Instead, in walked this tiny, impeccably dressed woman with short, curly hair, twinkling eyes and a warm handshake. She darted around looking at all the bottles that line the office walls, and immediately started asking questions. She was open and inquisitive, generous with her attention and keen on deflecting praise to direct it instead at her team, who supported her moves to shed vineyard holdings and concentrate attention on the 90-acre estate’s best sites (like their ten acres at Josephshöfer, a warm spot on the Mosel between Wehlener Sonnenuhr and Graacher Domprobst that the family has owned in its entirely since 1858). She had also moved the team toward spontaneous fermentations for the wines, and tweaked other aspects of the winemaking to be more responsive to the quirks of each site. She was spunky and funny and left the room a more energized place—a trademark, I found, wherever I met her in the coming years.
Just this morning I found out via Jancis Robinson at jancisrobinson.com that Reh-Gartner passed away from cancer, aged 61. Ever forward-looking, she left a note introducing her “new ‘old’ team,” including longtime winemaker Wolfgang Mertes and vineyard manager Michael Weber. She also left them with a list of projects to be completed this fall and beyond. We will be thinking of Annegret at our Top 100 event on Monday night, where Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt is one of the Top 100 Wineries of the Year. Wherever you are that evening, please join us in raising a glass to her.