also to foreign wine enthusiasts. “50% of our sales come from exports”. Sweden ranks as number one export destination for Gustave Lorentz wines, followed by Belgium and the United States. In this way, Georges can at least indirectly fulfil the dreams of his youth: “I started working at the estate quite young, when I left school. I intended to travel but I got wrapped up in the estate and never left!”
Now aged 55, he aims to energise the family heritage by injecting modernity into it, mainly by building a 5,000 m2 winery where all the company’s wines can be made under one roof. He still has one dream he hopes will be fulfilled – that one of his three daughters will want to succeed him one day.