Gerd Stepp—Winemaking Runs in the Family
Even as a young child, Gerd Stepp, now owner and winemaker of his winery, found himself in the family vineyard with his parents. He already knew that he would continue the family tradition of viticulture. Gerd learned a great deal in those early years among the vines, went for formal education in viticulture and winemaking, and then travelled the world to see all of this knowledge in action. From Argentina to Zimbabwe (and every letter of the alphabet in between), he discovered that every terroir and every grape variety required its own, unique attention. He brought all this knowledge and experience back with him to the family estate in Pfalz, Germany, and began to make it his own wine. The cool climate, diverse soil types, and excellent sun exposure were perfect to realize his vision of what Riesling, Pinot Noir (his favourite), Cabernet Franc, as well as Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, and Scheurebe could be.
Along with two or three employees in the vineyard and a similar number in the cellar, Gerd oversees every step of the operation. His favourite part of the annual ritual occurs in the weeks leading up to harvest. He takes these moderate days to trim the canopy and remove any broken or spoiled fruit. As with every winemaker, the pandemic did not make things easier. From the short supply of dry goods and bottles to workers needing to stay home, it was always Gerd who found the way through.
As he looks back on a career that still has decades ahead, Gerd remembers his work in Zimbabwe. The passionate people and positive impact that the wine industry was making locally are a wonderful memory. He would love to return and help again if the chance arises.
Opimian brings such a wide range of Stepp wines into Canada. In every case, these wines come from selected vineyards with high-quality fruit and low intervention winemaking. This means only small quantities are produced and are often limited. This philosophy is even more evident in the Riesling Single Crus. In Gerd’s own words, “Riesling has a long and important history. In fact, it is Germany’s signature grape. The greatness of Riesling is its ability to reflect the individuality of each vineyard’s terroir with near-perfect precision. This is intriguing and a must-do for any serious winemaker here. So I picked my most expressive vineyards based on soil types for the single Crus.”
That being said, his ‘desert island wine’ is the Stepp Pinot Noir Sandstein Réserve Pfalz, 2020 (Lot 3511). “This is a very special wine,” he said with pride. Stepp has also provided the wines for this Cellar’s Masters Case. Gerd is delighted that so many Members will have the opportunity to try three, distinct styles. Be prepared to pair them with Asian food, fish, or sushi. We can’t wait until they arrive!
Order this wine from Cellar 296 until July 11, 2022