In the tranquil Zurich Unterland, nestled above Freienstein on the valley side of the Irchel, you will find the Schwarz Winery. Andreas Schwarz, born in 1977, is the master of vines and cellar, where he was born, grew up and has his roots. But that didn't stop him from wandering off after his apprenticeship as a winemaker, to Australia and Bordeaux. After his return, the still young vintner took over the family's wine estate in 2004 and pretty much turned it upside down, gave up the agricultural part and concentrated completely on viticulture.
Andreas Schwarz is a jack-of-all-trades, describing his strategy as "spontaneous and off the cuff". When he talks about his work, it quickly becomes clear: he is a tinkerer and curious autodidact. Throughout and in everything. He feels as comfortable with Facebook, a homepage and a winemaker's blog as he does in his vineyard, and he taught himself how to program. Not out of calculation, but out of interest. "Office people like to go into the garden or nature as a balance, I like technology as a balance." Experimentation is part of Schwarz's program, always paired with passion and sound knowledge. His courage to break new ground has already earned him several awards and medals. He is happy about this because what counts for him is the quality of his wines. And his quality standards are high and complex. Of course, the usual wine criteria such as balance, acidity, etc. must be met. In addition, he has his very own understanding of quality: High quality does not require any fining agents in the wine, Schwarz does without them completely. Without compromise. No industrial yeast, no sugar, no gelatine, no nothing. For a few years now, he has been working exclusively with wild yeasts, which he cultivates himself and from his own vineyard.
"The highest quality is given by nature, the less you intervene, the better the wine will be."
Credo by Andreas Schwarz
His credo: The highest quality is given by nature, the less you intervene, the better the wine will be. Is this a market positioning, in the course of the whole organic debate? No, organic as a label does not interest him, says the enterprising vintner. He wants to produce an excellent wine. Only the quality of the product is important to him, his wines should be able to keep up, no matter which competitors. The successes prove him right, he reaches best places at national and international awards with his wine range, silver and gold at the Grand Prix du Vin Suisse or awards at the AWC Vienna, for example.
Schwarz is convinced that wines fermented with wild yeast are among the most interesting wines ever. No wine reflects the terroir more exactly and more unadulterated, but also no wine challenges a vintner more. To minimize the risk of faulty fermentation, he always works with three different yeast strains. Each strain leaves its own aroma variety in the wine when sugar is converted into alcohol. The wine is thus fermented in three different batches and then brought together again, a cuvée with a huge variety of aromas from one grape variety is born. The loyal regular customers thank him. Preferably directly in the Rebhüsli, in the middle of the vineyard and surrounded by everything that has shaped the wine in the glass: undisturbed vines, healthy nature, mild climate, wild yeast and a palpable passion. Wine? Good! Black.
Text: Domenica Flütsch | Picture: Flavia Vergani | Source: Vergani Magazine 6