Barbara Rundquist-Müller has become the sole owner of the Dr. H. Thanisch Müller-Burggraef estate in Germany's Mosel Valley. The estate, founded by Dr. Hugo Thanisch in 1785, was previously owned by Rundquist-Müller's aunt, Margrit Müller-Burggraef. Such successions are becoming increasingly rare for European wineries, but Rundquist-Müller was able to take over due to a German law that helped avoid the high cost of inheritance.
German law allows for the adoption of adults with living natural parents. "As my aunt and her husband, Walter, [my father's brother], remained childless, they decided already 20 years ago to adopt me as their daughter," explained Rundquist-Müller, so heritage and donation taxes were therefore avoided. "One of the reasons was certainly to ensure the succession of the estate."
The estate, located in the village of Bernkastel-Kues, consists of 34 acres of vines, including 2.5 acres in the famous Berncasteler Doctor vineyard. It is run by Rundquist-Müller and her husband, Erik, with winemaker Edgar Schneider and estate manager Chris Lintz, a native of New Zealand.
At the same time of the succession, the Müller family also sold its shares in the wine company Zimmermann-Graeff & Müller (ZGM), which controls the largest amount of grape contracts with growers in all of Germany's major regions. Rudolf Müller was founded by Barbara Rundquist-Müller's grandfather in 1919 and merged with Zimmermann-Graeff in 1998 to create ZGM.
With the sale of their shares, Rundquist-Müller and her husband are using the money to increase the size of the Dr. H. Thanisch Müller-Burggraef estate and modernize the winery. They purchased an additional 4 acres in the vineyards of Bernkasteler Badstube, Lieser Niederberg-Helden and Lieser Schlossberg, each of which is also in the Mosel Valley. They have also made upgrades in their cellar, including a new destemmer and additional stainless-steel fermentation tanks to complement the traditional wooden vats.
Rundquist-Müller and her husband joined the family business in 1983, managing international sales and marketing for both Rudolf Müller and Dr. H. Thanisch Müller-Burggraef.
Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions