Olivier Humbrecht is one of the world's most renowned winegrowers. He is a Master of Wine and has been described by Robert Parker as the greatest white winemaker on earth. Yet he is very soft spoken, humble, and self-deprecating, which makes him perfectly suited to his assumed role as a global ambassador of wine. He is a champion of terroir, biodynamic farming principles, and non-interventionist winemaking, whose family have been winegrowers in Alsace for 12 generations (since 1620). He is immensely proud that although his family domaine is 'only 40 hectares', there are at least 28 people (and four horses!) working there at any time: eight times more than normal at twenty-five times the cost. Tractors are never used in the vineyards; harvesting is 100% manual. Yields are low. Herbicides and pesticides are never used. There are no pumps in the winery, the wine is never filtered and no cultured yeasts are used. The wine is aged in old oak barrels only ("we NEVER use new oak"), with wines kept on full lees for at least nine months to produce a "nicely reductive" character.
Zind-Humbrecht wines are concentrated, complex, vibrant, and balanced. Olivier would say that concentration and complexity are a natural product of the work that goes into farming the land in a way that is respectful of terroir; that the wines are vibrant because they come from healthy vineyards where the soil is alive; and that the wines are balanced because farming biodynamically ensures the vines grow in harmony with nature. And he would not be too shy to say that the wines better be great given all the hard work and dedication that is devoted to them.