Kunzmann – The Mulled Wine Makers

Interview with Guido Grebe, Managing Director KUNZMANN Winery - Mineral Springs - Fruit Juice GmbH & Co. KG

Guido Grebe, Managing Director KUNZMANN Winery - Mineral Springs - Fruit Juice GmbH & Co. KG
Guido Grebe, Managing Director KUNZMANN Winery - Mineral Springs - Fruit Juice GmbH & Co. KG

Rudolf Kunzmann is the inventor of ready-to-drink bottled mulled wine, but as the name suggests, KUNZMANN Winery-Mineral Springs-Fruit Juice GmbH & Co. KG has much more to offer. This family business based in Dasing near Augsburg is known for its high-quality assortment of wine specialties, mineral waters from its own source, as well as spritzers and fruit juices. The 3rd generation is already working in the business to continue the successful tradition – combined with innovation – in the future.

It all started in 1953 in Augsburg with the founding of a wine cellar as a wine wholesaler by Rudolf Kunzmann. In 1962, his wife Karola Kunzmann joined the company. Here, wines were bottled and spirits distilled shortly thereafter. A milestone in the company's history came three years later – for the first time in Germany – the bottling of a ready-to-drink mulled wine following a self-developed recipe.

In 1978, the company's headquarters were moved to their current location in Dasing and in 1995 – after the sudden death of the company's founder – Jürgen Kunzmann, along with his mother Karola, took over the management of the business. Just a year later, the company's own mineral water spring was tapped on the premises in Dasing – the launch of the Albertus Quelle brand.

By acquiring the established Landsberg winery (KELA), the portfolio was once again expanded to include quality fruit juices. As the capacities weren't sufficient in the long run, a state-of-the-art new winery was put into operation in 2010. In that year, Natalie Kunzmann, Jürgen Kunzmann's wife, joined the company. After Karola Kunzmann left the company in 2014, the two of them took over sole leadership responsibility.

KUNZMANN Winery - Exterior View

In 2020, another external warehouse was put into operation, whose third construction phase has just been completed. Currently, Nicolas Kunzmann, the eldest son, is being prepared for his future leadership role. Today, the company employs 90 staff members, who are supplemented by additional forces around the Christmas peak season.

Mulled Wine According to the Original Recipe

KUNZMANN serves the wine segment with mulled wine, wine, and secco, as well as winemaker's spritzer. "Our mulled wine is still based on the original recipe with eleven spices. The ratio of each spice is adjusted individually depending on the type of mulled wine," explains Guido Grebe. He has been managing director alongside the Kunzmann couple for a good year, responsible for sales, marketing, purchasing, logistics, production, and technology. The manager, who is experienced in retail and the food industry, is supposed to develop the company strategically and prepare it for the handover to the next generation.

KUNZMANN Winery - Tank Storage
Here rests the supply: Tank storage of the winery
KUNZMANN Winery - Bottling
Always keeping an eye on quality: Bottling at the winery

Long gone are the days when classic mulled wine was the only option, now complemented by various versions including white mulled wine, children's punch, organic varietal mulled wine, and a convenient bag-in-box. Also popular are Nicolena organic wine, fruit wines, and Seccos in the variants vineyard peach and apple-elderflower. The wine assortment is rounded off by various winemaker's spritzers with the house's own mineral water from the Albertus source. The mineral water is offered in returnable bottles of 0.5 and 0.7 l in the varieties Classic, Soft, and Natural. KELA fruit juices are also available in different flavors, some as organic and direct juices.

Great Appreciation

"In addition to our own brands, we are also one of the largest licensed bottlers of the lemonade Frucade," says Guido Grebe. "All our products are bottled in glass bottles – within a regional radius of about 100 km in the returnable system. Annually, we bottle around 50 to 55 million returnable bottles and eight million disposable bottles. Our returnable products are exclusively distributed regionally."

All disposable products, such as mulled wine, wine, Seccos, and some KELA juices are distributed nationwide. Customers include the entire German retail food industry, for which premium private labels are also bottled. Otherwise, distribution is through beverage markets and wholesale distributors, and mulled wine is also available at Christmas markets and through national DIY stores and garden centers during the Christmas season.

KUNZMANN Winery Mulled Wine
Proven recipe: Managing Director Natalie Kunzmann pours mulled wine
KUNZMANN Winery KELA Natural Juices
Tasty and good: KELA Natural Juices

A Key Account Manager and the managing director Guido Grebe personally take care of major customers. Digitally, the KUNZMANN winery is up-to-date and sets ecological standards with reusable, energy-efficient solutions, electric vehicles, CO2 avoidance, and compensation.

"The interaction among each other at KUNZMANN is characterized by great appreciation and high motivation," Guido Grebe is pleased to say. "I have never experienced it in this form before." Exploiting the existing possibilities to the fullest and launching further product innovations are top priorities for the managing director. In doing so, he is considering more non-alcoholic products, fruit seccos, or as a new development, a winemaker's spritzer in a 0.33 l screw bottle, which should stimulate impulse purchases among customers.