Weingut J.B. Becker

Walluf, Rheingau

Producing wines in Johannisberg, Rheingau, Hans-Joseph’s (call him “HaJo”) winemaking has less to do with a condemnation or critique of the noble establishment (even if it deserves either or both) and more to do with a vision that is so singular and steadfast that it feels totally irrelevant whether you or I or anyone thinks Becker’s “aesthetic” is genius or folly. It just is.

The wines have an in-your-face, love-it-or-hate-it sensibility. They are unfailingly honest. They present a bizarre vocabulary: dried earth and rocks, herbs, something vaguely subterranean, a savory, briny, smoky atmosphere that slowly reveals fine layers of bright citrus. For all this depth and mysteriousness, Becker’s white wines are like Becker himself: angular, tensile with awkward elbows and muscle and sinew pulled tightly over a lean frame.

Becker is a strong advocate of wild-yeast fermentations. This practice puts the graying wild-statesman of German winemaking right next to the young German hipster-growers, as obsessed with natural yeasts as anything else. On the other hand, since vintage 2003 Becker has bottled his wine with glass closures, which of course alienates him from this same population.

Becker prefers to use pressurized tanks for fermentation, relishing a quick, warm fermentation (a similar method is used at places like J.J. Prüm, Keller, etc). Then he racks the juice into the traditional barrels of the Rheingau for at least two years of barrel age before bottling. In other words: Gun the shit out of it and then slam on the breaks and wait out all the others.

A pioneer in the Rheingau region, he was producing dry wines since the 1970s, decades before the rest of the region.

Organic Vineyard Management


The Rheingau sits in a bend along the Rhine river, and creates a unique style of Riesling & Spatburgunder. The water reflects sunlight onto it's neighbouring vineyards, helping to moderate temperatures and provide a few extra frost-free weeks at either end of the growing season.

The classic Rheingau wine is a dry Riesling with pronounced acidity and aromas of citrus fruits and smoke-tinged minerality – typically more "masculine" than its equivalent from the Mosel. It is worth noting, however, that the region also produces some of Germany's very finest sweet, botrytized Rieslings, with flavors as exotic as apricot purée, honey and caramelized mandarin

Although one of the smallest wine-producing regions in Germany, accounting for just 3% of Germany's vineyard area. Although small, Rheingau punches far above its weight in terms of quality, and its contribution to the global reputation of German wine is significant.


A village above the Rhine river, it overlooks the river & towns of Walluf & Eltville from it's location on the slopes of the Taunus mountain range. Rödchen is one of the Grosse Lage sites within Martinsthal for Riesling and Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir).

The clay slate and sandy loam with Taunus quartzite allow vines to thrust their roots deep and find abundant nutrition. The Rödchen lies at 170 to 175 metres a.s.l. and has a slope gradient of 5 to 12 %. It's southwest exposure puts them in the path of the afternoon sun, which aids ripening in the cool continental climate.

Two clues to the origin of this vineyard’s name exist. To begin with, the site was created by clearing a fallow forest and overgrown field (“roden” means to clear). Secondly, its cadastre number belonged to the Rode Cloister and the eponymous village that was later renamed “Martinsthal”.


Walluf lies on a bend in the Rhine river, in the eastern part of the region. J.B. Becker produces wines from 3 sub-regions: Oberberg, Berg Bildstock, and Walkenberg, the only Grosse Lage site in the Walluf.

The Walkenberg vineyard lies on the south slope of a Taunus foothill at 130 metres a.s.l. where it is shielded from cold north winds. It has a gentle 20 % slope gradient. Loess loam over and gravel with high fine-grained earth content dominates the soil. The southern exposure provides optimal solar radiation. Proximity to the Rhine River also contributes to an advantageous microclimate, because temperature extremes in summer and winter are moderated by the water’s surface.

The soils here are richer than it other parts of Rheingau, and are mainly alluvial loess and clay with a gravelly surface. This means that the Rieslings from Walkenberg are full-bodied and powerful with spicy fruit and plenty of minerality.

At the foot of the vineyard is a historic textile mill where felt was produced by matting, condensing and pressing – a process that is called “walken” in German.


Eltville is often overshadowing the wines from the Walluf. It is a special "pearl" of the Rheingau and is well known as "the city of the wine and the roses"

In addition to deep loess and loess loams, you can also find floodplain soils with a high water-holding capacity as well as clay and marl soils. The wines are full-bodied and show a distinctive acid texture, which also ensures a long shelf life. The good water storage volume ensures good quality even in very dry years.