22 Nov 2023

Interview with Holger Willy

Holger Willy, Rolf Willy GmbH – Private Winery

What makes this topic particularly special for you?

The topic of wine is naturally special to me, as I essentially absorbed it with mother's milk. My parents were winemakers, so a future without wine was unimaginable for me. It remains a beautiful subject for me even today – something I have never wanted to do without.

Wine is still a family affair for you...

Certainly, it is a significant challenge to ensure that the family business is carried forward with foresight by the next generation that is enthusiastic about it. My brother has two children who fit this description, both of whom have studied in Geisenheim and will be the future face of Rolf Willy. I am very pleased about that. The challenges nowadays are, of course, different than they were a few years ago. Back then, it was sufficient to produce good wine, be friendly, participate in fairs, and the business would run smoothly. Nowadays, with increased energy prices, it is also about securing the economic viability of the business, and that will be a major challenge for the future. There will be cutbacks for us too, but I see the Rolf Willy company well positioned. Change is constant, and we will have to adapt to it.

To what extent do environmental protection and sustainability play a role?

The issues of environmental and climate protection are omnipresent and very important. We cannot ignore these issues. In terms of overall sustainability, I would say we have been sustainable for many years. Fifteen years ago, we built the winery and already considered sustainable criteria such as short distances, energy efficiency, and resource optimization. For example, our fermentation cooling rooms were built into the ground, allowing us to utilize the natural climate from the earth. We use wells, including a sip well as a closed well-water circuit that is recycled for fermentation control, which is crucial. I believe that Rolf Willy embraced sustainability and energy efficiency 15 years ago when few were interested because we knew that saving energy also saves money and makes the operation more efficient. Climate protection and energy efficiency do not only occur in the vineyard but throughout the entire value chain. In my opinion, we are well positioned in this regard.

As a member of the advisory board for EV, why is EV important as a new trade fair?

I think it's important that we showcase a significant wine fair for German wines in Germany. Of course, not excluding foreign wines, but it needs to be overall manageable. We want to offer a fair in a beautiful setting where we can have conversations without rush and conduct good business in a relaxed atmosphere. We want to focus on the essentials.

(Note: Recorded at the EUROVINO Pre-Event)

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