The Reimanns: A TUM Family

“The variety of our experience took us a long way”

Deep in brewing country, their passion for wine-making brought them together. Since then, Anna and Stephan Reimann have operated their own winery, “Cantzheim”, on the Saar. Everything began studying horticulture at TUM.

Anna and Stephan Reimann are driven by a passion for all aspects of wine-making. They take pleasure in everything from the cultivation, harvesting and processing of grapes to the marketing of wine as a cultural good and a delicacy. Both originally from the Rhineland, they got to know each other during their studies – far away from home, in Bavaria. “We got to know each other through our shared passion for wine-making,” they say today. “As part of a lecture series on wine-making we went on an excursion to Franconia – and once we were there we never escaped from philosophizing about wine and life.”

Anna Reimann already had a great interest in biology, and plants in particular. She wanted to study far away from her birthplace in the Rhineland and decided on TUM. “Weihenstephan always had a very good reputation and I was really looking forward to Bayern!” she says. Her husband Stephan grew up in a gardening business and decided to study formally following his gardening apprenticeship. His tutor recommended Weihenstephan to him and it was love at first sight: “When I visited I really liked the campus and also the fact that the University of Applied Sciences is right there.”

Weihenstephan was just the beginning

It was clear to both that a university diploma didn’t cover everything and that they wanted to gain familiarity with a variety of topics: “We were always on the go and tried to collect the most diverse experiences we could. We worked for both large and medium-sized companies and for family businesses. We also continued our higher education.”

It’s not surprising that both of them moved further afield after their studies. Stephan Reimann pursued doctoral studies in Bonn on plant diseases and took his Master of Wine qualification. Anna Reimann completed additional studies in wine-making and oenology in Montpellier, followed by an EMBA in Mannheim and Paris. “We think that the variety of our experience took us a long way and also helped our decision ripen – since our youth we had dreamed of having an independent business and establishing our own winery.”

The charm of wine-making lies in how multifaceted it is.

The winery building in Kanzem, which the couple run today as a wine house, guest house and events venue, once belonged to the Premonstratensian monastery of Wadgassen and subsequently to the theological college of Trier. Anna Reimann’s father, Georg Thoma, bought the land in 2007 to take ownership of this historic gem. In 2013 restoration and conversion work began in collaboration with the notable architect Max Dudler.

More than a winery

Last year things were finally ready: “In 2017 we presented our first vintage (2016). In autumn 2017 we were also able to harvest upon additional high quality, steep slopes along the Saar. We were very lucky that a long-established business gave up their land to us.” These steep slopes have a lot to offer and cannot be cultivated with machines. But, for the Reimanns, this is exactly the source of their value: “These steep slopes, with their special terroir, are a decisive factor for the quality of Saarland wine. Rieslings like those pressed on the Saar can be found nowhere else – that’s why people pay huge prices for certain wines from the region. Working on the steep slopes is very tiring, but the wines they produce and the enthusiastic feedback from customers across the world is motivation enough to make the effort. What’s more, we see it as a positive challenge – to help preserve the cultural landscape of the Saar, which is so clearly marked by the cultivation of wine on these slopes.” Guest winemakers and cooks, exhibitions, events and weddings: the couple have constructed a broad programme that fills the winery with life.

The Cantzheim Winery and Guest House are idyllically situated upon the Saar. The vineyards on the slopes above the river stretch over it.

The Cantzheim Winery and Guest House are idyllically situated upon the Saar. The vineyards on the slopes above the river stretch over it. (Photo: Cantzheim Winery / Susanne Schug).

The couple see the foundation of their success to be the variety of their experience, both as students and in employment, all of which had has its roots in their horticultural studies in Weihenstephan: “We’re very aware of our personal careers and our roots, and also very proud of our ‘grounding’, which is why our Rieslings are called ‘The Gardener’ – a kind of self-quotation.” They don’t have any particular inside information for students in Weihenstephan, only some fond memories: “We’re afraid that our studies are so long ago that a lot has probably changed – though we hope the legendary brewers’ beer festival is still going on!”