The Schanitmanns have been vineyard owners and grape growers in the lesser known wine region of Württemberg for generations - but it is only recently that their wines have appeared under the family name. Inspired by the innovative zeitgeist of the 1980's German wine scene, Rainer Schnaitmann was persuaded to abandon his architectural studies and turn to winemaking. After graduating from the renowned Geisenheim university an apprenticeship in the Remstal followed before vintages in Italy's South Tyrol and further afield in New Zealand.
By 1997 Rainer was ready to go out on his own. Having leased three hectares of vineyard near the village of Fellbach from his father, the first step was converting old barns to house the winery and cellars. Once that was done, Rainer set about producing his - and his family's - first own-label wine.
The range is anchored around the superb Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir) and thanks to their location in Southern Germany the warmer-climate-suiting Lemberger (Blaufränkisch). Whilst organic practises are widespread throughout their vineyards, the estate has not pursued official accreditation.
Rainer's wine proved an immediate hit, and in 2006 Weingut Schnaitmann became the youngest winery ever admitted to the Verband Deutscher Prädikatsweingüter (VDP).
Weingut Schnaitmann aims to be more than just a winery, it's a local institution with a large number of staff and an ongoing policy of training up at least three budding young winemakers every harvest.