Rüdesheim estate owner Johannes Leitz has sold 36% of his trading companies (J J Leitz GmbH and Leitz KG) to the Norwegian importer Red and White. The estate itself, Weingut Josef Leitz, which has been in the Leitz family since 1744, remains 100% under family ownership. The estate has grown from 2.6 ha of vineyard in 1985, when Johannes Leitz took over, to the current 39.4 ha.
According to Leitz, the Norwegian company is keen to invest in his plans for expansion of these trading companies. He has just had his best business year ever, increasing turnover by 47%, particularly thanks to sales in Norway. That's why, he explains, he has made one of his most important importers into a real partner - to motivate them further and to secure a greater market share. This year Leitz has exported around 500,000 litres to Norway.
Scandinavia is a particularly strong market for German wines in general and Riesling in particular. Leitz is one of the best-distributed top-quality German wine producers in the UK market with wines regularly found in the likes of Waitrose. Leitz's US importer is the redoubtable Terry Theise at Michael Skurnik. (Leitz's former right-hand winemaking woman Eva Fricke has now left to concentrate on her own label.)
Purple pagers can find more than 125 reviews of the estate's wines by putting Leitz into the free search box. See this Leitz wine of the week back in 2003 in which Jancis describes Johannes as 'one of the absolute superstars'.