Our leadership team passionately promotes the great wines of Germany with a particular interest in raising awareness for underrated red and white varietals and sparkling wines which have historically been overshadowed by Riesling. Wunderwein offers unmatched diversity and some of the greatest labels Germany has to offer.
When passion is the driving force, life has a funny way of bringing people, ideas, and amazing wines together. The story of Wunderwein LLC has many twists and turns but there’s one thing that inspired the creation of this unique wine company dedicated to the importation of bottlings from iconic, yet lesser-known German wineries: three oenophiles who are head over heels in love with German wine. Wunderwein’s Jeffrey Himmel, William (Bill) Goldberg and Jan Schüler have decades of experience in the German wine space all underpinned by a deep admiration and enjoyment of the fine and unique wines, from a country where the ancient Romans first planted vineyards. Whether a crisp, expressive Riesling from the Nahe, a rich and full-bodied Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir) from Baden, or a refreshing festive Sekt (sparkling wine) from the Rheingau, Jeffrey, Bill, and Jan love sharing their passion for high-end German wines and bringing the best of the country’s vineyards to your table.
Jan Schüler – Founder
Our StoryBut what about the story? Well, let’s start in the charming northern German town of Bremen where Jan was born and raised. The window to the world that nearby port city Hamburg presented, invited adventure which saw Jan leaving his hometown to work in drinks innovation and design in London, the capital of a wine-loving nation then New York, one of the world’s centers of fine dining. It was here that Jan further explored his interest in the food and beverage space and soon identified an opportunity to give local vino lovers the chance to enjoy German wines. To make this dream a reality, he launched a German wine brokerage called The Fine German Wine Club.
Jeffrey Himmel – CEO
The next part of the tale takes us a few years earlier to Jeffrey – a New Yorker who could be said to have a German soul! From being selected as his high school ambassador to Austriato his studies of German language and history as a student in Freiburg, the beating heart of the mysterious and beautiful Black Forest, Germany,was always close to his heart. Following graduation, he spent 40 years in the steel industry forming a company with offices in Germany’s Ruhrgebiet and Ohio, part of the Americanindustrial heartland. His German connections remained vibrant, and the University of Freiburg reached out in 2008 asking him to set up an organization for the North American-based alumni – an endeavor he took on with gusto developing trans-Atlantic relations with a focus on cultural, political, networking, and fundraising activities. Many a glass of good wine was enjoyed in the background…
William Goldberg – President WSET 3
The next thread of the tale brings us to Bill who hails from New Hampshire but grew up in the Taunus area just west of Frankfurt where he attended the Frankfurt International School. He returned to the US to study at Villanova University but soon found himself back in Germany where he continued his studies at the Albert Ludwigs Universität in Freiburg. This is where he and Jeffery first met, and a life-long friendship began with many shared cultural interests including a love of wines from the Kaiserstuhl! Bill’s career has included working in national and local US politics as well as forging an impressive career in the automotive industry both in Germany and the US. Over the decades his passion for wine led him to codify his knowledge with the WSET Level 3 Award.
It is easy to imagine the chemistry that developed almost immediately between these passionate wine lovers with their deep connections to the land, the history, and the culture of Germany…but what brought it all about?
The answer is a pandemic!
When the world shut down in early 2020, life went online very quickly. This was when Jeff and Bill saw an opportunity to hold a unique remote wine tasting event for the North American-based alumni of the University of Freiburg. The theme was the comparison of Kaiserstuhl Pinot Noirs, Pinot Blancs, and Pinot Gris with wines made from the same grape varieties at a leading winery in Oregon’s famous Willamette Valley. It was going to be amazing!
There was a problem though: how to find wines from the Kaiserstuhl in the US? Jeff and Bill began their search but hit wall after wall. The beautiful German wines that had always been part of their lives were surprisingly hard to come by at home. It was only when their months-long search connected them with Jan and his rich network of top-tier German wineries, that their search was over! Jan was able to obtain wines from a legendary Kaiserstuhl winery.
After months of determined planning, an exciting live online tasting took place that spanned from the Black Forest in Germany to Oregon’s Willamette Valley in the US. The “Pinot trio” of wines from the Kaiserstuhl and the Willamette Valley were presented to more than 100 wine lovers across America along with a few alumni tuning in from Argentina and Europe. The fact that the event crossed umpteen time zones meant the tasting ended in the early hours of the morning in Germany, but this didn’t faze anyone! The wine was too good, and the spirits were high!
Such an explosion of passion for German wine during a pan-global lockdown was a revelation and Jeffrey, Bill and Jan realized they’d found their “wine soulmates” in one another. Not only that but there were countless oenophiles in the US just waiting for the chance to move beyond the sweet Rieslings of yesteryear and to try the vast spectrum of new world-class German wines.
It was a tough job, but somebody had to seize this opportunity: the sun, the stars, and the planets had aligned for them to start importing top-tier German wines to America to delight the palates of the nation’s wine fans. Wunderwein LLC was born.
That then is the tale of Wunderwein LLC – but it’s only the first paragraph in chapter one. Formed by three people with roots in Germany and a passion for its wine, they want nothing more than to share their rich bounty of reds, whites, rosés, and sparklings with you in the years ahead. Welcome to ‘the club’ and the start of your journey discovering the finest wines Germany has to offer!