The Ress family is an old, established family in Hattenheim. For generations, they were butchers, and the butcher shop "Metzgerei Ress" exists
to this day. In 1870, Balthasar Ress, who was a butcher himself, founded the inn "Gasthof Ress" on Hattenheim's main street, thereby laying the cornerstone
of a long tradition in the hotel and restaurant business as well as the wine estate and wine business. In the 1880s, he purchased the property of a bankrupt
estate on Rheinallee 1, the site of today's hotel and restaurant Kronenschlösschen and its predecessor, Hotel Ress, which Balthasar Ress opened in 1894. Under
the management of the Ress family for nearly a century, it decisively helped shape the hospitality trade in the Rheingau. When Balthasar Ress began his career
as a hotelier-restaurateur in 1870, the family also began to produce its own wines - literally, "Von Unserm" (our own) - a brand that is still used by Weingut
Balthasar Ress to denote its most important house wines.
By the 1920s, a thriving wine business had developed. In 1919, the cellar of the neighboring Wachendorff estate had been leased, and in 1923, one of
Balthsar Ress' sons, Carl, purchased the Heimes estate situated between Hattenheim's main street and Rheinallee. Valentin Heimes (1741-1806) was the
suffragan of Mainz, a staunch defender of the separation of church and state in Germany, and no great friend of the Curia Romana. He spent his
final years at the Hattenheim estate. Ultimately, Carl Ress built the entire complex into an impressive winery and to this day, the site of the estate's manor.
Hotel Ress as well as the winery "Kellerei Carl Ress" had primarily always marketed the wines of well-known VDP estates. For many years, for example,
Ress was exclusively responsible for bottling and marketing the entire crop of the Freiherr Langwerth von Simmern estate. Finally, in 1947, Carl
Ress founded "Balthasar Ress KG - Wine Estate Proprietor, Winery, Hotel Ress." Because he had no children of his own, he made three of his nephews
limited partners. At that time, Balthasar Ress' other sons - he had seven children - had long established businesses of their own. The restaurant at
the monastery Kloster Eberbach, a bus line between Hattenheim and the monastery, and an agency of the Köln-Düsseldorf Rhine steamer line were all Ress family operations.
In 1947, the wine estate owned nearly three hectares (ca. 7.5 acres) of vines, including holdings in the Oestricher Doosberg site that are still cultivated today.
At the end of the 1940s, Balthasar Ress KG acquired more and more vineyards, among others, those owned by Baron von Frentz, which contained the so-called
"Stellwerk," a parcel in the Hattenheimer Engelmannsberg site that is also still owned by the Ress estate. During these years, Paul Ress, one of Carl's nephews,
increasingly assumed responsibility in the business. He married Gertrud Breuer and moved into the former Hotel Schwan in Lorch. Until World War I, it had been a
highly esteemed hotel with a distinguished clientele, including the last German emperor, who was a regular guest.
In 1950, Balthasar Ress KG procured the Wilhelm Hess wine estate in Rüdesheim and with it, parcels in today's Rüdesheimer Berg Rottland, Bischofsberg, and
Rüdesheimer Berg Schlossberg, which expanded the scope of the Ress portfolio. In addition, the purchase included the tavern "Weinhaus Engel" on Rüdesheim's
world-renowned Drosselgasse. In 1957, the company was able to take over a leading export winery "Hasensprung - Joachim Bäumer," thereby laying the
foundation for a strong international presence for Balthasar Ress KG.
In 1963, Paul's oldest son, Stefan Ress, joined the company as a limited partner. Although he was still quite young, his father gave him considerable
free rein. For example, he succeeded in acquiring 1.2 ha (ca. 3 acres) in the famous Hattenheimer Nussbrunnen site at what was nearly a spectacular
auction in 1968. The lease price for this vineyard was ca. 18 DM per "Ruge" (25 square meters) - an extremely high price in those days. Yet, it was
from grapes grown in this site that the wine estate produced its very first Trockenbeerenauslese, in 1971.
In 1976, in the aftermath of Carl's death, the then Balthasar Ress KG was strategically reorganized in the course of estate distribution.
The Stefan B. Ress KG Weinkellerei (winery) was founded to handle all export and winery business; Balthasar Ress KG was expanded in its role purely
as a wine estate. Two years later, the bankruptcy of the Jakob Horz estate enabled Ress to procure parcels in the Geisenheimer Kläuserweg and the
vineyards of Schloss Reichartshausen. This did not simply mean an additional seven ha (ca. 17 acres) of new vineyards for the estate, but also sole
ownership in the appellation Schloss Reichartshausen.
After Paul Ress died in the early 1980s, the family's entire properties were once again redistributed. Stefan Ress' siblings received the
properties in Rüdesheim; he remained the proprietor of the wine estate and winery. The wine estate continued to grow. In 1989, it became a member of
. In 1993, Stefan Ress was elected president of the regional organization, VDP-Rheingau, and in 2010, the president of
the Rheingau Wine-growers' Association.
Winery, Rheinallee 50, Hattenheim
Since 1999, after several professional apprenticeships in Germany and abroad, Stefan's son, Christian Ress, entered the business as the fifth generation
of the founding family. In 2004, he became a co-proprietor of the estate with his parents, and in 2010, assumed responsibility as director of business
operations. Since then, he has continued to expand the wine estate, which today comprises 46 ha (ca. 114 acres). Christian Ress has achieved considerable
attention in the wine trade for innovative projects, such as planting Germany's most northerly vineyard on the island of Sylt
, near the border with
Denmark, in 2009; opening the wineBANK
in Hattenheim in
2009; "sinking" bottles of RESSpekt
and last but not least, through his tireless, quality-oriented efforts within the realm of sustainable viticulture.
Christian Ress has consistently pursued opportunities to steadily develop the brand Balthasar Ress in numerous, principal export markets by founding, in
conjunction with strategically important partners, his own import and distribution company in Oslo, B&R Wine AS, and the sales agencies/brokers Veritable
Wines & Estates KG and Veritable Vins & Domaines KG