Like father, like daughter: Michèle Mannes took over the 15-hectare winery “Domaine Viticole Häremillen”
Ehnen is one of the most picturesque wine-growing villages on the Luxembourgish Moselle: centuries-old, well-preserved buildings, narrow streets, cobblestones – exactly how you would imagine a romantic wine-growing village.
The youngest of the five private companies in Ehnen is the Domaine Viticole Häremillen: Max Mannes, back then a teacher at the Echternach Lyceum, founded it with his family in 1988. “Häremillen” is an old water mill that once produced flour: the former “Domherrenmühle” belonged to the Great Chapter of Trier until the French Revolution.
Authentic, durable crus and top crémants
Since its very first vintage, Mannes has attached great importance to authentic, high-quality wines, and “Domaine Viticole Häremillen” quickly became a household name among wine fans. Over time, however, the mill was bursting at the seams. Increasing demand and technical requirements made a move inevitable and so in 1996 a new, functional winery was put into operation, only a few hundred meters from the mill. The facility has stainless steel tanks with a thermo-regulating cooling system that helps preserve the natural flavours of the different grape varieties. One of the hallmarks of the winery is the long shelf life of its still wines.
The vineyard area has now grown to 15 hectares and extends over the top locations in Ehnen (Rousemen, Kelterberg, Wousselt), Wormeldingen (Nussbaum, Weinbour), Machtum (Göllebour), Mertert (Herrenberg) and Ahn (Göllebour).
The “Domaine Häremillen” produces two crémants, a classic cuvée (Grande Cuvée Brut) and the Cuvée Héritage du Moulin Brut, an excellent champagne-like crémant made from Pinot noir, Chardonnay and Pinot blanc. Since 2007, the winery has also been offering wines with the label “Charta Privatwënzer,” one Pinot gris and two Rieslings. Just as renowned are the Chardonnay and the Pinot noir, which are among the specialties of the house, or the crus made from old vines.
The large vaulted cellar of the former mill, with its natural rock soil, houses the oak barrels, which are mainly used for the aging of Pinot noir wines. The mill building has undergone extensive restorations and, since 2005, the tastings for the customers have taken place here – tastings in a vintage ambience! By the way, the water wheel is also spinning again: a new system was put in place back in 2005, and large photovoltaic panels for renewable energy generation have been installed on the roof.
Family business in the second generation
Since last year, Michèle, the youngest daughter of Max Mannes, has taken over the family business. Although she completed her studies in landscape architecture in Gembloux, she could not really imagine herself stuck in an office. “Taking over the winery was always an option, but the final decision was ultimately made about six years ago,” explains the lively young entrepreneur. So far, Michèle has managed her new tasks, especially the administrative ones, according to the principle of “learning by doing.” However, she also wants to “complete some courses in viticulture and take advantage of further training programs.”
Additionally, she can count on the know-how of a well-rehearsed team under the technical direction of Andreas Krebs. The talented, jovial cellar expert has been employed at the company for twenty years and is therefore practically part of its framework. When he talks about the Häremillen wines, it is as if they were his own …
Michèle Mannes fully believes in the stylistic line that her father and the cellar expert have been taking for many years and has “no intention of changing anything about it.” Only a new white wine cuvée is planned as a counterpart to the recently introduced rosé cuvée, “which is well received, especially by young consumers.” The 31-year-old winemaker emphasises that it is important to her to only offer products that she stands by: “I could not sell a cuvée that I do not like, and people would notice this!”
In the short term, Michèle wants to expand the offers for tastings and events. The premises of the mill will be redesigned a bit, so that they can be rented out for private parties or themed event, for instance.
Domaine Viticole Häremillen
29, am Schank — L-5419 Ehnen
Tel. +352 / 76 84 36