Bernhard Breuer, one of Germany’s most prominent and influential winegrowers, died yesterday aged 57.

Considered a tireless ambassador for Germany in general and for Rheingau Riesling in particular he toured the world convincing the wine trade, and consumers, that German Riesling could be the very best there is.

Since the beginning of the 1980s he and his brother Heinrich ran the family estate, Weingut Georg Breuer, in Rüdesheim. They gradually extended

their holdings to 24ha, buying top vineyard sites in Rüdesheim and Rauenthal.

Breuer was one of the first German winegrowers to base his production on the French model with Grand Crus, secondary wines and ‘Villages’ wines.

For wines from the Schlossberg vineyard Breuer commissioned a different artist for the label every year. It was only a few days ago that he unveiled the label of the 2002 vintage, painted by Belgian artist Jan Fabre.

As part of a group started with two colleagues, Bernd Philippi of Pfalz and Werner Naekel of Ahr, Breuer founded wineries in South Africa and Portugal producing wines such as Mont du Toit and Quinta Carvalhosa.

He had also been looking into to red varieties, and had recently started to re-cultivate old grape varieties formerly planted in the Rheingau such as Orleans and Heunisch.

The German Wine Information Bureau today said, ‘For two decades, Bernhard Breuer was also a leading architect of the Rheingau Rennaissance. For many years he had been a driving force inside the VdP and the Charta movement.’

The exact cause of death has not been released as yet. Breuer leaves his wife and two daughters.

Written by Adam Lechmere