Fritz Hasselbach, owner of Weingut Gunderloch in Rheinhessen died October 4 from complications of melanoma. He was 70 years old.
His efforts to reestablish the prominence of Rheinhessen and German wines extended beyond Gunderloch to the entire region.
A Geisenheim-trained oenologist and viticulturist, Hasselbach initially worked as a technical consultant for an education and research institute in Oppenheim. In 1974 he married Agnes Usinger, whose great-great-grandfather Carl Gunderloch founded the winery in 1890. The Hasselbachs joined the family winery in 1979, working alongside Agnes’ parents before taking over the winery’s operation in 1986.
Determined to restore the prominence of Gunderloch worldwide, the Hasselbachs focused on legendary vineyard holdings along the Roter Hang, the red slate slopes opposite the Rhine River, and chiefly the winery’s grand cru sites, the Nackenheimer Rothenberg and Niersteiner Pettenthal.
Last year, after almost 30 years of leading Gunderloch, Fritz Hasselbach passed the reins to his son Johannes, 37. Hasselbach is survived by his wife and their two daughters, Stefanie and Kathrin.