Hugel announces changes

Alsace producer Hugel has announced a change to its company name and the addition of a new wine to its portfolio.

etienne hugel

Jean-Frederic, Andre and Etienne Hugel at the tasting in the Shard yesterday

At a tasting yesterday (14 April), Etienne Hugel announced that the company had rebranded itself from “Hugel & Fils” to “Famille Hugel” – “learning the lessons of the Perrin family”, which did something similar not too long ago.

He also announced that the labels would be getting a slight “facelift”, with the three hills of the Hugel coat of arms being changed and emphasised slightly.

Most important however is the launch of a new wine “Schoelhammer” a single vineyard wine from the “heart of the Schonenbourg hillside which has long been considered one of the best vineyard sites in the area around Riquewihr.

The Hugels explained that Schoelhammer revives the old Alsatian tradition (and very current German one) of producing wines from single vineyard sites.

The Schoelhammer site occupies just 30 rows of vines, all Riesling and organically cultivated, grown on Triassic Keuper marl with marine elements 200 million years old (”Schoel” means “shell”) and facing south.

The first release of Schoelhammer is from the 2007 vintage, the wine having been bottle aged since it was vinified.

Only 4,288 bottles were produced.

The name change is not the first in the family’s history. A large part of the tasting was given over to the family’s history, Etienne’s father André being a keen historian.

With Alsace changing hands between France and Germany over the centuries, the company has switched between Hugel & Fils and Hügel u. Söhne as the situation demanded.

André remembers his grandfather Emile was born French in 1869, became German in 1871 following the Franco-Prussian War, reverted to being French after the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, became German once more in 1940 and finally died a Frenchman in 1950. Five changes in all.

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