Annegret Reh-Gartner, owner of Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt, died October 3, 2016, following a battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 61 years old.
Reh-Gartner, who assumed control of her family estate in 1983, was a dynamic entrepreneur who came to prominence at a time when the German wine industry was still largely male dominated. She was committed to the production of top-quality wines, reducing her estate’s vineyard holdings and lowering yields to prioritize site selection. While the estate produced both dry and sweet wines, she was particularly focused on dry, balanced Rieslings with aging potential.
Reh-Gartner’s grandfather, Carl Reh, founded what is today Reh Kendermann, Germany’s largest export wine company. She was inspired to enter the wine industry after her father, Günther Reh, acquired the historic Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt estate. Dating back to the 14th century, the estate boasts a sampling of the region’s most legendary vineyard holdings in each the Mosel, Saar and Ruwer valleys, including the four-hectare monopole Josephshöfer.
Her marriage in 1988 to restaurateur Gerhard Gartner created a union of gastronomy and wine. They owned the Aachen-based, Michelin-starred restaurant Gala.
A letter written by Reh-Gartner circulated by email following her death thanked friends and announced a team of directors who would continue Kesselstatt’s operations. Named are Wolfgang Mertes, now director of technology and controlling (formerly her estate manager and winemaker), Michael Weber, director of production and sales (formerly her vineyard manager) and Mona Loch, assistant director of sales and marketing.
Reh-Gartner is survived by her husband and siblings.