|The fine art of Alsatian wine: since 1574, the Dopff family, from father to son, has dedicated themselves with fervor and enthusiasm to this divine alchemy born from the subtle union of native soil and vine.|
Wine growers, first and foremost, they uphold the rigorous ethics of their profession, which means that only natural wines from the best grapes are produced under their name ant that they are lovingly tended following the traditional methods.
It is this know-how and rigour which we invite you to discover through the history of a family which is closely interwoven with that of the most auspicious of Alsatian homelands: that of the charming medieval town of Riquewihr.
When wine-merchants were called 'gourmets'.
It was in the XVIIth century that Jean-Daniel Dopff a minister's son, settled in Riquewihr as master-baker and innkeeper under the sign of The Stag. His son, Balthazard-Georges, born in Riquewihr in 1667, became master cooper and was thus the first to associate the name of Dopff with of the wine professions.
Four generations of Dopff succeeded each other in this line until Jean Dopff, two centuries later, took up the profession of 'gourmet', that is to say a wine merchant under oath.
His son Jean Gustave took over the job, in this turn and dedicated himself to the task of building up the family domain.
The Dopff enterprise was thus founded, and its history, closely linked to that of Riquewihr and its vineyards, was just beginning.
Today, 3 generations manage the Dopff's estate: Pierre Dopff, the Managing Director, his son Pierre-Etienne, General Manager, and Etienne-Arnaud, Logistic and Development Manager, who has just been appointed at the beginning of the 1998 harvest.
Ancient tools once used by the cooper, old wooden casks and gigantic presses..., everything in the courtyards and cellars conjures up and reminds us of all that Riquewihr owes to the wines.
The fact is that Riquewihr , situated at an altitude of 300 meters, is nestled at the foot of the lower-Vosges, well sheltered from the Northerly winds and the rain from the West. The nature of the ground, an exceptional southerly exposure, a microclimate which has the almond trees blossoming amongst the vines have, from the beginning, destined Riquewihr to the art of producing wine.
At the heart of the great wine country, the most beautiful domain in Alsace.
First the wine-growers.
From the start, the Dopff family has known how to preserve their first vocation: above all to be wine growers.
It is for that reason that they have devoted themselves to improving and extending the family domain.
Thus with more than 70 hectares of productive vineyard, Dopff 'Au moulin' has become the most important domain in the heart of the best wine region.
It is mainly situated around the little town of Riwuewihr, on the south-facing slopes of the Schoenenbourg ('Belle cote'), excellent Riesling country. It has also extended towards Hunawihr, Mittelwihr, the Hardt of Colmar and as far as the Brand of Turckheim.
And so the dream of eleven generations of the Dopff family has come true: to make their business one of the foremost in Alsace.
They were helped in this by a tradition which, since 1574, prohibits the cultivation of anything but top quality wines on the territory of Riquewihr, on pain of a heavy fine.
The 'inventors' of Cremant d'Alsace.
Always on the look-out for new ideas, Julien Dopff attended, at the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1900, a practical demonstration of the 'Champenoise method'. This was the starting point of a, great idea: to experiment on Alsace wine, to produce a second fermentation in the bottle.
After a two-year training period at Epernay to get accustomed to the peculiarities of champagne, Julien Dopff applied the same method to the Alsace wines which succeeded so well with Champagne.
All the right conditions being united - favorable climate, good soil and the natural sparkle of the Pinot Blanc - it was a great success... and the beginning of the wonderful adventure of Cremant d'Alsace which, today, enjoys such a well earned popularity.
Pionners of the marketing of wine in stemmed bottles.
In 1913 Julien Dopff was the first to have the idea of commercializing wine in stemmed bottles, the elegance of which, even to this day, distinguishes Alsace wine from other wines.
This 'invention' was not easily accepted. In order to combat reticence and to prove the perfect conservation of bottled Alsace wine, Julien Dopff wagered that his bottles would be able to support the journey from Alsace to Australia and back.
The demonstration was so brilliant that the jury of the Strasbourg Exhibition awarded him the highest possible distinction - the silver medal with the inscription 'for a particularly successful achievement'.
This little revolution meant that Alsace wine could set off to conquer Paris France and... the rest of the world. As proof of its supremacy the Dopff enterprise became suppliers to all the great steam ships and long-distance mail boats.
In 1972 Julien Dopff's idea was given support by the issuing of a decree which made it obligatory for Alsace wine to be bottled in the region in which it was produced.
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