When we first spoke to Fridolin Baumgartner about joining the Freimeisterkollektiv, it came to no one’s surprise that he suggested producing a spirit based on grapes or wine. His distillery is located in one of Germany’s best wine-growing regions and, since its founding in 1983, they’ve been distilling everything related to grapes: from grape marc, to wine yeast, grapes, or brandy – there’s no other distiller who’s showcased this much knowledge, skill, and sensitivity to this particular discipline.
Vanilla | Cedar
Fruity | Vanilla | Caramel | floral | wood | well-balanced bitterness
Caramel | White chocolate.
- Fermentation by Freimeister
- Pot still
- Fractionating column
- Barrel aging
Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Müller-Thurgau | Yeast | Water Barrel-aged in Oak from the Kaiserstuhl
Distiller | Kaiserstuhl, Germany
Fridolin Baumgartner is considered a grandmaster in all things grape marc, kirsch, and brandy. For several generations now, his family has engaged in a mixed agricultural practice in the Kaiserstuhl. Baumgartner is originally a skilled office clerk, but over time his passion for distillation grew bigger and he began working in the field as an autodidactic in 1983. His father’s cousin helped him expand his knowledge on the subject but his help came with a very clear warning: “I’ll take your hands off if you ever produce anything as a moonshiner”.
In the early years, Baumgartner produced only grape marc which, to this day, remains his favorite thing to distill. Though he’s quick to add that kirsch comes in at a very close second.
Baumgartner is very strict with the selection of his harvest and a clean work process, in addition he attaches great importance to the closed fermentation tank, which keeps the mash from oxidizing. He pumps the mash from the fermentation tank directly into the still, because, “as soon as you open the tank, the aroma is gone”.
This precise, passionate approach to work and his years of experience with grapes, marc, wine, and wine yeast have been rewarded with over 150 awards and gold medals at various international competitions. Fridolin Baumgartner explains his success as follows: “It’s like an addiction to make good distillates”.