In January 2020, at the age of 32, Juliane Schmitt became CEO of Schmitt Söhne Wines, a century-old family winery that’s the largest exporter of German wines to the U.S. It’s a natural evolution for Schmitt, who has been preparing for this role her whole life.
“I am eldest of the fourth generation of my family, and the wine business is a way of life for us,” explains Schmitt simply. The Schmitt family settled in the bucolic village of Longuich, in the famed Mosel region, more than 200 years ago, and today this slateroofed hamlet is still home to the Schmitt family and to their namesake winery, which has become one of Germany’s most dynamic wine companies.
Like her father and grandfathers before her, Schmitt is a restless innovator and relishes meeting the challenges of an increasingly global wine market. The portfolio includes the flagship Schmitt Söhne Rieslings, sourced from vineyards in the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer and Rheinhessen districts, as well as estate-bottled Riesling and Pinot Noir under the Thomas Schmitt Private Collection label, and RELAX, a modern-minded brand that eschews traditional labeling in favor of approachable eye-catching graphics.
Schmitt attributes the success of Schmitt Söhne Wines to a reputation for quality built over generations: “We’ve been able to grow sustainably through the years because we’ve earned trust for our wines,” she says. “Our name is on the bottle, so what’s inside has to make us proud.”